Race to succeed Hargis beginsMayor Bill Hargis' decision to retire this year prompted one Woodbury City Council member to announce a mayoral run and another to not rule out a run.
When Bill Hargis announced he will retire as mayor this year, he had encouraged three people to consider running to replace him.
They were Woodbury City Council members Mary Giuliani Stephens and Paul Rebholz and Planning Commission chairwoman Nancy Remakel.
The early mayoral election roster reads: Stephens, in; Remakel, out; and Rebholz, undecided.
Stephens said Monday she will run for mayor this fall. Elected to the council in 2006, her first term ends this year. She said she was considering options including trying to retain her council seat, running for mayor or campaigning for Washington County commissioner.
“I want to continue serving the people who make Woodbury a great city, and I want to continue working on issues that are important to our community," she said.
Stephens said she has the experience and time necessary to devote to being mayor. She was a law partner with Moore, Costello, and Hart in St. Paul and then self-employed as an arbitrator and mediator until 2007.
Stephens has lived in Woodbury with her husband Greg for 25 years. They have two adult children, Jane and David.
Remakel, a Woodbury High School biology teacher, said she considered running.
“I decided against it because my teaching day doesn’t have the flexibility I would need to do a good job,” she said.
Rebholz, a two-term council member, said he has not ruled out a mayoral run, but he is evaluating existing family, work and volunteer commitments. He said Woodbury was the benefactor of Hargis’ leadership and business talent, but also his ability to work nearly full time as mayor.
This will be Woodbury’s first open mayor’s race since 1990. Hargis was appointed mayor in 1992 and was elected four times.
Hargis said he will not officially endorse anyone for mayor, using the same approach that he has for candidates running for other offices: “I’m going to let the community pick.”
However, Hargis said Stephens is a “good, strong candidate.”
“She’s bright and well-prepared,” he said.
Like Stephens, council member Julie Ohs’ term ends this year. Ohs said she will run for re-election. Experience will be important with a new mayor, she said.
“It’s going to be different, and with Bill’s decision to not run again, I feel even more like I should run again so we have some continuity,” Ohs said.
Council member Amy Scoggins said she is not interested in running.
“I love being on the city council, but I don’t think I’d want to be the one to follow Mayor Hargis,” she said, adding that “it’s a lot more demanding of your time than people realize.”
The filing period for city elections is Aug. 3-17.