Westerlund announces City Council candidacy
Central Hillside resident Em Westerlund announced her candidacy Wednesday for the 3rd District seat on the Duluth City Council. Westerlund is the first announced candidate after Councilor Sharla Gardner declared her intention Monday to not seek a...
Central Hillside resident Em Westerlund announced her candidacy Wednesday for the 3rd District seat on the Duluth City Council.
Westerlund is the first announced candidate after Councilor Sharla Gardner declared her intention Monday to not seek a third term representing the 3rd District that includes Park Point and the city’s Hillside neighborhoods. Along with Gardner declining to seek re-election, two at-large council seats will be on the ballot in November.
Westerlund said the changing composition of the city council prompted her to throw her hat into the ring as a potential progressive voice on the council. She’s social-justice minded, values diversity and wants to ensure that everyone is kept in mind when the council makes decisions, she said.
“I love Duluth and we’ve made a lot of progress in the last decade,” she said, but there’s still work to be done.
Among her priorities, if elected, is neighborhood revitalization that includes focusing on affordable housing and quality rental properties. In addition, she wants to improve the quality of life by working to decrease unemployment and crime in the 3rd District. All of Duluth’s neighborhoods should be good places to live, work and walk through, she said. She added that investments should be made at the municipal level to help create supportive housing and good-paying jobs with benefits.
She has worked as systems coordinator and community educator at the Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault, as a sociology instructor at Vermilion Community College and as a support specialist for Minnesota Alliance With Youth, according to her website.
She served on Duluth’s Human Rights Commission from 2010-12.
A native of Superior, Westerlund has lived in Duluth since 2009 and holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She also has a master’s degree in advocacy and political leadership from the University of Minnesota Duluth, according to her website.
She volunteers for the Superior Hiking Trail Association, the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program and the Minnesota Land Trust.