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Guiffrida Wins Open Kalispell City Council Seat

first_img Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. Email A few years ago, Phil Guiffrida III worked for a technology company that wanted to transfer him out of Kalispell. As a way to stay in his hometown, he quit the job. “I love this place that much,” he said. The 1997 Flathead High School graduate has kept his roots intact and hopes to help other residents do the same as the new city councilor for Ward 4. Guiffrida won with 531 votes (66 percent) in the municipal election on Nov. 8. His challenger, Cecilia Lee, received 270 votes (34 percent). Ward 2 incumbent Wayne Saverud held onto his seat for a second straight term after earning 671 votes (53 percent). Challenger Chad Graham received 562 votes (44 percent) and Erik Jerde had 34 votes (3 percent). Both Ward 3 incumbent Randy Kenyon and Ward 1 incumbent Kari Gabriel regained their seats in uncontested races. This year’s election was the first time votes were taken by mail-in ballots only. The voter turnout for the city was 28 percent, a 3 percent decline from the 2009 election. As the newest face on the council, Guiffrida will replace retiring councilor Duane Larson. Larson, who worked in the city fire department for years before joining the council in 1990, recently received a lifetime achievement award for his public service. “Duane Larson was a great councilman,” Guiffrida said. “He left some really big shoes to fill, but I’m going to do my best.” Surrounded by friends and family, Guiffrida celebrated the victory at Scotty’s Bar on election night. He said he plans to take a business-minded approach to his new role as councilor and will try to spur job growth and positive development with a “pay-as-you-go government.” “I want to make sure we’re not creating debt for my children,” he said. “I want to make this a good place for my children to grow up.” Guiffrida has been a member of the city’s planning board for a year and said he will step down once he takes over as councilor in January. Saverud, who spent election night in the comfort of his home, said he is excited to still be involved with shaping the city’s future. “I’m very pleased that the residents of Ward 2 decided to let me try to do some more good for them,” he said. “Things are going well right now.”last_img read more

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