Ohs, Burns ready for council workJulie Ohs said she is eager to start a second term on the Woodbury City Council, after she was the top vote-getter in a 16-candidate field in last week’s election.
Julie Ohs said she is eager to start a second term on the Woodbury City Council, after she was the top vote-getter in a 16-candidate field in last week’s election.
Ohs said it will be “business as usual moving forward” and that the city is well positioned after the election left minimal turnover on the City Council.
Unofficial election returns showed that Ohs received 5,776 votes, or about 18.3 percent of the vote.
Ohs said she hopes that people re-elected her because they are familiar with her work on the council and “feel that I’ve done a good job.”
Christopher Burns won the second City Council seat on the Nov. 2 ballot. While Burns was a first-time candidate, he has long-established connections with the community. He grew up in Woodbury, once worked part-time for the city and serves on the volunteer Economic Development Commission.
Burns received 3,359 votes, or 10.62 percent of the vote. He admitted that he had anticipated a stronger showing for himself and a few other candidates who campaigned hard.
“But I’m honored for the opportunity to serve and be elected,” he said.
Burns said he plans to meet with city administrators in the coming weeks and will attend City Council meetings to prepare for his work, which begins in January.
“I want to be able to come in and hit the ground running,” he said.
Burns narrowly beat another long-time resident, Mark Wackerfuss, for the second spot on the City Council. That seat was open because Mary Giuliani Stephens decided to run for mayor.
Election returns showed Wackerfuss at 3,185 votes, or 10.07 percent. The 0.55 percent difference between Burns and Wackerfuss was just above the 0.5 percent threshold that would have triggered an automatic recount. Wackerfuss said he initially considered requesting a discretionary recount – allowed under law, but at his expense – but did not plan to go through with it.
Although he lost, Wackerfuss said he was happy with his performance.
“For not running for anything before, I think I did fairly (well),” he said.
Wackerfuss congratulated Ohs and Burns, but said he hopes that they follow through with what they told voters they would do in office.
“I’ll hold them accountable,” he said, “because I’ll continue to go to meetings and support issues that are important to myself and Woodbury.”
The race was unusual for Woodbury because of the large field of candidates.
Ohs said civic participation is important, but it may have been hard for voters to sift through all of the candidates.
“I don’t want people to shy away from wanting to serve, but 16 is kind of unimaginable,” she said.
Burns said Woodbury would be well served by having some of the qualified, knowledgeable candidates volunteer to serve on city commissions.
“It would be the city’s loss if we didn’t find a way to get them involved at some level,” he said.
There will be minimal turnover on the five-member City Council. Retiring Mayor Bill Hargis said election results suggested that voters are satisfied with Woodbury leadership.
“I think it’s kind of a general affirmation of the direction of the city,” he said.