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Rochester City Council Wards 2 and 4 candidates sound off on primary elections

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- City Council has four races in this Minnesota primary, which include Council President, and Wards 2, 4 and 6.

For Ward 2, they're the lone race with an incumbent in Michael Wojcik, who is seeking his fourth term on the council. Meanwhile, Mark Bransford and Denise Welte are challenging Wojcik, saying their ward feels like they haven't been heard and that it is time for change to help the direction in which the city is going.

"I ran because I love my kids. I love my family. I love my neighbors. I love the ward," Bransford said. "I just feel like the city was going in the wrong direction, and as you can tell downtown, businesses are closing. The occupancy rates for all of these high-density apartment buildings is low. We just don't have enough housing. Our relationship with the school board is in the tank. So there's a lot of reasons why I felt like I had to step up and do something."

Welte said that the first thing she would focus on is the budget to help navigate the city through the pandemic and make sure smart decisions are made moving forward with CARES Act funding, and what projects are approved in a pandemic.

Ward 4 doesn't have an incumbent runner. Mark Bilderback isn't seeking re-election, which means there will be a new face on the council no matter who wins.

Katrina Pulham said that she feels small businesses and the younger generation haven't been listened to and that is her main objective when it comes to being on the council.

Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick said for her, it's about the community.

"I love the outreach and the community involvement that I have, and this is a privilege to be able to run, and I'm so honored to be able to run," Kirkpatrick said.

Abel Brito's focus is on crime. He said that the southeast part of town has crime and drug problems that he would hope to resolve first to move the city forward.

The City of Rochester said results recorded on Tuesday night are not official, as additional mail ballots still need to be counted and added to these totals. Ballots postmarked by election day can be counted as long as they are delivered before Thursday at 5 p.m. The City Council will meet at the canvassing board on Friday.

To view the latest election results, click here.

Zach Fuller

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