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Maki reelected mayor of Cloquet

Cloquet voters reelected Roger Maki with 51.17% of the vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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A voter turns in his ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at Journey Christian Church in Cloquet.
Amy Arntson / Cloquet Pine Journal
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CLOQUET — Residents voted to keep Mayor Roger Maki in his position for another four years on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Roger Maki
Roger Maki
Contributed / Roger Maki

Election Day saw over 4,500 people vote in Cloquet, with 51.17% voting for the incumbent over challenger David Bjerkness, who received 48.56% with all precincts reporting, according to unofficial results posted by the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office.

"I am pretty happy," Maki said. "I will continue to be honest and hard-working, and working for the betterment of the city."

Maki was first elected mayor in 2018, after previously serving eight years as a Ward 3 city councilor.

In his original run for mayor, Maki said he wanted to bring trust and accountability back to the city, which he believes he has helped achieve.

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With four more years ahead as mayor, Maki said he would like to continue to work on moving forward with projects. He focused on housing and development as the main issue during this campaign.

Maki reiterated an idea he would like to pursue on possible redevelopment of the city's business park to housing, as it is already connected to city utilities.

Maki added that he looks forward with working with the city council for his next term.

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Lifelong voters Joan and Vern Johnson cast their ballots at the Journey Christian Church in Cloquet on Tuesday. Vern said they have never missed an election.
Amy Arntson / Cloquet Pine Journal

"My experience on this job was very important," he said. "I am very happy we pulled it out."

In other city council news, Ward 1 voters chose Warren "Bun" Carlson over Erik Blesener on Election Day. Carlson received 53.24%, compared to Blesener's 46.28%, according to the Secretary of State's Office.

Ward 3 voters chose city councilor Chris Swanson, who has recently resigned, with 84.79%, over two write-in candidates.

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Warren "Bun" Carlson
Contributed / Warren "Bun" Carlson

Swanson resigned from his post after moving out of his ward. As Swanson is not eligible for the position, the city council will now have to decide how to fill his seat. Officials can choose to appoint a member or hold a special election.

Cloquet residents also passed two sales tax questions that would see improvements to Pine Valley Park and the Cloquet Ice Arena.

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The question on Pine Valley Park passed with 59.8% in favor compared to 40.1% against. The improvements to the ice arena was a much closer vote with 50.5% in favor and 40.1% against.

With both measures passing, the city will impose a single 0.5% sales tax increase for 10 years or until $8,149,700 is collected.

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Lydia Handsacker turns in her ballot as her four children — Julia, Audrey, Moriah and Nathan — follow her at Journey Christian Church in Cloquet on Tuesday.
Amy Arntson / Cloquet Pine Journal
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Voters fill out ballots at Cloquet City Hall on Tuesday.
Dylan Sherman / Cloquet Pine Journal
MORE FROM DYLAN SHERMAN:
After an hour of comments and discussion with over 40 residents, Board Chair Ruth Janke said the township will take the ordinance back to the drawing board.

This story was updated at 12:20 a.m. Nov. 9 with results on the Cloquet sales tax question votes. It was originally posted at 11:42 p.m. Nov. 8.

Related Topics: CLOQUETCLOQUET CITY COUNCILGOVERNMENT AND POLITICSELECTION 2022
Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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