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Prior Lake elects new mayor

By Lori Carlson editor@plamerican.com Nov 8, 2016

Prior Lake Mayor Ken Hedberg has lost his bid for re-election against newcomer Kirt Briggs.
Hedberg got just over 45 percent of the vote on Tuesday, with 5,694 votes cast in his favor. Briggs ousted him with a little over 54 percent (6,841). There were 76 write-in votes.

Results came in at almost midnight from Scott County election officials. Confusion ensued among voters seeking results online, when the numbers were transposed on the Secretary of State’s website, wrongly showing Hedberg as the winner. The state website finally was updated with correct data around 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The loss for Hedberg comes along with the defeat of two-term Councilman Richard Keeney, who got the least votes of four candidates in the race for two seats on the council.
Briggs campaigned on a message of creating more outlets for dialogue between residents and council members. Hedberg, who previously served two terms as a council member, stated during his campaign that the city has made strides in opening up communication during his time as mayor and, previously, council member.

On Wednesday, Hedberg said he “worked probably as hard as I’ve ever worked on a campaign,” but he said Briggs also ran a strong race.

“There was a significant tone at the national level that all levels of government weren’t working and had to be thrown out,” Hedberg added, “so incumbents had a disadvantage.”

Briggs won in all city precincts except Precinct 5 (Fire Station No. 2), where Hedberg edged out Briggs 995 votes to 991. That precinct runs east-west from County Road 83 to County Road 21, and north-south from County Road 42 to County Road 82.

Briggs, who spent 16 years working in the pharmaceutical industry, moved to Edina from Northern California in 1995. He and his wife, Heidi, bought a small home on Prior Lake in 1999, tearing down and rebuilding their home in 2014. That same year, Briggs retired from Boston Scientific, where he had worked his way up to director of medical education and senior fellow. They’re now empty nesters with two grown sons.

As he took down campaign signs around Prior Lake on Wednesday, Briggs said he is “pleased, excited and looking forward to” the change on the council. As mayor, he said, “this is going to be about listening, looking at situations through a different lens, a different perspective.”

He doesn’t believe the harsh tone at the presidential election level will affect local politics.

“I have no agenda – I think we need to listen to each other. Even if we disagree, we can’t stop listening,” Briggs said. “I think there is going to be a new level of discourse.”

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