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Three seats at stake on Red Wing City Council

RED WING — The Red Wing City Council could undergo a major revamp with next month's election. Up to three new faces could be voted into office.

One winner already appears set: Dan Munson has been endorsed by his challenger, Rick Voges, in the Third Ward. Munson is seeking to replace longtime council member Mike Schultz, who opted not to seek re-election this fall.

Earlier this month, Voges cited lack of time to fulfill city council responsibilities as the reason for ending his campaign. While state law prevents his name from being removed from the ballot, he has endorsed Munson in a race that isn't expected to be competitive.

While Munson figures to enjoy a stress-free election night, the other two seats could fray some nerves on Nov. 4.

Fourth Ward


The Fourth Ward contest pits incumbent Peggy Rehder against challenger Kent Laugen, an outspoken Red Wing attorney.

Laugen, a self-described "reluctant candidate," has positioned himself as a public watchdog with a campaign focused on city spending and transparency. Those points were both raised last month when he called out the city council on his blog for its interest in helping Goodhue County purchase a $325,000 military-grade vehicle , similar to one used in the Ferguson, Miss., protests. The issue wasn't an agenda item, but was instead discussed near the end of a lengthy meeting.

"I've lived here for 15 years, and I don't think Peggy has done a good job representing the interests of the Fourth Ward," Laugen said.

"I think it's a difference in personalities. I'm much more inclined to challenge the status quo, challenge what city staff is requesting, and ask tough questions," he said. "I'm going to ask those in public where the public can hear it."

While Rehder spoke in support of the controversial peacekeeping vehicle, the 72-year-old woman says she's running for a second term in hopes of seeing through a number of other initiatives — Minnesota Department of Transportation's U.S. Highway 61 reconstruction project, the new interstate bridge, renovations at the Sheldon Theatre and nuclear waste storage, to name a few.

"The overriding issue for me is public safety," said Rehder, who once served as director of Congressional Affairs for the U.S. Patent Office under President George H.W. Bush.

"We're going to do more emergency management city wide," she said. "In the past there's been an emphasis on the nuclear plant, but now we have rail safety and other things to worry about, too."

Unfortunately, citizens were prevented from seeing the two candidates face off at last week's League of Women Voters public forum. Rehder says she informed the LWV multiple times that she had a personal conflict — a relative being married in Mexico — but the forum date was not changed.



Voters will select a newcomer to replace Marilyn Meinke, who chose not to seek a second term.

While not incumbents, both of the candidates have made unsuccessful runs for city council before.

Erik Fridell, 40, has become a familiar name in Red Wing during his work to save Mississippi National Golf Links. He works at Gopher Hills Golf Course in Miesville, while also serving on the Red Wing Sustainability Commission.

Fridell said he hopes to help improve city hall access for citizens with questions or concerns. He said "quick troubleshooting" will be one of his strengths, particularly as it pertains to citizen activism.

"I want to make (city hall) a much more accessible place for citizens to voice their wants and needs," said Fridell, a Red Wing High School graduate whose 2012 bid for council fell short.

Dustin Schulenberg, 39, ran an unsuccessful attempt for city council in 2010. He said he's running again because "younger families need to get involved." He's married with two children and is highly active in multiple youth sports associations.

Schulenberg cited keeping taxes down and the need for a second fire station on the west end of town as two important issues for him.


"There's not a lot of concern about how the city has been doing," said Schulenberg, who works as an electrical planner at the Prairie Island Nuclear Plant. "The only thing I want to do is communicate better with the community.

"There's a lot of big changes coming up downtown and I just want to give back to the community. It's my turn to step forward."


Erik Fridell

Age: 40.

Residence: Red Wing.

Education: Sustainable Management at University of Wisconsin (ongoing)

Occupation: Pro Shop Associate at Gopher Hills Golf Course in Miesville


Family: Single

Political experience: Red Wing Sustainability Commission

Dustin Schulenberg

Age: 39.

Residence: Red Wing.

Education: Red Wing High School graduate, night school for electrician.

Occupation: Electrical planner at Prairie Island Nuclear Plant

Family: Married, two children


Political experience: Ran for council 4 years ago.

Fourth Ward

Kent Laugen

Age: 62

Education: University of Minnesota, William and Mitchell College of Law.

Occupation: Attorney.

Residence: Red Wing.

Family: Daughter.


Political experience: None.

Peggy Rehder

Age: 72

Residence: Red Wing.

Education: Macalester (no degree)

Occupation: Retired, government relations

Family: No kids

Political experience: Director of Congressional Affairs for U.S. Patent Office for President George H.W. Bush, two years on Goodhue County Solid Waste Advisory Committee, 6 years on Red Wing HRA Board, Red Wing City Council.

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