Pine City makes history by appointing openly gay mayor

Pine City, about an hour north of the metro is known for its lakes. But soon the community of about 3,700 people could become recognized for something else.

"It's incredible. It's crazy. It's surprising that it's 2024, and there's only two in the state of Minnesota," said new Pine City mayor Kent Bombard.

On Monday, Bombard was sworn-in as the mayor after being appointed to the position when the previous mayor stepped down to spend more time with his family.

Bombard says he's the first openly gay mayor in the city's history, and one of only two gay mayors to currently hold the position among the state's 854 cities.

"It doesn't matter if you're gay or straight. Leading a city is leading a city. Being part of the community is being a part of a community and it takes all kinds to make the world go around," Bombard told FOX 9. 

Bombard lives in Pine City with his husband Aaron and contributes to the community by working in IT for Pine County and serving on the Pine City planning commission.

He says Pine City also started East Central Minnesota Pride in 2005, making it the first rural community in Minnesota to host such an event.

"It doesn't matter who you are, people respect you for being you. People are willing and able to help," said Bombard. 

Now that he's mayor, Bombard says he plans to focus on increasing housing and jobs in the city he calls home and if he happens to blaze a trail in the process, then so be it.

"It's fantastic. I'm ready to hit the ground running. I'm ready to help lead and help make positive change," said Bombard.

Bombard says his term as mayor will come to an end on Dec. 31, but he's already campaigning to be elected to another term in November.