See more of the story

DULUTH – Four of Duluth's nine City Council seats are on the ballot this fall, and 15 candidates are hoping to advance past the Aug. 10 primary.

Eight people are running for two at-large council seats that represent the whole city. Four of them will advance to November's ballot. An open seat in the Second District has drawn four candidates, and an incumbent is facing two challengers in the Fourth District. At least two new council members will be seated after Zack Filipovich and Joel Sipress declined to run for third terms.

Absentee voting is open — click here for an application or to register to vote.

To find your polling place, click here.

The Star Tribune asked each candidate the following questions to help voters decide. Answers were edited for length. Candidates are listed alphabetically.

AT-LARGE

Azrin Awal

My family immigrated from Bangladesh when I was 3, and Minnesota is the only home I've ever known. My parents worked for several restaurants and grocery stores. As the oldest sibling I looked after my younger brother and sister and made sure they did their homework while my parents worked.

I came to Duluth to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth and fell in love with Duluth. I worked full time to pay my way through college and made the time to get involved. I founded the UMD chapter of the NAACP and now serve as a board member of the NAACP's Duluth chapter. I advocated for the Homeless Person's Bill of Rights, Superior Streets for All, and Arts for Activism. As a survivor, I've helped other sexual assault survivors through the Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA). I've helped hire UMD campus police officers and I designed the UMD's officer training on bystander collaboration. I now work in the community as a youth advocate at Life House for homeless and at-risk youth and as a mentor program advocate for Mentor North connecting youth with mentors in our community. I am also finishing my degree in public health.

Why are you running?

I've experienced many of the challenges that Duluthians face first hand, and I want to make sure everyone in Duluth has the resources they need to thrive. As a first-generation college student I know what it is like to push through adversity. As a person who worked her way through college I know that people who are struggling don't necessarily look like they are struggling. As a student who never had enough money to live in the dorms I know Duluth's housing crisis, and what families have to do to keep a roof over their heads. I am running to raise the voices of all who are struggling to be heard in Duluth, and to honor the commitment to service my family instilled in me. Giving back to the community is in my blood.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?

Access to safe and affordable housing, environmental sustainability, and racial and class equity are three of the biggest issues facing Duluth.

What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

As a city councilor I will fight for direct investment in affordable housing and for city planning and policies that support affordable housing and development.

To be the city that we wish to be we must stand together as one community, regardless of our backgrounds, our identities, the neighborhoods we live in or what we do for a living. I will bring this lens to every decision I make as a city councilor.

We must protect our parks and natural areas, protect our water, and continue the cleanup of the St. Louis River. We must also take more aggressive action to address climate change. The City's declaration of a climate emergency was an important first step. I will push the City Administration to accelerate its work to decrease carbon emissions and to prepare for more extreme weather events.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

You can find more information and contact me at www.voteazrin.com, and through social media at Azrin Awal for Duluth City Council At Large and @voteazrin.

-

Ashlie Castaldo

I am a 35-year-old digital marketing director for the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights. I live with my husband, Chase, any my son, Asher, and our Shih Tzu named Sully. I serve as a commissioner on the Duluth Commission on Disabilities, and I also have served on both the Amy for America and Joe Biden presidential campaigns. I also am a founding member of Christians for Biblical Equality at Greenville College and have served as Labor Secretary for AFSCME 31. I volunteer at Eastridge Community Church and Stella Maris Academy. I was born and raised in Duluth until I left for college, but came back 2.5 years ago to raise my family.

Why are you running?

I am running because I want to give back to this great city that has given me so much. I want to give in the best way I know I can: public service. I want to see the political division cease, and for real answers to change the lives of our constituents.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city

Housing, public safety, and strengthening our workforce.

What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

Increase of minimum wage, expansion of tech industry, promotion of remote work for our city in other states, and inclusion of new industries such as hemp. I will be pushing for the development of a Marijuana Legalization Business Plan that will see that Duluth is ready with union-protected policies and representation in dispensaries on Day 1 of the state's inevitable move. I also am going to push forward ordinances that protect our housing market from outside corporate property investors, by giving locals first bids on properties. I also want to diversify the housing market. Our public safety rests in being able to create an atmosphere where we humanize each other, instead of stoking division and extremism. I would like to be a public face for that and set initiatives where public safety figures and the community integrate on problem-solving.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

They can reach me by visiting www.ashlieforduluth.com, where my social media pages are also linked (I am responsive to anyone who messages me) or my e-mail, ashlie@ashlieforduluth.com.

