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Editorial: Forum endorsements for Fargo city races

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Linda Boyd, candidate for Fargo City Commission David Samson / The Forum2 / 11
Sandra Calhoun, candidate for Fargo School Board Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor3 / 11
Tyler Tracy, candidate for Fargo Park Board Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor4 / 11
Brandi Malarkey, candidate for Fargo Park Board Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor5 / 11
Rebecca Knutson, candidate for Fargo School Board David Samson / The Forum6 / 11
Jennifer Benson, candidate for David Samson / The Forum7 / 11
Tim Flakoll, candidate for Fargo City Commission David Samson / The Forum8 / 11
Joe Deutsch, candidate for Fargo Park Board David Samson / The Forum9 / 11
Nyamal Dei, candidate for Fargo School Board David Samson / The Forum10 / 11
Robin Nelson, candidate for Fargo School Board David Samson / The Forum11 / 11

We endorse two candidates who stand out in the hotly contested Fargo City Commission race: Linda Boyd and Tim Flakoll. Both have demonstrated they are dedicated, well informed and see city services and priorities in a holistic manner. Both also have earned reputations for reasonableness and working well with others to find solutions. Boyd, a former city commissioner who now serves on the Fargo school board, also has been active in the arts. Noting up to one in five residents lives at or below the poverty level, Boyd cites jobs and economic development as well as affordable housing as among her top priorities. She will be a voice to ensure that incentives offered by City Hall align with the greatest needs. She believes there is more private support for a performance center than a convention center. Flakoll, who would bring a valuable perspective as a former state senator, would bring a welcome new voice to City Hall. One of his priorities is public safety. He advocates adding a southside fire station and hiring more police officers. As for a convention center or performance center, Flakoll would take an entrepreneurial approach to raising private funds, including selling naming rights, ticket surcharges and suite leases. He's a problem solver. Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney is running unopposed and deserves another term for his steady leadership.

Fargo Board of Education: We urge support for five outstanding candidates in the Fargo school board race: Jennifer Benson, Sandra Calhoun, Nyamei Dei, Rebecca Knutson and Robin Nelson. Benson and Knutson are incumbents seeking reelection, and Knutson serves as the board's president; Nelson is a former member who is running to rejoin the board. All of the candidates demonstrate a thorough grasp of the issues, many citing school safety and the need for better behavioral programs for troubled students as top priorities. Benson supports more research before moving ahead with added space for students with severe behavioral problems and said the district must seek alternative funding sources and must work with neighboring districts. Calhoun supports adding more teachers and staff, which is tied to her goal of making Fargo a desirable place for families to move. The mother of an autistic son, Calhoun said students need more paths for assistance. Dei is a Sudanese immigrant and mother. Her focus will be representation and diversity, afterschool programs, supporting teachers, bullying prevention and safer schools. For Knutson, teacher pay and retaining skilled staff are a top priority, as is providing services for students with behavioral issues. The district must work with legislators on funding, including the funding formula, and look at collaborating with West Fargo. Nelson's priorities are to maintain adequate funding and careful budgeting. A former president of the board, Nelson stresses her experience and contacts, including years of working with legislators, as well as a career devoted to children.

Fargo Park Board: We support three excellent candidates for spots on the Fargo Park Board: Joe Deutsch, Tyler Tracy and Brandi Malarkey. For Deutsch, the park district's main priority is dealing with the city's ever-expanding footprint, and in doing so the board must preserve the parks; "family friendly" experience. He has 12 years of experience on the board and is a professor of physical education at North Dakota State University. Tracy, who has four kids, wants to start a conversation aimed at taking a children's museum "to the next level," a proposal he believes has strong support. He teaches sports management at NDSU and served as a school athletic director. Malarkey says park programs should be free or as affordable as possible, and supports the board's effort to rank programs and activities to guide decisions. She believes the district needs a clear plan of where the district is headed in the next five, 10 and even 25 years.

Editorials represent the views of Forum management and the Editorial Board.