A look at the candidates for Bismarck City Commission

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 5:02 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The Bismarck City Commission makes rules about the management and operation of all the city’s departments. This year, four people are running for the two commissioner seats on the ballot.

Anne Cleary is a lifelong Bismarck resident who owns several small businesses in Bismarck and serves on several community boards in the community, including the Bismarck Together 2045 board. She sees the role of city commissioner primarily as a coordinator of many moving parts and interested parties.

“Really creating efficiency within our government so that each one of those sectors, each one of those departments works well within itself, but also works well within other departments, with the other entities within the cities, with the private sectors, so that everything can flow well together. A lot of that comes from the commission table,” said Cleary.

Mike Connelly works for DTN Staffing, a company that assists medical facilities in finding staff members when they don’t have enough staff of their own. Four years ago, he founded a citizen advocacy program to educate people about government workings in the Bismarck area. He believes his breadth of government exposure uniquely qualifies him for the position of commissioner.

“There’s an average of between 320 and 360 line items that come across the desk at the City Commission in a year. And two of them might be the things that you or anybody else is passionate about, but we need to be able to give 100% to those two, but we also need to respect all 358 others with the same type of energy,” said Connelly.

Brittany Leischner is a real estate agent and business owner who grew up in Bismarck. She hopes to improve transparency in government and hone in on fiscal responsibility as a city commissioner.

“We saw a lot of upheaval within the constituency with the property tax increases as well as the water rates. We just need to address that, we need to be transparent, and we really really need to use the means of communication to an utmost,” said Leischner.

Greg Zenker was first elected to the City Commission in 2018 and is the only incumbent running. He’s a lifelong Bismarck resident who’s worked in construction his entire career. He hopes to continue the work he began four years ago.

“I’m seeking re-election because I think we have unfinished business to do. We have water rates that need to be fixed, and then we’ve also had two property tax increases over the past two years that, in my view, have been substantial, and we need to be able to curb some spending,” said Zenker.

The election is on June 14th.

The City Commission is made up of four commissioners and the mayor. The mayor’s position is also on the ballot. Early voting has started in Burleigh County.

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