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Candidate's view: Passion, experience will benefit board

Thank you for electing me three times to the Duluth City Council and advancing me in the St. Louis County primary race. As a lifelong eastern Duluth resident and a retired veteran, I love my city and country, and I value your vote.

Jim Stauber
(File / News Tribune)

Thank you for electing me three times to the Duluth City Council and advancing me in the St. Louis County primary race. As a lifelong eastern Duluth resident and a retired veteran, I love my city and country, and I value your vote.

I am the proud father of four adult children. Ryan, Eric and Rachael live in the district, and Matt, an Air Force pilot, maintains his Duluth residency. I was born in the East Hillside, raised in Lester Park and moved to Congdon Park after leaving the active-duty Air Force. Later, I moved to Hunters Park where my kids grew up and I have resided for 22 years. I retired from the Minnesota Air National Guard as a lieutenant colonel and from Mayo Clinic Medical Transportation (Gold Cross) as a manager. Currently, I adjunct teach at the University of Minnesota Duluth and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College.

As a city councilor, I was first elected At Large in 2001 and served as council president in 2004. I worked 12 years to represent all Duluth citizens. I am a champion of neighborhood issues, a watchdog of questionable expenses, and a defender of open government. I look for efficiencies in programs, cringe at excessive government debt, and query the economic impact of each piece of legislation.

During the deepest recession of my lifetime, I did not support the city levy increases from 2009 of $14.7 million to 2013 of $19.4 million, a 32 percent increase. I did not support the nonsensical street-light fee, the water-rate increase or, as your public utility commissioner, the recent 15 percent fixed-rate increase in natural gas.

In the last four years, I stood shoulder to shoulder with neighbors to address rezoning, threats of eminent domain, parking and resident access related to the long-range plan for Rockridge, Kenwood, Lester Park and Ordean schools.

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Animal welfare is nonpartisan. I initiated legislation ensuring funding for the city's animal shelter, encouraging spaying and neutering, and creating three off-leash dog parks. I am a three-term board member of Animal Allies.

For decades we have grown as a college town, and, as a result, absentee landlords and an inordinate number of students living off campus have placed undue stress on neighborhoods. I sponsored front-yard parking restrictions, enhanced rental licensing, the 300-foot rule and permit parking. I supported the BlueStone Commons and Boulder Ridge developments.

I was elected president four times of the Duluth Economic Development Authority. There, I originated the bankruptcy lawsuit against Northwest Airlines, resulting in the $30 million MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) facility being awarded to DEDA and now occupied by AAR. I developed legislation to create the Sheraton Hotel and to expand Ikonics.

I chose not to seek another term on the City Council but to bring my passion and experience for our region to this county commissioner special election. If elected, you can expect the same dedication, active engagement and representation on the board. If I can count on your vote, I will make your vote count. Please vote for me Jan. 14.

Jim Stauber is a candidate to represent eastern Duluth's District 2 on the St. Louis County Board in replacement of Commissioner Steve O'Neil, who died of cancer last summer.

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