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Two twentysomethings are hoping Anokans will again vote for a mayor with youth rather than age or experience when they go to the polls Tuesday.

The two political rookies, one the younger brother of outgoing Mayor Bjorn Skogquist, 30, will face off in the primary Tuesday against two older candidates, who figured the city needed an older, wiser head to lead it.

Most of the candidates agree the City Council has too often been bogged down in petty politics and needs a leader who can pull it together on issues such as road and highway improvements, rundown rental housing and improving the downtown as the Northstar commuter-rail station is being built.

The four men filed for office within a day of the July deadline after learning Skogquist had decided to run for a County Board seat. Skogquist won his first, two-year term at age 22.

Candidate Frank Bodine, 70, a retired highway technician, said he felt called to run even though he lacks political experience. "I went to City Hall and saw a 22- and 24-year-old were the only ones running," Bodine said. "I wanted to make sure we had a mayor who could handle an old established town."

Council Member Phil Rice, 48, the last to file, also noticed the lack of experienced candidates. When he couldn't talk anyone else into running, Rice, ending his first four-year term, said he "felt it was up to me to provide the leadership I think is important."

After his older brother cleared the way, Erik Skogquist decided he'd like a turn as mayor.

"I support a lot of the things he does, so I did not want to compete against him," said Erik Skogquist, a carpenter and property appraiser with an urban studies degree from the University of Minnesota.

Andrew Heidemann, now 23, said he filed because the city needs a mayor who can pull the council together. The Anoka High School graduate and college student talked about his campaign last week during a break from his volunteer football coach position at his alma mater.

He said he is tired of watching City Council meetings marked by bickering and members getting stuck on the same issues without working together. "The mayor has to, number one, stand up for what you believe in and, two, for what is best for the city," said Heidemann, who is the son of Anoka-Hennepin school board Vice Chairman Tom Heidemann.

Rice and Erik Skogquist agreed that the council needs to focus on the greater good rather than petty politics or special interests.

Skogquist, now 25, said he has dealt with the City Council as head of the Windego Park Society, which has raised money to restore the city's dilapidated downtown amphitheater on the Rum River. Skogquist said he will resign from the Windego board if he is elected.

Rice and Bodine, who worked for an engineering firm and the state Department of Transportation, said they would talk with state transportation officials to reduce bottlenecks on Hwys. 10 and 47 (Ferry Street) in Anoka. Two stoplights on the city's north end slow Hwy. 10 traffic to a crawl at rush hour.

Rice said he shares some blame for not pushing Bjorn Skogquist and the council to stop debating and vote on a preliminary highway redesign so state planners could move quicker on plans for Hwy. 10 and Ferry Street. He said one thing he is proud of was working with Council Member Carl Anderson to revive and pass a rental housing inspection plan that the previous council turned down partly because of property owners lobbying.

Rice, a Pumptec salesman and a graduate of Northwestern College in Roseville, spent most of his career as a crisis counselor at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids.

Bodine, who graduated from Cambridge High, said he would try to keep taxes down and help businesses by opposing any city fees on the vintage car shows on summer weekends.

Skogquist and Heidemann said they also support the car shows, which brings revenue to downtown businesses.

Heidemann, who is studying at Anoka Ramsey Community College to get a degree in special needs education, said he works part time as a teachers assistant at Wilson Elementary School. He said he has worked on campaigns for his dad and others since he was a youngster and now it's payback time: His dad is door-knocking with him.

Jim Adams • 612-673-7658