by TaLeiza Calloway
Experience dominated the St. Joseph City Council race Tuesday.
Incumbents Bob Loso and Renee Symanietz reclaimed their seats on the city council and will lead for another four years. With all precincts reporting, Loso received 1,214 votes while Symanietz received 1,199 votes.
“I would like to thank everyone who supported me and voted for me,” Symanietz said, “and all the volunteers who helped me campaign. I am very excited to be staying on the council, fighting to get the Wobegon Trail extended to Waite Park and planning for a community center.”
This marks Symanietz’s third council term. She has served on the St. Joseph City Council since 2004 and was re-elected in 2008. The 44-year-old has previously served as acting mayor, on the city’s park board, hiring committee and currently serves on the facilities committee that is leading the charge on the community center project. The mother of two is a sales and marketing professional for Arvig Communications.
Bob Loso is relieved now that the election is over. He said he didn’t think he would win because he didn’t campaign as much as his opponents.
“I prevailed and I’m glad,” Loso said. “I’m honored to serve the next four years.”
Loso’s priorities include continuing to watch the budget and coming up with ways to set funds aside for projects, he said.
Loso and Symanietz were challenged by newcomers Matt Killam, a loss-control analyst, technology education teacher Troy Goracke and retired businessman Thomas Gustafson. Killam trailed closely in the race with 1,127 nods. Goracke came in fourth place at the polls, receiving 707 votes. Gustafson garnered 518 votes.
Killam, 29, is a loss-control analyst for Coborn’s Inc. in St. Cloud. Despite his defeat he said he is grateful for the support and opportunity he had to build relationships within the community.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Killam said. “It feels really good to see the huge support from the community and for it to be such a close race …I wish it went a different way.”
It’s too soon to determine if he’ll run again but he plans to stay active. He’s interested in serving on the St. Joseph Economic Development Authority Board.
“I just have to find another way to serve the community,” he said.
This will be the fifth term for Loso, who was first elected to the city council in 1990. Loso served on the city council from 1990 to 2002. He took a break, was also re-elected in 2008 and ran for mayor in 2010.
He has served two stints on the St. Joseph Planning Commission, is a member of the Area Planning Organization and sits on the St. Joseph Community Fire Board. The 60-year-old is a material handler at T.O. Plastics.
St. Joseph Mayor Rick Schultz, who ran unopposed, received 2,668 votes on Election Day. He will serve an additional two-year term.
Major decisions ahead include the building of a new government/community center, maintaining fiscal responsibility and revitalizing the downtown to spur economic development.
City-council officials receive a monthly payment and a meeting fee per meeting. Mayor Rick Schultz gets $524 monthly, and council members are paid $314 monthly. All are paid $35 per meeting in addition to the monthly salary.
Election results are unofficial until they are approved by the city council. New terms kick in Jan. 1. Elected officials will approve the appointments at their first meeting in January.