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Wayzata is a premier suburb located 11 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. With a population of 4,500 people, Wayzata is a tight-knit community which is known for its vibrant downtown and picturesque setting on Lake Minnetonka. A popular destination for visitors, Wayzata’s downtown is home to a number of specialty shops, boutiques, professional services, and restaurants.

Monday, January 04, 2021

New Year, New Mayor

Wayzata Mayor Johanna McCarthy is just days into her new role leading the city of Wayzata. 


She was first elected to the Wayzata City Council in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. 

McCarthy officially filed an affidavit of candidacy in late July for the mayor’s seat. 

This came less than a week after Mayor Ken Willcox announced he will not seek re-election. 

McCarthy ran unopposed in November. 

"There is no greater honor or privilege than to serve one’s community," said McCarthy. "I am humbled to have been elected twice as a council member and this past election as Mayor of our beautiful city and look forward to serving in this new capacity." 

McCarthy immigrated to the United States with her parents from France at the age of three. She became a naturalized citizen at the age of 18.

She grew up speaking French and is a dual citizen of both the U.S. and France.

McCarthy is currently an Auxiliary member of the Wayzata American Legion.

She has two children, Ronan, 19, and Quinn, 17. She has a pit bull named Ruger.

McCarthy is a graduate of the College of St. Benedict and is currently a Senior Business Transformation Specialist at Cargill.

McCarthy was the first woman elected mayor of Wayzata in the same year (2020) as the country celebrated the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. 

"I don’t consider myself a trailblazer, however, as the city’s first female firefighter and now Mayor it has certainly given me moments to pause and reflect on my service to the city I have called home for over 20 years," said McCarthy. “This opportunity would have also not been possible without the support of my friends, family and colleagues: men and women who have guided and supported me throughout my life." 

McCarthy takes over for Ken Willcox who had served as mayor for a dozen years. "I am fortunate to have served alongside Mayor Willcox for six years," said McCarthy. "During that time I have learned more than I can possibly list." 

McCarthy takes over in the height of a pandemic. Sure, vaccines are being distributed, but our community is not out of the woods by any means. The economic damage to local businesses has been deep. 

"At the onset of the pandemic the council worked with city staff to ensure that city resources would be available and for staff to help eliminate potential roadblocks to businesses given the ever-evolving challenges of the pandemic," said McCarthy. "As Mayor, I will continue to work with city staff and the council to find opportunities to continue to support local businesses in new and creative ways." 

She sees her duties stretching beyond the Wayzata city limits. 

 "Additionally, in my new role as Mayor I will work with appropriate stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels to address and mitigate the issues our businesses have faced due to the multiple shutdowns and the effects of the pandemic." 

Currently, only outdoor dining is allowed at bars and restaurants. Indoor seating is off limits until at least Jan. 10. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz set the limits in a mid-December executive order. 

McCarthy’s short and long-term goals are intertwined. She seeks to establish financial stability for both the city’s businesses and households. 

"Additionally, I want to ensure we have all available resources to help support city staff during this difficult time; ensuring they are safe and healthy - both mentally and physically."

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