Politics and Government

St. Cloud’s longest-serving mayor says he won’t seek another term

A person speaks
St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis speaks during an interview in St. Cloud in September.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News 2023

St. Cloud’s longest-serving mayor announced Friday that he will not run for another term.

Mayor Dave Kleis has led the city since he was first elected in 2005. He’s been reelected four times since, but said Friday it’s time for new leadership in the city.

“I’m announcing now because I know a lot of people are looking at doing that. In fact, I’ve talked to at least four or five individuals that are going to be running,” he said at a morning news conference. “And I really think that it’s a great opportunity for them. And I think it’s a great opportunity for the voters, to make that determination as to should lead this city.”

Kleis, 60, told the St. Cloud Times that he had considered not running in 2020, but didn’t want to cause disruption amid the COVID pandemic.

“January 2025, I look forward to being able to raise my hand and to swear in a new mayor for the city of St. Cloud,” he said at Friday’s news conference. “I believe in service. But I also believe that in every part of service, it’s important to have new individuals lead.”

Kleis also announced Friday he’s pushing for a charter change to move city elections back to odd years — like they were when he was first elected — so they aren’t lost amid state and federal elections.

He said he also wants the city to eliminate at-large council seats and have each of the seven council members represent a specific ward of the city.

Prior to serving as St. Cloud mayor, Kleis served in the Minnesota Senate for a decade. He’s a native of Litchfield, graduated from St. Cloud State and served in the Air Force. He founded and operates a driver’s education academy in St. Cloud.

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