-

Dezuwon "Pez" Davila

I am originally from Bridgeton, N.J. — a small town with a big reputation, and not for all the right reasons. Growing up was rough, and at times, it seemed as though those struggles would never end. It was not until I found a mentor who showed me that I, and others in the same situation I was in, could be better and overcome those obstacles set before me.

About six years ago, I moved to Duluth. Although it was completely out of my norm, and far from what the East Coast was like, I immediately fell in love with this city. I attended the University of Minnesota Duluth, where I studied Physical Education and Political Science. Currently, I am the Program Director for Neighborhood Youth Services (NYS). We are based out of the Washington Center near downtown. At NYS we have been able to do some amazing things for, and throughout, this beautiful city. Some examples of our wide-reaching impact include: tutoring students, providing meals and clothes for families, helping teens and parents with GEDs and job placement, housing assistance, building relationships with local businesses, running citywide events, and connecting the people of our city to one another.

Why are you running?

I am running for City Council because I think it's time we had a reset in how political things are handled overall. We are so divided politically and often forget that these are real people affected by how we view certain things. "People over politics" and "People over party" are the slogans I live by and I stand 100% behind those words.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?

The three biggest issues I believe facing the city are affordable housing, homelessness, and more jobs that can keep college students in the area.

What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

For homelessness, I plan on creating programs that could help with drug and alcohol addiction, job placement, temporary housing, counseling programs, and more.

For jobs: Identify fields that a majority of college students are studying and figuring out how to bring those to Duluth. In doing so, we keep young families in our city, create jobs, and are able to put more into our communities.

For affordable housing: Working with developers and investors on building efficient homes that are affordable yet nice, where people feel comfortable and are able to afford living comfortably.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

By e-mail, Pezdavila@gmail.com, and social media.

-

Scot Jenkins

I grew up in small town in East Texas. I went to Texas A&M (Mechanical Engineering) on an academic scholarship, then earned an MBA at Texas. I have spent most of my career in the energy equipment industry. I have traveled to and worked in about 60 countries and lived overseas for several years. I now own a heavy equipment dealership serving the logging and construction industries. My wife (Keri) and I have been married for 25 years, and we have two sons. Garrett, 22, is an Eagle Scout studying aviation at South Dakota State. Nate, 20, is studying computer science at West Point. I have no political experience, aside from speaking at City Council meetings and serving as an election judge. I serve on an informal board at my church to advise our pastor on "big think" issues. I am also on the board of directors for the Consolidated Cooperative, a groundbreaking effort to buy Verso's Wisconsin Rapids paper mill, to be owned and operated by loggers, truckers, mill workers, and industry allies. We moved to Duluth in 2015 after living in Singapore for 4 years.

Why are you running?

People with my background, views, and occupation are very good at grumbling about what is wrong in government, but we are far less inclined to step up and try to be part of the process. Our City Council is well-staffed with voices from academia, social services, and advocacy groups. We are missing the voice of business owners. Duluth has a firmly established reputation for being less than hospitable to business and development. Some of this reputation is deserved, and some is overstated. In any case, we need to both fix the actual issues generating this perception and actively work to change that reputation and culture.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?

Business environment: We have robust education and health entities in town, and our natural beauty drives strong tourism. All of these provide solid economic inputs. However, we lack a core of manufacturing, knowledge, or other production industries. Even some of our "home grown" companies have moved across the river to Superior to thrive in a more welcoming city.

Housing: The entire country speaks about a lack of affordable housing, but the problem is generally most acute in larger cities. Towns the size of Duluth should be thriving as people seek alternatives to urban issues without forsaking amenities.

Crime: Duluth does not have much of the kind of crime that hits headlines. If it bleeds, it leads" really doesn't apply here, as our violent crime rates are thankfully low. Our property crime, though, is higher than the national average.

