Our view: Stauber would bring sense, energy to County BoardDNT ENDORSEMENT: Pete Stauber remembers well the lapse of leadership and the moment he knew: He had to run against his St. Louis County Board representative from District 5, an area that includes Proctor, Hermantown and elsewhere just outside Duluth.
Pete Stauber remembers well the lapse of leadership and the moment he knew: He had to run against his St. Louis County Board representative from District 5, an area that includes Proctor, Hermantown and elsewhere just outside Duluth.
In December, less than a week before Christmas, the board was voting to support, or not to support, precious-metals mining. Specifically, the vote was for the “existing, open, transparent and comprehensive environmental review and permitting process in place” and for the “success of these projects, contingent upon the approval of all federal and state environmental permits necessary for these projects to move forward.”
The County Board voted in favor of this new brand of mining and the economic windfall it promises — but hardly overwhelmingly at 4-3. In the minority was Stauber’s representative, Commissioner Peg Sweeney.
Last week at a candidate forum in Duluth, Sweeney insisted she supports mining and “our being able to do it and do it right.” But no mining company had asked the board for a resolution of support, she said. So a vote was “jumping the gun.”
Waiting to be asked to weigh in is hardly being a leader on any issue, especially an issue with the region-altering potential of precious-metals mining.
Stauber is ready to be a proactive, effective, common-sense leader for residents of his District 5. He deserves voters’ support on Nov. 6.
Stauber would bring to the County Board experience, including eight years of effective and productive service on the Hermantown City Council; a strong, positive reputation after working as a community police officer and now as a lieutenant in the Duluth Police Department; and an aggressive, no-nonsense approach to economic development, service delivery, budgeting and other County Board responsibilities.
Stauber already is a generous public servant. In addition to being a police officer, he’s on the advisory board for the Northeast Regional Corrections Center; is a member of the board of Udac, a Duluth nonprofit that helps people with disabilities; and is the Yellow Ribbon coordinator for the city of Duluth, leading efforts to assist those returning from active overseas military duty.
“I felt there was a lack of leadership on the County Board, and I want to change the direction of the County Board to be able to increase the potential for jobs. I want to make sure we can strengthen accountability in St. Louis County to serve all the residents, and I’m looking forward to the challenges.”
On his opponent’s vote against copper mining, Stauber said, “I don’t know what else the resolution could have said to support the jobs at PolyMet, but to me (her vote was) unconscionable. In St. Louis County we have over an 8 percent unemployment rate. These are jobs that will benefit the community for years. These aren’t temporary jobs. These are permanent jobs for at least two generations-plus.
“We can expand jobs,” Stauber said. “We can create good jobs. And we can do it in an environmentally friendly way. In fact, we will do it in an environmentally friendly way, and we demand it be done that way.”
To Sweeney’s credit, she has been part of a County Board that responded to local government aid cuts and a dismal economy by reducing the size of county government and by spending responsibly while still fixing roads and bridges and still delivering services to vulnerable county residents.
“People say to me, ‘Aw, haven’t you had enough? And I say no. I love what I do. I work hard. I spend lots of hours. This is not a part-time job. This is a very full-time job. If you do it right you’re in constant contact with people throughout your community working on various issues for them.”
After 16 years in office, Sweeney seems to have slipped a little too comfortably into the role of career politician, however, On Nov. 6, voters can pick an energetic, sensible and better-qualified replacement.