Barney enters Minot mayoral race

Chuck Barney, a former Minot alderman and city council president, announced Wednesday that he will run for mayor in 2014.

May-or Curt Zimbelman announced in August that he will not seek re-election to a fourth term.

Barney said the city faces major challenges with its need to expand services and infrastructure while holding the line on property taxes. If elected, he said, he would want to develop better relationships with schools, parks and the county to increase efficiencies and economies of scale.

Barney is a long-time Minot resident who served three terms as Fourth Ward alderman, two terms as Minot City Council president and seven years as Finance and Improvements Committee chairman. He has served on various boards, including president of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, treasurer of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce and district chairman of the Northern Lights Council of the Boys Scouts of America.

Barney is director of the Severson Entrepreneurship Academy at Minot State University. He and his wife, Leslie, own Souris Valley Apartments.

Barney said he was comfortable with his decision to leave the council last year and considered returning to city government only after encouraged to run for mayor by people in the community whom he respects.

“I met with a lot of people in the community,” he said. “Everybody was really encouraging.”

He also believes he can have a positive influence on many of the issues that are coming before the city. The issues that he finds weigh the most on minds of residents are property taxes and quality of life.

“I heard that over and over maintaining Minot’s quality of life or even improving upon it,” he said.

Barney said among his first actions as mayor would be to meet with other local taxing entities to find ways to work cooperatively to reduce the cost of government and improve life for residents.

“I think I can form a really good working relationship with them,” he said. “I think I am good at building relationships and building consensus.”

Ernest Medalen, a former alderman and Barney’s campaign chairman, agreed that Barney is a consensus builder. He added that Barney also was the type of alderman that other council members looked to for leadership during the 12 years that he served the city.

“He’s a person that I looked to when I was on the council as one who was level-headed and thought things through and yet was always open to things that were new and anything that could be good for the city of Minot,” Medalen said.

Other members of Barney’s campaign committee are treasurer Nancy Wegenast, his daughter, Kelsey Barney, Jeff Balentine, Jon Backes, Orlin Backes, Ben Berg, Connie Feist, Bob Fransvog, Karen Krebsbach, Jackie Velk and Alan Walter.

The election is June 10, 2014.