What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

Business: City leaders should be cheerleaders for both local businesses and for recruiting investment from national brands. For a specific policy, I would lobby for expanding exceptions to companies where Earned Sick and Safe Time applies. This policy fits companies like a huge Amazon distribution center. It makes no sense for a kid working a summer job at the ice cream shop. Just this measure of flexibility would send a strong signal that the council is trying to find solutions that make sense, rather than simply imposing a "one size fits all" ordinance.

Housing: We need more production homebuilders building the new subdivisions that have fueled growth in other cities. Duluth, however, groans under an onerous permitting and zoning structure. This is also a huge factor with business development, as recent examples with Costco and Popeye's have demonstrated. Our code needs to be revisited with a "lessons learned" approach, and there needs to be a move toward flexibility and discretion on behalf of city staff implementing the codes. These city workers should be more empowered to work within these regulations.

Crime: There are countless studies that demonstrate a correlation between economic development/opportunity and property crime. It is not enough to simply wait for a better business environment to decrease crime. Better police support in high crime areas is essential. Our leaders should be at the very front of making the case that a robust police presence in high crime areas is a benefit to the majority of the population in these areas that are not committing these crimes. Our police deserve that support, and the residents that live in these areas deserve better protection.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

Phone: 218-409-6642. E-mail: srj4dlh@gmail.com. Facebook. Website.

-

Joe Macor

I'm 39 years old and my wife of 16 years, Holly, and I have three boys. Together, we own an adult foster care home caring for individuals with developmental disabilities. I have spent the last 21 years volunteering as a youth coach for Denfeld Junior Football League, where I currently serve as president. I am the founder and president of the Northland Youth Football Conference which spans throughout northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. I have also volunteered as an alpine ski coach for the past 11 years and am the Head Coach of the Duluth East and Denfeld boys and girls alpine ski teams. I am currently co-vice president of the Irving Community Club and sit on the board of the GND Development Alliance. Both serve as community organizations dedicated to enriching recreational facilities and programming for area youth. I am a 4th generation Duluthian and have lived here my entire life.

Why are you running?

I am running because I am invested in our community. I'm invested through my family, my business, and the community organizations with which I have been involved for over 20 years. I want to be a part of making Duluth not only successful right now, but also for my kids, and all future generations of Duluthians.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?

The top three biggest issues facing Duluth right now include support for our public safety departments, addressing our aging infrastructure, and our commitment to economic development that will bring in well-paying, family-supporting jobs. Prioritizing and investing in these three areas will help all Duluthians.

What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

Support for our public safety departments: With increasing retirements, call-loads, and violent crime, support for our public safety departments has never been more important. Duluth ranks one of the lowest for pay when compared to municipalities with similar populations and call loads. As a Councilor, I will be a strong advocate for the men and women serving in our public safety departments and ensure they have all the resources necessary to keep our communities safe.

Addressing our aging infrastructure: From roads to water and sewer, this should be a City Council priority. Investment in public works and prioritization of this department is imperative to maintain and repair these systems, giving residents peace of mind.

Economic development and family-supporting jobs. Duluth must gain long-term financial sustainability by focusing on economic development and encouraging new and growing businesses. Economic expansion will help jump-start local small businesses and give men and women opportunities for well-paying, family-sustaining jobs. A community that is economically diverse increases job opportunities and housing access for all its citizens.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

Voters can contact me by visiting our website at JoeMacor.com or our Facebook page. I can also be reached by phone at 218-390-3847 or by e-mail at duluth@joemacor.com.

-

Tim Meyer

I am 59 years old, originally from Little Falls, Minnesota. I am divorced and have a son who is 5 years old and just finished Pre-K. I attended both St. Cloud State University for Pre-Engineering and North Dakota State University where I have two degrees in architecture. I have been an Architect for 34 years. I moved to Duluth in 1990 and have lived here for 31 years. I have had numerous volunteer involvements where I served in the recreational, educational and professional sectors. I have also served on four city commissions in the city of Duluth including the Duluth Public Arts Commission, Downtown Waterfront Design Review Committee, City of Duluth Heritage Preservation Commission and two terms on the Planning Commission, with my last term ending this past April. I have also served two terms on our professional association of architects as President of AIA Northern Minnesota and served twice on the AIA Minnesota Board of directors. I am also a small-business owner, starting my company Meyer Group Architecture in 2009 from scratch at the bottom of the last recession.

