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Mary Yacoub, left, and Incumbent Pam Brokaw

Election Update: Pam Brokaw withdraws from City Council race

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politics River Falls, 54022
Hudson Star Observer
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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

District 2 Alderperson Pam Brokaw made a surprise announcement Monday night that she is withdrawing from her campaign for re-election.

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Brokaw, who has served one two-year term on the council, made the announcement at the end of a City Council meeting, during the time reserved for comments from members.

She didn't give the council a reason for her decision.

When asked about it during a short break between the council's regular meeting and a closed session, Brokaw said only that her withdrawal was for personal reasons.

After Brokaw made the announcement, City Clerk Nancy Korson explained that Brokaw's name would remain on the April 6 ballot.

Korson said that if Brokaw won the election anyway, she could decline to take office.

Korson said the District 2 seat would then be filled following guidelines established in Chapter 17 of the Wisconsin Statutes.

The law empowers the City Council to fill vacancies on the council "until a successor is elected and qualified."

Korson said Tuesday that she wasn't yet clear about when the election to fill the seat would take place.

None of that will matter if Mary Yacoub, the other candidate on the ballot for the District 2 seat, wins the election.

"I'm shocked," Yacoub said of Brokaw's announcement following Monday night's council meeting.

Yacoub said she was going to continue campaigning for the council seat through election day. She was worried that District 2 voters might not go to the polls, thinking there was no longer a contest.

"If they want me elected, it's still important that they vote for me," she said.

Yacoub is a stay-at-home mother of three young children and a trained social worker.

She and her husband, Essa, moved to Hudson eight years ago. They resided on 17th Street for two years and then built a new home in the Red Cedar Canyon subdivision six years ago. Essa is a biophysics research professor at the University of Minnesota.

Yacoub has shown an interest in city government for a number of years. She frequently attends City Council meetings and is a member of the city's Board of Zoning Appeals and Police and Fire Commission.

Brokaw was elected to the City Council in April 2008, easily defeating a write-in candidate for the District 2 seat.

She and her husband, Andy, and their two daughters have been Hudson residents for nine years. They reside in the Bieneman Farm subdivision.

Mayoral race

Mayor Dean Knudson is now the only city official up for re-election that has an opponent trying to unseat him.

Kevin Hartman, a 24-year-old Hudson native, is running for mayor as a write-in candidate.

Hartman's main emphasis has been on increasing support for the police department and attracting new businesses to the city.

A member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, Hartman returned in January from a second tour in Iraq. He's a business student at UW-River Falls and also works for Valley Cartage and Warehouse, a local trucking firm.

Knudson says his priorities remain the same as when he first ran for mayor two years ago: "to preserve Hudson's unique character, to protect our streets and neighborhoods, and to keep our taxes low."

He can point a number of accomplishments over the past two years, including lowering the city's health insurance costs by 30 percent, adding police officers, increasing street resurfacing and buying the Nuclear Management Co. building to house the police department and Hudson Area Joint Library.

Perhaps a bigger question than whether Knudson will win re-election is how long he'll remain in the office.

He's regarded as a leading candidate to replace Rep. Kitty Rhoades as the 30th District representative in the State Assembly. Rhoades has announced that she won't be a candidate for another term in office.

Knudson has indicated that he's considering a run for the Assembly seat in the November election. He hinted recently that he might have an announcement to make in May.

Unopposed incumbents

Two City Council incumbents will be unopposed in the April 6 election.

District 3 representative Lori Bernard, the current City Council president, will likely be returned to office for a second two-year term.

District 4 Alderperson Lee Wyland is unopposed in his bid for a third term on the council.

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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