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Cottage Grove City Council member Peterson announces re-election run

Cottage Grove City Council member Jen Peterson said Wednesday she will run for re-election in the fall. Peterson was first elected in 2008.

Cottage Grove City Council member Jen Peterson has said she will seek a second term from the city's voters in the fall election.

Peterson swept easily into office in 2008, finishing first among a crowded field of five candidates by more than 2,000 votes over the second-place finisher, fellow council member Justin Olsen.

She then narrowly lost a bid for a state House seat in 2010, midway through her four-year term.

Peterson said she is seeking another term because there are still things she hopes to accomplish as a member of the City Council.

"I was just looking at all my options of what I wanted to run for before making a decision," Peterson said Wednesday. "I knew I wanted to run for something."

She declined to say what other offices she had considered running for and said she did not know if she would seek another seat before her next Council term would expire in January 2017.

"I don't know the answer to that right now," she said.

In her 2010 House campaign, Peterson received some criticism - including in literature distributed in support of her opponent, current Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove - for her votes to support the construction of a new city hall and public safety facility that is set to open this fall.

Peterson defended her support for the $16 million project this week and said she didn't think the project would be a major issue in the fall campaign.

"I hope people have moved on and understand -- now that we've gotten into another budget [planning] session where the council is looking at what the budget will be this next time around -- and it's like we said:(the project) won't have an impact on the taxpayers," she said.

Peterson also said the criticism - and the sometimes-divisive tenor of the City Council's relationship over the past 18 months - had not given her pause in considering whether to run again.

"It hasn't been enough to make me think I didn't want to keep doing this," she said. "I took a lot of crap from people, but then on the other side I was hearing a lot of support for some of the decisions I made. Unfortunately, a lot of what you hear is the negative."

Mayor Myron Bailey's seat is also up for re-election this November, along with Peterson and Olsen's council seats. Neither Bailey nor Olsen has said definitively whether they intend to seek another term.

Council member Derrick Lehrke, whose council term does not expire until January 2015, is running for a state House seat this fall.

The filing period for Cottage Grove City Council candidacy is July 31 through Aug. 14.