Why are you running?

I am like a lot of people who have decided to get more politically involved following this past year, which included the pandemic and social unrest. I have a son who is multiracial and I want to help control the kind of world I would like him to grow up in. I also feel that the current City Council has lost sight of doing the city's business, lacks support for the business community and needs to get back to improving the quality of life for all Duluthians.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?

Economic diversification: I believe that the need to diversify our economy to add more focus on industrial, manufacturing and technology jobs, higher paying jobs. Duluth has done a great job on recreation and tourism, we now need to place a focus on adding other sectors.

Housing: Develop more housing options in Duluth, as well as other tiers of housing — affordable, mid-level and high-end housing.

Infrastructure: Replacing our streets and upgrading our aging infrastructure.

What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

Economic diversification: Refocus our economic development efforts to recruit more industrial, manufacturing and technology business to the city of Duluth. To work with our current manufacturers and technology businesses to see what possibilities they have to expand and what is needed to create conditions to assist them with expansion.

Housing Development: To stop issuing requests for proposals to housing developers and look to actively recruit housing developers to invest in Duluth. To work with them to incentivize this development through land, utility extensions and tax deferments.

Infrastructure replacement: In addition to use of the city's 0.5% sales tax funds earmarked for street replacement, lobby our state Legislature for funding for a one-time replacement of aging residential streets and sewer and water lines. Explore possible use of private funding and performance contracting to attempt to upgrade city buildings and service through private investment.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

E-Mail: tim.meyer@meyergroupduluth.com. Phone: (218) 590-1977. Facebook Page. Website.

-

Nancy Stam

I was raised in Texas and moved to Duluth two years ago, when my husband accepted a position at Essentia. I have three adult children. My life has been one with a focus on service for 39 years as a nurse. I apply my training as a medical professional to look at everyday issues, using the nursing process: assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation. This can be applied to small business and housing growth. We have a beautiful city that loves and needs tourists. Tourism supports our small business owner, who bring unique offerings. We must make sure we are their friend. I will listen, hear and represent the people of Duluth with honesty, integrity and transparency. I will ask the questions to get the answers people deserve.

Why are you running?

My platform for City Council At Large is one that says, "Ask the questions." The right questions lead to the solutions because they make you think, investigate, seek the right information and follow the logic that ultimately leads to growth. Questions lead to relationships and we could all use a dose of that. They also lead to a better understanding, stronger progression and a deeper perspective and peace. Questions bring quality to our lives which is needed to help our city/community, our village.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?

My focus is small business, health disparities, public safety and security and unity of community.

Health disparities across the city must be addressed. Health comes in different shapes and sizes, mental health as well as physical health, environmental health, which encompasses housing and streets.

Public safety and empowering law enforcement to keep the peace and uphold the law is also part of this. We live in a time when distrust and polarizing opinions are rampant. We must and should be able to turn to our authorities for help. Our police force may not be perfect but there are so many men and women that have dedicated their lives for the public good who have honest and upright intentions. No one or profession is perfect and no one carries out their jobs perfectly.

The homeless and panhandling situation has gotten out of control. This must be addressed. This effects health on multiple levels.

What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

We are strong and vibrant and can achieve immeasurable things when we are together, working and living in unity. Our city can be vibrant, full of life and have opportunities for all. Our city like our great lake, can be a powerful, moving force, full of progressive industry, health care, entertainment and growth. I will approach issues with compassion, constructive consideration, unafraid of challenge, confident, consistent, committed and convinced. I bring a fresh, transparent, analytical, common-sense approach to situations.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

I can be reached by e-mail at npstam@gmail.com or phone at 540 327-2734.

