It Was A Tough Decision For Rochester Council Rep Michael Wojcik
Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - It wasn't an easy decision for Rochester City Councilmember Michael Wojcik to file for another term.
In fact, he waited until the final minutes of the filing period to submit the paperwork. If he is re-elected to a fourth term, he will become the most senior member of the council. He and Mark Bilderback were elected in 2008. Bilderback has joined Council President Randy Staver and Councilmember Annalissa Johnson in calling it quits this year.
I talked with Wojcik last Friday and he was still undecided about running again and much of what he told me is included in the letter below. Having dealt with Wojcik over the years, I knew he was sincere about the toll the council job has taken on him. It was the most subdued I have ever heard him talk. And he was honest when he said he would spend the weekend soul-searching with his family and friends before making up his mind.
Here is the letter he sent to the news media Tuesday afternoon after he had made his decision:
I am tired, I feel beaten up, I don’t sleep well, I struggle with my mental and physical health. My wife and family worry. I have poured my heart and soul into this community for many years. Our world is on fire, racism and murder have torn our state apart, our community is suffering a pandemic crisis, and anger is the voice that gets heard. I have seen the dark political machine that will attack candidates who dare challenge the established powers. In the last year I have sought protection orders for myself and family. I just passed the anniversary of nearly losing my life to a careless driver. I have seen my children try to interpret the comments wishing for my death. All of my peers who have navigated this same environment are retiring. The hours are long and tedious. I have every reason to quit. It appears very dark. I can not do this on my own. But I also see the light and I will not abandon my post. The community has shown me over the years that I don’t have to do this alone. Everytime someone knocks me down, two more pull me back up. I have struggled with this decision but your outpouring of support has reassured me. That means more to me than any amount of money that a person could throw at a campaign. The roles that we fill as elected leaders fill are not just about governance but about encouraging community and being accessible to those in need. Through the darkest times we must keep an eye to the horizon and ensure our preparedness for opportunities ahead. I have always had challengers and this year will be different. I will not attack them or even mention them; but rather focus on my own vision and qualifications. COVID 19 represents a new challenge and I can not risk spreading disease by knocking on doors or leaving potentially contaminated materials. I will look for new ways to engage the public and ensure that every question is answered honestly. As always I will provide a list of detailed policy positions and the work that I have done on those topics. We have challenges to address as a community. We must continue to meet basic needs and deliver fundamental services. Housing affordability, transit, smart growth, and equity remain imperative. My kids must be safe and have opportunity, your’s must as well. We must not only recover from current challenges but do better for more people in the years ahead. Today our city is better run, safer, more sustainable, just and equitable than when I first assumed office. There are always special interests and lobbyists who can benefit by bending local government to their will. It is incumbent on the rest of us to not let that happen. I still believe as a community and as an individual our best days lie ahead. I can’t do it alone, I don’t need to do it alone, but I can continue to play my part.
In service; Michael Wojcik
Here are the candidates seeking the 2nd Ward seat:
Mark Bransford on May 19
Denise Welte on May 22
Steve Barlow on May 27
Michael Wojcik on June 2