Outgoing Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland thought about not running again at nearly every election, but floods and the city's response to them kept him in public life.
After 12 years, Mayor Mark Voxland is preparing to hand the job over to Moorhead's first female mayor, Del Rae Williams. Voxland decided not to run for a fourth term.
After the devastating 2009 flood, Voxland said he wanted to see if the city could be better prepared for disaster.
Voxland led an effort to buy out hundreds of homes and improve miles of levee. Now Moorhead is protected to flood height of 42.5 feet. But these changes also had a downside.
"The problem was it really disrupted the neighborhoods. Friends lived across from one another and all of a sudden we're in there buying homes," Voxland said. "So we've had neighborhoods shift and change a little bit and that's a real hard thing to be a part of and to see."
Voxland expects to continue working as an electrical contractor when he leaves office at the end of the year. But there are challenges there, too.
He said the booming oil economy in western North Dakota and very low unemployment is making it tough for him to find workers.
"In the construction business I see it first hand, looking for an apprentice electrician, haven't been able to find one for a few months," Voxland said. "I talk to contractors, carpenters — they're just not finding skilled workers to be on the job sites."