-

Terese Tomanek — Incumbent

I am a St. Paul native. I attended UMD and fell in love with Duluth, knowing I would want to open my business and raise a family here. My husband Steve Davis and I have been married for 40 years, owned a home here and raised our adult children, Marc and Hallie in this family-friendly city. I am a senior citizen and have had several professional careers, first as a chiropractor and now serving as a chaplain at Essentia Health. In my early years, I was a cashier at a grocery store and was a mail carrier. I am an ordained minister and served as an interim pastor in Babbitt, Minn., and was the chaplain at The Hills, a juvenile residential treatment center. I have served on many boards and commissions: the Duluth Human Rights Commission, the YWCA board, the Earned Sick and Safe Time task force, the Duluth Library Advisory Board, and Friends of the Duluth Library. I currently serve as the President of the Lake Superior Foundation Board, am on the Area Regional Development Council (ARDC) and the Duluth Public Utilities Commission. I chair the City Council Intergovernmental Relations Committee, and I serve on the boards of the Great Lakes Aquarium, Glensheen Mansion, and Duluth Sister Cities International. I am a member of the Duluth NAACP and the League of Women Voters.

I have played an active role in the goals of our city, having served on the Council for a year after being unanimously appointed by my fellow councilors in June 2020.

Why are you running?

I am running to serve my community with the life experience I have gathered including running a successful small business, serving on many boards and commissions, raising a family and being active in helping our city thrive. I am able to listen carefully, and I work to make careful, informed decisions, incorporating all the conversations I have had and research I have done. I know how to collaborate with people from many sectors of the community as shown through my work in co-authoring and passing many ordinances on the Council.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city/What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

Duluth is a city poised to grow and thrive in the coming years while maintaining its feeling of community and its inviting environment. In order to do that, we must increase our housing stock, including affordable housing, housing for seniors, apartments large and small, starter homes for young families and rehabbing our existing homes. We must be a business-friendly environment for new and existing businesses, both large and small. The city is doing that by recommending nearly $3 million dollars of our American Rescue Plan money be used to assist small businesses, tourism and industries that were disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and for workforce development. We must support our families by encouraging the growth of child care opportunities and accessible, affordable broadband for all our residents.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

Voters can contact me by e-mail at ttomanek@duluthmn.gov for city issues; TereseforDuluth@gmail for campaign issues. Facebook. Website. Phone: 218-216-9126

DISTRICT 2

Andrew Hilfers

I am 27 years old, and I currently work for Duluth Public Schools as a biology teacher, and I work part-time at a locally owned liquor store. I have lived in Duluth six years now. I have no past experience as a politician. I also help run some after-school clubs and activities during the school year.

Why are you running?

I decided to run for City Council not for any reason more than I like living here, and I want to do what I can to make it better for everyone else who lives here too. I'm not wanting to be a career politician, and I'm not a business owner with something to gain. I've always been the guy who if there's a job that needs to be done, I'll volunteer and try my best.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?

1. We need to address the growing equity issues, primarily in our school district, between East and West, and ensure all students get the resources and support they need to succeed in life.

2. We need to be supporting affordable housing projects for the people who live here, and those who want to move here.

3. We also need to do much more in maintaining and replacing the infrastructure our city is built on.

What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

For item 1, we need to specifically identify what areas are lacking in resources whatever they may be, and then do our best to supply those resources. I think the best way is to ask the people who live there what they need. For 2, we should only be supporting new housing development that will be priced affordably for the medium or lower incomes of the city. Also, looking into rent control measures. Lastly, more resources into and expanding our Public Works and road crews. I have little experience in policymaking, so I ideally would work together with my new colleagues to get these ideas in motion.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

Voters can e-mail me at hilfersduluth@gmail.com.

-

Andrew C. Jarocki

I am 23 years old and Duluth has been my home for my entire life. I am an Eagle Scout, and the many local Scouting service projects over the years have given me a deep familiarity with our neighborhoods. I graduated from Marshall High School in 2016, and I graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Political Science and Public Policy in 2020. After college, I returned to serve the community I love through a fellowship with Lead For Minnesota. I currently work on public housing policy in the Northland as a LFMN Hometown Fellow.

Why are you running?

