Wojcik unseats longtime Rochester council member
By Jeffrey Pieters
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
The most veteran member of the Rochester City Council has been rousted by a political upstart.
Marcia Marcoux’s loss to challenger Michael Wojcik in Ward 2 was one of several eyebrow-raising developments in this year’s city races. Among the others:
- Incumbent Pat Carr lost to Mark Bilderback in a rematch of opponents from the 2004 election;
- Council President Dennis Hanson won, but by a narrower-than-expected margin against first-time candidate Renee Kragnes, 62 percent to 38 percent;
- A city charter amendment establishing a civil penalty procedure passed by a healthy margin.
The enduring image of the 2008 city election, though, will be Marcoux walking out of City Hall on the arm of her daughte,r Michele.
Marcoux spent 13 years on the city council.
"I don’t have any regrets, and I enjoyed it," she said. "No regrets, except I wish I had more time... He (Wojcik) has been out there spending a lot of time (campaigning). I did not have the time to do that."
Marcoux attended every council meeting and all but one neighborhood meeting during the election season, and in her professional life planned a large convention.
She did not sacrifice those things to put in the time it took to keep her seat, she said.
"I made the decision that I need to do what I’m elected to do," she said.
Wojcik was happy, but slightly bewildered that he’d won.
"It hasn’t hit me yet... that we pulled this off," he said.
"We outworked her (Marcoux)," Wojcik said. "I think that’s what it came down to. We knocked on a lot of doors — rain, sleet, snow."
Wojcik estimated that he and his team of volunteers collected 15,000 to 20,000 "voter contacts" — "basically repeated knocks on doors, as much as possible," he said.
"They (the volunteers) are what made this happen," he said. "I couldn’t have done it without them."
Wojcik had praise for Marcoux as council member.
"She truly was a valuable asset to this community," he said. "We won’t quickly forget that."
"The way she worked with the core neighborhoods, that’s the way a city council member should work," he said.
Wojcik said he will work to organize neighborhood organizations in other areas of Ward 2, including Country Club Manor.
"We need to find a way to get some of the other parts of the city better organized," he said.
Wojcik faced accusations of Democratic Party influence in the campaign, but he said he believed it was only an issue "with people who haven’t had an opportunity to talk to me. With individuals who did, it didn’t phase them in the slightest."
Marcoux survived challengers and primary elections in each of her past three runs for city council.
Losing her seat, she said, means she can spend more time developing her special-events planning business and "throw away a lot of paper at home."
Michael Wojcik 4,327
Marcia Marcoux 3,756