Gwenia Fiskevold Gould announces candidacy for Bemidji's Ward 1 seat

Jan. 24—BEMIDJI — Gwenia Fiskevold Gould has announced her candidacy for the Ward 1 seat of the

Bemidji City Council

in its upcoming special election.

Fiskevold Gould is the director of annual giving at the Bemidji State University Alumni and Foundation. She also serves on the Bemidji Parks and Recreation Commission, the Bemidji Community and Police Advisory Board and the Bemidji Area United Way Investment Cabinet.

She currently lives in Bemidji with her husband Joe,

who was recently elected to the Beltrami County Board,

and their dog Coya.

Fiskevold Gould shared in a release that her interest in community engagement started very young, accompanying her father as he door-knocked for candidates. She saw firsthand the power that conversations with neighbors can have on communities and states.

Fiskevold Gould believes that her current role as an engaged community member and her past work experience can help build a stronger relationship between Ward 1, which had the lowest voter turnout of the city's wards in 2022, and the city of Bemidji.

"Our community has some big decisions to make and challenges that need to be addressed," Fiskevold Gould said in the release. "There are many housing concerns, such as a lack of affordable housing and rental codes, the need to maintain and effectively connect our parks and trails systems and increasing citizen engagement in our governance."

Fiskevold Gould believes that having conversations and listening to people of different backgrounds, opinions and experiences is the most effective way to create change and build community.

"Ensuring that people have a place to live, a place to gather, a way to get around and a way to have their voice heard are some of the basic tenets of building a strong and vibrant community," Fiskevold Gould shared.

The special election for Ward 1,

which was called by the city council

after now At-large Councilor Audrey Thayer vacated the seat for her current position, will be held on Tuesday, April 11.

The filing period for the election will open on Jan. 31 and run through Feb. 14.