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Top 10: The close race for City Council

Lori Braucks1 / 2
Mark Vaughan2 / 2

Editor's note: This story is part of a series looking back at some of the biggest stories of 2018. Find the rest of the series here: Top Ten 2018.

The two incumbent candidates for the at-large Hastings City Council race, Lori Braucks and Mark Vaughan, held onto their seats for another term after a tight race in November.

Vaughan and opponent Tom Cherney were separated by 130 votes when the last numbers of the night came in.

Updated numbers the Friday following the election showed that Vaughan was 1 percentage point ahead of Cherney, giving him the victory.

"It was more stressful than I was prepared for," Vaughan said when the official numbers came in. "That's half the fun of running in an election though. I am excited to move forward."

This will be the second term of service on City Council for both Braucks and Vaughan.

Both have an interest in economic development and transportation in Hastings, Braucks stating it as one of her long-term priorities in an October Q&A with the Hastings Star Gazette.

Vaughan told the audience at a candidate's forum held in late October, that the way to get the ball rolling is through housing.

"I think we really need to focus on that, because it ties into (economic development and transportation)," Vaughan said.

On housing, Braucks said in the Q&A that Hastings is in need of more diverse housing options, but that the government shouldn't be driving the housing market.

"I don't want the city to be in the business of buying properties and acting as a developer; that is not our best role," Braucks said.

Although these are challenges that Hastings faces, Braucks said at the forum, her short-term focus will be on issues surrounding the water crisis that took place this past September.

"A short-term priority is to address our water and our water system," Braucks said. "We are doing a feasibility study. We are looking at the addition to chlorine in the water and at other disinfecting options," Braucks said.

Braucks also addressed a need to find better ways to communicate with the citizens of Hastings when crises such as the water contamination occur.