Stan Karwoski will move from the Oakdale mayor's office to the Washington County boardroom in Stillwater.
Karwoski defeated fellow newcomer Cheryl Anderson of Birchwood in a special election for County Commissioner District 2, which includes a portion of northwest Woodbury.The seat has been vacant since the death of Ted Bearth in March.
Karwoski, who received 55 percent of the vote to Anderson's 44 percent, called it "a solid win."
"It's just good to win," Karwoski said."Cheryl was obviously a hard-working, very talented person and she did well."
Karwoski credits his home base of Oakdale for delivering enough votes to put him over the top. Before he was mayor, he served on Oakdale City Council for 12 years.
"I think my proven experience in Oakdale made the difference," he said. "Otherwise, we were fairly close in the precincts outside Oakdale."
Because the Commissioner District 2 term is still active, Karwoski most likely will be sworn in Dec. 6 or Dec. 13. He will step down as mayor the day before.
The city council will appoint a successor to serve as mayor until a special election can be held.
Karwoski said he wants to get to know other cities in his district.
"I'm really looking forward to serving the people of Woodbury and Mahtomedi and Willernie and Pine Springs and White Bear Lake and Birchwood," he said. "I'm looking forward to learning about those cities and serving them well."
One of his first tasks will be educating his constituents on the Gold Line the bus rapid transit system that will run in both directions from Union Depot in St. Paul to Woodbury Village along Bielenberg Drive.The latter part of the route is in Karwoski's District 2.
"I think I'm ideally suited to hit the ground running but I'm looking forward to learning a whole lot more about the county process,"he said."I know what the issues are so I'm really looking forward to being county commissioner, working hand and hand with Woodbury and Oakdale to make it the it the best possible plan."
Tuesday evening at the Guardian Angels Church, the polling place for Oakdale Precinct 8, Kalc Vang cast his vote for Karwoski.
"For me, I feel he's been here in government for a long time and he's very trustworthy," Vang said. "I just think he's a good fit for Washington County commissioner."
That sentiment was shared by Steve Aufmuth of Woodbury, who had already voted when he brought a sandwich to his wife, Jane, an election worker at Guardian Angels Catholic Church.
Aufmuth said he was impressed with Anderson's background, which includes more than 30 years experience as a licensed social worker who helps individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities or mental illness.
He still cast his vote for Karwoski, however, citing Karwoski's extensive experience in local politics. "I value his experience in government...I've been in human services all my life.I was tempted to vote for her but I'm looking for someone to hit the ground running after the election.."
In other county commissioner races, incumbent Fran Miron of Hugo received 68 percent of the vote in District 1, which includes Afton. Challenger Edward Eigner of Forest Lake received 32 percent.
County Commissioner Gary Kriesel of Stillwater retained his District 3 seat, by capturing 72 percent of the vote.Challenger David A. Beaudet of Oak Park Heights received 28 percent.Lisa Weik, county commissioner for District 5, which includes most of Woodbury, ran unopposed.