I am running because I believe our local leaders must ensure Duluth can realize its incredible potential. As we emerge from the pandemic, families throughout the state and country are now seriously considering our city as a place to live. In order to attract new Duluthians, and retain our best and brightest, we need to make Duluth the best place in the world to raise a family, find a job and open a business.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city/What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

Raising a Family: Our City Council must be a champion for the needs of parents. For example, I disagree strongly with the Mayor's suggested use of $12 million on City Hall. Instead, these federal funds could be a lifeline to Duluth families struggling to find and afford child care. Child care scholarships, support for connective services and other forms of assistance would do much more for Duluthians than any one building's air flow system. Families also need public safety, which is why I will ensure our local law enforcement always has the resources they need to conduct their job in an effective and professional manner.

Finding a Job (and a home): The unhoused population along the Lakewalk and individuals panhandling in downtown, while distinct challenges, are both reminders that we need a community that provides economic opportunity for all. To better serve the unhoused population, I will push the Council to work more closely with area service provides like the Duluth HRA and CHUM. The tens of thousands of emergency Section 8 vouchers recently created by HUD should be studied as part of a possible solution. As for panhandling, I believe it is necessary to update the City Code to ban begging on public sidewalks (as the City Code already does with public golf courses). This vulnerable population deserves better. I will lead the creation of a city task force that will recommend ways the city can better connect the economically disadvantaged with local opportunities.

Opening a Business: Duluth must work more closely with the business community to ensure family-supporting jobs remain in the city. I believe doing better begins with forming a better working relationship between the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce/Downtown Business Council. I will always vote for a right-sized, reasonable tax environment that encourages commerce. Most importantly, I will push for municipal funding of infrastructure like docks, shipping channels, railroads, interstate highways, and our international airport. These assets make Duluth the center of opportunity in the Northland and deserve investment.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

The best way to contact me is by e-mail at andrew@andrewforduluth.com. I'm also on Facebook. For voters who prefer mail, letters can be sent to: PO Box 3631 Duluth, MN 55803

-

Mike Mayou

Growing up in Duluth, I have come to love our community, the immediate access we have to Lake Superior, and our amazing natural spaces, including our systems of parks and trails. As a proud graduate of Duluth East High School and the University of Minnesota Duluth, and as an employee of the Duluth Public Schools and also UMD, I am committed to Duluth and working alongside fellow members of our community to push for positive change and advocate for justice.

Why are you running?

I'm running because we must ensure that everyone in our city can thrive. At this turning point in our nation's history, we need representatives in our local, state and federal government who will speak the truth, advocate for all of us and introduce fresh ideas about ways to address the crises we face. My experience as an involved community member, the relationships I've built inside and outside of City Hall, and my passion for the work it takes to make our community better make me the right person to represent the Second District on the Duluth City Council.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?

Affordable housing, climate justice, and creating a fair economy for working people.

What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

Affordable Housing: The private housing market has failed to meet the needs of lower- and middle-income people. I am a strong advocate for the continuation and potential expansion of programs such as Rebuild Duluth, which is a partnership between Duluth HRA and DEDA to give developers with the best affordable housing proposals infill lots for free. At Mayor Larson's 2021 State of the City Address, I was excited and encouraged to hear that our city will be creating an affordable housing trust fund, which I believe is a great step in the right direction to start addressing the affordable housing crisis we are facing. As a city councilor, I would be a strong advocate for growing that trust fund and creating stability in its funding sources for years to come.

Climate Justice: In Duluth in particular, I would be a strong advocate for working with our publicly owned utility, Comfort Systems, to push for a requirement that new builds not use gas as the primary source of heat, while offering incentives to do so. Working with partners like One Roof and others, there is great potential for the city to help residents afford to convert some of these old homes to meet and exceed our energy efficiency standards today. We must also accelerate the work that is already underway to reduce the city's own carbon footprint and exceed our goals of 80% renewable energy by 2050

Creating a Fair Economy for Working People: To help address some of the growing inequities throughout our city, I would strongly advocate for and cosponsor an ordinance to increase the minimum wage in Duluth to a living wage, or at least $15/hour. I would also hold recipients of city economic development aid to a high standard regarding wages, job creation and the continued use of project labor agreements for our union workers citywide.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

