MINOT — Commissioner John Pietsch announced on Tuesday that he will not be seeking re-election once his term expires this year.
“In all fairness to anyone who may be interested in running for Ward County Commissioner, it is with some regret, I will not be running for a second term. With my history on boards over the last 40 years, I consider it a great accomplishment, for me, that I may actually complete one term as a county commissioner,” said Pietsch in his resignation letter.
Honored to have served as a commissioner a full term, he says he plans to continue farming and to open a machine shop for rebuilding “antique farm machinery, cars, and motorcycles.”
Pietsch said he plans to help resolve the right-of-way dedication issue, polish up zoning ordinances in the Home Rule Charter, and to make sure a policy is in place for distributing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds before he finishes out the year.
“We are going to work hard to try and get that land that was taken away by the county and return it back to individuals… or we’ll have to figure out some form of compensation or some fair way to see that they are taken care of. And this ARPA money, we’re going to figure out a way to get that distributed in a fair way so that one part of the county can’t say, ‘we wound up with so much less than someone else.’”
Looking back at concerns raised by Ward County residents regarding the Second Amendment and vaccine mandates, Pietsch said he wished those issues could have been resolved sooner rather than being tabled multiple times.
“I didn’t like it getting tabled,” he said. “I wish it was dealt with, and we could have moved on… And it isn’t good for the governing body to do that, because it just makes it a bigger issue and allows it to fester and grow. The sooner you can get stuff to the table and deal with it, we make a decision one way or the other, and not everyone is going to be happy with every decision you made.”
Pietsch also knows what it is like standing as a constituent before a board, “The hardest thing for me is when I get up and say something and nobody responds back, or just say ‘thank you, you can sit down.’” He explained that he tries his best to engage with those who speak, even if he disagrees with their views.
“I try to keep things on the up and up, and to be respectful to everyone who you deal with even if they don’t see eye to eye with you. And I think that is part of the problem with so many things that we are dealing with today. If someone doesn’t think the exact same as we do, there is a certain amount of disrespect there. Its not just local, it is as far up the political chain as you want to go. I think we’ve lost so much there, instead of talking there needs to be a lot more listening too.”