“I Will Not Resign”, Two Harbors Mayor To Face Recall Vote

TWO HARBORS, Minn. – Two Harbors Mayor Chris Swanson will face a recall vote after deciding not to resign.

Swanson had to make this decision after the City Council voted last week to approve a recall.  As stated in the city charter, the council voted for the recall after the petition for it contained enough signature so that it covered at least 20-percent of the number of registered voters in the city.

In a prepared statement, Swanson highlighted a number of initiatives that the city has taken on since taking office as Mayor in 2017.  He focused on the revitalization of the downtown area, investing in street repairs, and implementing a capital improvement plan.

“I can’t abandon the vision, nor can I abandon the many people who believe what we are doing is finally working,” says Swanson.  “We are taking on bigger projects, and we’re starting to move forward.  The best is yet to come.  I will not resign.”

Swanson describes the recall as a chance for people to decide if the city continues to move forwards or backwards, not about whether his actions in office were in violation of the city code of conduct and ethics.

“I have done nothing that even closely reaches the level of maleficence.  Week after week I get to see the people who believe they’re right, telling me how bad I am, and yet they have no law on their side.  No evidence of wrongdoing, just accusations and a loud megaphone. That megaphone is dying.”

The group “Resign or Recall” had led the effort to remove Swanson from office.  Chairman Todd Ronning says members have been raising concerns about Swanson’s actions for months.  They got added support when City Attorney Tim Costley issued a memorandum of opinion back in March, saying Swanson used his position as Mayor for personal benefit of business interests.

“The six items in our certificate, the allegations of maleficence, are irrefutable,” says Ronning.  “For him to sit there and say they’re all nothing but accusations and nothing has been proven is certainly another falsehood.  I think our path is clear from here.”

Ronning adds he was cautiously optimistic that Swanson would have resigned.  Now, they will spend the next several months campaigning for his removal.  “I think our reputation has been tarnished as such, and we just want to restore some dignity and some faith in our elected officials.  We want to send that message to the community and the State of Minnesota that enough is enough and we’re not going to stand for this unethical behavior.”

The recall vote will take place on August 9, the same date as Minnesota’s primary elections.  If Swanson is recalled, a special election will be held to find someone who will finish out his current term.  That ends in January of 2025.

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