Voters can visit our website at mayouduluth.org and e-mail me or members of my campaign team at mike@mayouduluth.org or info@mayouduluth.org. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

-

Dave Zbaracki

I am 38, a fifth-generation Duluthian. I am an East and UMD graduate with a degree in political science and history. I am a full-time dad to my children, Adam, 7, and Catherine, 10. Prior to getting married, I worked full-time in the ski industry as a coach and instructor. I currently work part-time in ski and bike sales and have been a volunteer ski and mountain bike coach. I am also continually active in the music ministry at my church as a cantor and choir member. I have volunteered on several labor-endorsed campaigns in the last few years, including serving as a campaign manager. I also did an internship prior to college with the city of Duluth Department of Planning and Development. My wife, Anne, is a physician and has been a member of the 148th Fighter Wing for over 25 years. She is a flight surgeon at the rank of Major and is also an Iraq War veteran.

Why are you running?

My campaign slogan is "Let's build a better Duluth." That starts with better neighborhoods. We need walkable, cohesive neighbors with accessible streets for all users. We need a better economy with family-sustaining jobs. And we need a better government. We must broaden our tax base so we can fully fund public safety, as well as street and sidewalk repair.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city/What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

Housing, aging infrastructure, and public safety are probably the most pressing issues for Duluth right now, among others.

Housing is tough. Duluth is no different that many communities across the country in terms of a lack of affordable housing. Current costs for construction far outpace the price of affordable housing. Solving the problem would require massive federal investment, but we can do smaller things like attach incentives to developers to build affordable units in exchange for tax-increment financing.

Aging infrastructure requires broadening our tax base so we can get more revenue, but it also means having a plan. One example is when I lived in Waterloo, Iowa, for three years where my wife did her residency in family medicine. They have a 10-year revolving plan to address sidewalk repair for the entire city. The city is divided up into 10 different zones, and one zone is addressed every year. We can do something similar here.

Public safety is a huge priority as well. Our fire department is still a few firefighters short of national staffing standards at a few fire halls in town. They also have a paltry training budget of $7,500. We can do better. Our police department currently has the lowest recruiting numbers they have ever had. Most Duluthians want a strong police force while having strong police accountability. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. We need councilors and candidates who reflect those values.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

I have a Facebook page where I share most of my candidate information. I also have a website, davezforduluth.org, or you can e-mail me at davezforduluth@gmail.com.

DISTRICT 4

Howie Hanson

66. Wife Beth, children Ben and Emily. Print journalist and Fourth District Duluth City Councilor, 2014-17. I served on several boards throughout the years, including the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District, Great Lakes Aquarium, Salvation Army and various youth sports associations. Former college and high school athlete, including all-conference baseball outfielder in college. Duluthian since 1974, and currently reside in the Parkwood development in Piedmont Heights

Why are you running?

The city of Duluth has raised its share of the local property tax levy in the last six years. This year saw a 2.98% increase, 2020 an 8.46% increase, 2019 an 11.25% increase, 2018 a 10.19% increase, 2017 a 17.65% increase, and 2016 a 7.68% increase, according to the city of Duluth's approved budgets. This is on top of annual tax levy increases by St. Louis County and the Duluth public schools. This is unsustainable. We can do better, Duluth. We must do better.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?

Unprecedented tax increases, a major shift away from providing basic city services such as police and fire and an overwhelming loss of community pride during Mayor Emily Larson's first six years in office. Fourth District Duluth City Councilor Rene Van Nett has been coached to be a rubber-stamping agent for Larson's ultra-socialist agenda.

What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

Continue to demand transparency from the Larson administration, as I did in my previous four years serving the hardworking people of the Fourth District. Nearly every vote is 9-0, and many potentially controversial votes are intentionally hidden in the consent agenda. I will continue to vote "yes" for budgetary increases for police. We must invest in and empower our police department men and women to do their job, not take the guns out of their holsters.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

Best contact: 218.940.5200, Duluth@aol.com and Facebook.com/HowieHanson. Voters can call or e-mail any time.

