Lake Elmo votes Nelson onto council


Justin Bloyer

Christine Nelson

Mike Pearson

Residents stand behind incumbents

Although Lake Elmo has been known as a divided city, residents came together to support both incumbent Mayor Mike Pearson and incumbent council member Justin Bloyer. They also selected Christine Nelson to fill Anne Smith’s open city council seat after Smith decided not to seek re-election.

In the city council race, Nelson and Bloyer received nearly an equal number of votes with Bloyer receiving only 59 fewer – the similar counts could be evidence of the two, along with Pearson, having campaigned together.

Nelson led the race with 33.07 percent of the vote, and Bloyer wasn’t far behind with 32.43 percent.

The other two candidates who ran for a city council seat also received a similar number of votes as each other, though they were ultimately left in Nelson’s and Bloyer’s dust. Ben Roth won 17.92 percent of the vote and Brett H. Emmons, only 141 votes behind Roth, won 16.38 percent.

Christine Nelson

Nelson, 47, said she felt “pure joy” after her win. It was her first time running for a city council seat and the process was “incredibly fulfilling and positive throughout.”

She said all the residents she met while campaigning reinforced her belief that Lake Elmo is a great community made special by the residents themselves.

“I'm thrilled and honored and humbled to be entrusted with this tremendous privilege of representing Lake Elmo,” Nelson said.

Nelson is a major gifts officer for the American Red Cross, Minnesota region, and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

She said despite the campaign being one of the best experiences of her life, she wasn't confident she would win, though she was hopeful.

“Regardless of the outcome, I was proud of the race we ran, and knew if it didn't work out in my favor, there was nothing more I could have done, or would have done differently,” she said.

In preparation for her new city role, Nelson said she will be attending every city council meeting through the end of the year, and hopes to meet the city staff and attend as many committee and commission meetings as possible before she takes office in January.

“My first step after I'm sworn in is to get back to the business of restoring a functional city government by restoring transparency, respecting the checks and balances in place, and most importantly, listening to the constituents,” she said.

Nelson added that “thank you” doesn’t cover what she would like to say to her supporters, “but my promise to work hard for every one of them to honor that support and trust, is the best way I can think to show my gratitude. I'm truly humbled by this honor, and fully recognize this win isn't about me at all — it's about every one of them and the community we share and love.”

Justin Bloyer

Bloyer, 39, said he, Nelson and Pearson found out about the results at an election party – “We were just ecstatic,” he said.

Bloyer said he was very nervous before the election, even though all the residents he had spoken with on the campaign trail led him to believe he, Nelson and Pearson would win.

“In Lake Elmo, you can never tell which way the election will go until all the votes are cast,” he said.

Bloyer won his second term on the council and is a Delta Airlines pilot. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of St. Thomas.

In the Review's voters guide, Bloyer said if re-elected he plans to prioritize transparency and civility on the council. He added in a post-election interview that he believes Nelson will help the council reach that goal.

“I think that Christine Nelson brings independence and the ability to work with the group. She doesn’t come with any personal agenda or desire to get specific narrow issues done. She just came to help restore transparency and civility to the city and I think we’ll get that,” Bloyer said.

On behalf of himself and the others he campaigned with, Bloyer said he wants to thank Lake Elmo residents for their support.

“We recognize that this is not a mandate on growth or a referendum on any growth issues whatsoever,” he said. “This is a referendum on us operating a transparent and responsible government [that is] responsive to the citizens.”

Mike Pearson

In the race for Lake Elmo mayoral race, incumbent Mayor Pearson won by a landslide over current city council member Julie Fliflet. Pearson received 72.73 percent of the vote, Fliflet received 26.99 percent and write-ins accounted for .28 percent.

Because Fliflet ran in the middle of her city council term, she will remain on the council.

Despite news a week before the election that Pearson had recently purchased a home in Stillwater near Big Carnelian Lake, he still won nearly three-quarters of the vote. In the run up to the vote, several readers contacted the Review concerned he would not remain in Lake Elmo, if re-elected.

Pearson explained to the Review that his family purchased a cabin in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin in 2010, but soon realized they weren’t able to get out there often enough to enjoy the property, due to his responsibilities as mayor, in addition to work and his childrens' athletic involvement, and they began looking for a replacement.

“We have always liked Carnelian so when an opportunity came up we acted. My family plans to stay in Lake Elmo while enjoying the fruits of our labor and the blessings God has provided us,” Pearson said.

Pearson, 51, and the president of Performance Pool and Spa, won his second 4-year term as mayor.

He said he wanted to offer Lake Elmo residents a “heartfelt and sincere thank you,” and said his supporters are an “incredible bunch of people that I will forever be grateful for.”

Pearson said he felt relief and satisfaction after finding out he was re-elected as Lake Elmo’s mayor, and he expects that with a fresh perspective on the city council, the group dynamics will improve incrementally, but consistently.

Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com.

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