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Published May 22, 2012, 10:12 PM

Brown, Grandstrand Face Off in Mayoral Debate

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The two candidates making a run to be Grand Forks' next mayor faced off in a debate Tuesday night. Incumbent Mayor Michael Brown faces challenger Tyrone Grandstrand in the upcoming June 12th election.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The two candidates making a run to be Grand Forks' next mayor faced off in a debate Tuesday night. Incumbent Mayor Michael Brown faces challenger Tyrone Grandstrand in the upcoming June 12th election.

Mayor Mike Brown is running for his fourth consecutive term. Brown has been mayor since 2000, making him the city's longest serving mayor.

Grand Forks City Councilman Tyrone Grandstrand plans on giving Brown a competitive run.

With three weeks until the city election, all signs point to the city's two candidates, who have spent the past few months campaigning.

At Tuesday night's mayoral debate Mayor Brown said he deserves a fourth term because there's so much more his administration has to accomplish.

"I'm very pleased and proud to be a part of that team, and I see it as being part of a team. But the mayor's role is to direct the team, or lead the team, or give the team guidance. And I do think we expect our leaders to dream, and that's why we have the destination city initiative in my first state of the city address," Brown said.

First term City Council Member Tyrone Grandstrand said he deserves a shot at the mayor's seat because the city needs a long term strategic plan.

"But the reason why I'm running right now instead of waiting until later is because I think we face some serious challenges and it's really important to face those challenges head on," Grandstrand said.

Debate topics ranged from traffic congestion through the UND campus, and the planned expansion of Columbia Road. One question had the candidates looking back at the failed vote to build a new city library last year.

"One of the things I think we missed when the library came up before was really having a good discussion about that. And as a result we saw people, you know, not being interested in a plan that they really weren't part in coming up with," Grandstrand claimed.

"And there were things we learned from that, I hope, before we go forward in the future with out next campaign for a new library, because it is critical to have a library for your community as a social gathering point, as a public meeting space," Brown added.

Another question submitted from the public asked candidates about measure two and how it could affect renters.

"It's really insightful that you need this many mills to do your fire department, this many mills to do your police department ideally, so it's a good concept, but it's the fact that we need to do it locally, we need to manage it locally," Brown said.

"We can deal with it if it does pass. For renters voting against it, I think that you'll be able to hold your local government accountable for the decisions it makes," Grandstrand added.

The debate was sponsored by the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals, who are aiming to get people to the polls to vote on June 12th.

With all the measures on the June ballot, the council and mayor elections and changing precincts, there are more opportunities for people to cast their ballots this election.

There is absentee voting at the County Office Building through June 11th, and the county will hold early voting at the Alerus Center May 29th through June 6th.

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