Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 9:21 pm | Updated: 11:23 pm, Tue May 19, 2015.
By Paul Christiansen – The News Guard
With 99 percent of the votes counted for the May 19 special election, three candidates running for positions on the Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board — and running under the “Save Devils Lake” slogan — look to have won in a landslide.
For DLWID Board Position 1, incumbent Kent Norris had secured a total of 1,115 votes as of 11:23 p.m., beating out the 671 votes for Susan Russo.
DLWID Board Position 2 will now be filled by Tina French, who as of 11:23 p.m. had a tallied 1,116 votes over incumbent Randy Weldon’s 696.
Bill Sexton, the only DLWID candidate to run in an uncontested race, secured 1,373 votes as of 11:23 p.m.
The three “Save Devils Lake” candidates all said they’re looking forward to coming together with sitting board members Brian Green and David Skirvin and DLWID Lake Manager Paul Robertson to make some positive change for the lake’s future.
“I think that the board in general, as well as the new elected candidates, have the same goals in mind to make sure the lake is at its best,” Norris said. “It’s just that we all have a different approach to things. I hope to move forward with those different approaches and engage the board in a way we can all cooperate to do some positive things for the lake and its people.”
Sexton said his “first and foremost” goal is to establish a positive direction for the lake’s future.
“In the past we have had some difficulty seeing that positive direction, but hopefully with this new addition to the board we can accomplish that relatively easily with the community’s support,” Sexton said. “It’ll be interesting to see where this will take us from here.”
Ultimately, the new elections to the board — with commanding vote differentials — show that the public is making their voices heard, French said.
It’s now time for the elected officials to listen to their constituents, she said.
“We want to listen to the people, but I feel like the current board wants to exclude the homeowners on Devils Lake from that discussion,” French said. “They should have a voice, and it does need to be considered with the environmental, recreational and economical factors.
“That’s what we all love about Devils Lake,” she said. “It’s a great environmental body of water that provides recreational opportunities and millions of dollars to the community. We have to proceed from here by taking all those things into considerations before we make any decisions.”
All the elected candidates said they plan to get to work cleaning up the algae blooms and sludge from Devils Lake when they take office July 1.