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Williston Mayor Steps Down

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This week marked a new chapter for Williston. After 20 years of service, Ward Koeser stepped down as mayor.

City officials threw Koeser a farewell party on Friday to remember his accomplishments throughout his tenure.

“Part of the job I'm very glad to be done with it. It gets long and stressful,” says Koeser. “It was very intense. Other parts, I'm going to miss tremendously. You get a chance to work with the neatest people in the country. You get a chance to be where there opportunity. So, I've loved especially these last four years. It's been a great experience for me.”

Koeser says he almost didn't run for the position.

“When I ran for office 20 years ago. My neighbor Larry Hanson was the mayor, and he asked if I'd be interested. At first, I didn't think I would, but I thought about it, and I went to a visioning process with the city. I thought I'd like to do that. I'm a believer in making Williston better,” says Koeser.

After being elected, he ran his first commission meeting. He would continue to run them until his tenure was up. Many of the people who have been a part of those meetings shared some thoughts.

“I think that he was fair.” says New Mayor Howard Klug. “He listened.

“He's been a wonderful coach. A wonderful leader. He's been a great mentor. And personally I can't thank him enough and the community as well. I know Ward's heart has always been in the game. He loves this community," says City Commissioner Tate Cymbaluk.

“I think he's kind of brought that team player concept that we'll all do better if we play together as a team as opposed to be rogue,” says the Director for Economic Development Tom Ralfstad.

Many people in the community have seen what he has done throughout his time. Whether it be getting an honorary degree from Williston State College or others. His career has been followed by many.

“I have seen curb cuts that we're put in place for people that use wheelchairs.” says resident Nita Clark. "I have also seen the chirping traffic lights for people who have sight loss. So, in that respect, I think it has been successful.”

Koeser says he has no immediate plans for the future, but will enjoy spending some time with his family.


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