Nathaniel Rankin

My name is Nathaniel Rankin. I am 47 years old. I am the youngest of 3 siblings in my family. I have 6 children and 12 grandchildren. I have lived in Duluth the majority of the time for 40 years. I live in the Lincoln Park, formerly known as the West End. I still live in the house I grew up in. I work for Charter Communication, also known as Spectrum. I have worked with them for 20 years.

Why are you running?

I am running for City Council for a couple of reasons. Jobs, infrastructure, housing, and accountability of spending taxpayers' money on things that we as citizens should have a vote on.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?

Jobs are the biggest issue in Duluth, as in all cities. We have a lot of entry level jobs that seem to fit the tourism industry, not living wages. A city needs a variety of jobs to run efficiently, not just one type. I remember when Diamond Tool was around, I was looking forward to working there as I was growing up. Why as a city don't we have any more manufacturing jobs?

The infrastructure of our roads are like a bad roller coaster that no one wants to ride on. How does that happen in a city that relies on tourism as its main source of income, when the roads are the first thing people feel as they drive into the city? Dilapidated buildings that have been standing for years without attention from the owners should be removed.

Our parks need help. There's no working restrooms or drinking facilities for the people that use them.

What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

The Policy that needs the most work is getting rid of some of the red tape for business to start building here. This way we can get those manufacturing jobs to come here. Just think maybe the city of Duluth can start making medical tools for all the hospitals and clinics that are in Minnesota, or just maybe we will be making tools again that have Duluth MN stamped on it. This would bring good paying jobs, and affordable housing will follow.

The spending of taxpayer dollars: I think in some cases we should give the citizens the option to vote on some of the spending, this would help with the process and maybe some better choices of spending will come out of it.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

E-mail: jokeno101@gmail.com.

-

Renee Van Nett — Incumbent

It has been my honor to serve as your councilor and represent the Fourth District as your current Council President for the year 2021.

I am a single mom of two sophomores at Denfeld High School and I work for Head of the Lakes United Way as the Impact Director. I am 51 years old, I have lived in Duluth since the age of 10, I have a bachelor's degree from Concordia University St. Paul in Organizational Management and communications. I have a large family in the Duluth area; we are members of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa. I have extensive experience in volunteer board and city commissions. I founded a nonprofit called Cross Cultural Alliance of Duluth, I served on city commissions such as the Indigenous Commission, the Citizen Review Board and the Civil Service Board. I have served on nonprofit boards such as the Damiano Center, Lincoln Park Children and Family Collaborative, and the workforce development board. I serve on Community Action Duluth equity committee and workforce development board on the equity committee. I currently volunteer at Life House in creating a culture programs for the youth.

Why are you running?

As the district councilor, I have learned through working with the people I represent that the districts needs are "nuts and bolts" work. I think and talk about City Council work that is more holistic then just one specific subject or item. We work on everyday-people needs such as housing, public safety, streets, jobs, homelessness, our housing stock and taxation to name a few, while working to balance a budget that fits the needs of Duluthians, the business community as well as the taxpayer.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city/What specific policies do you plan to pursue to address those issues?

The top three topics I am focused on are Public Safety, economic development and housing.

I spoke up where issues of housing were a concern. I am advocating for all types of housing needs in the district from 75-unit developments to the homeless community with the All Nations Indigenous Center yurt initiative.

I give my full support for the district's public safety needs. I was committee chair of public safety, and in that work I advocated for our fire department in areas such as diversifying the department and training facilities and budget discussions. The police department needs are similar but different. I advocate for community-based policing, budget and policy strengthening for the protective gear, for the health and wellness for our community members and police officers, while assuring that our community members are safe and that the police department shows up when needed.

There are many ways to think about economic development. I think about economic development in terms of job creation, be it by supporting local businesses so they feel seen and heard and/or nonprofits who employ our community and families. In my day job I serve on the Workforce Development board, and we are working on strengthening the diversity and inclusion aspect of growing the tax base by helping one person at a time get a job and keep it despite their background, race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status or who you love. Everyone deserves a job that feeds their families and gives them hope and pride.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?

Please see reneevannett.com. I would be happy to hear from you! Phone: 218-343-2602. E-mail: reneeforduluth@gmail.com Address: 216 W. Central Entrance Duluth MN, 55811