Expand the commons, lower the cost of living, and raise the quality of living for all with the power of democracy.

Friends and neighbors, after consulting all sorts of people from all sorts of walks of life across Duluth and beyond, it has become abundantly clear it is time for us to use our municipal democracy to manage our local economy and increase the odds of people already in our community having a quality life.

The manner of campaign that friends wish for us to run is based on asking you what would improve your life and make civic participation in the democratic governing of your community, your economy, and your public spaces doable.

Across the world and the U.S., folks are using their municipal governments to accomplish a variety of life-improving city ordinances and community investments, such as: raising the minimum wage; enacting rent control; taxing the rich; investing in increasing the commons by finding ways to fund the growth of parks, gathering places, and public housing; and decriminalizing marijuana and other substances over investing in harm reduction.

The city government structure and the ability to use ballots make a city hall the best possible place for us to use our democracy to address alleviating poverty and climate change and making housing better.

If the folks at Duluth City Hall and in the mayor’s office are not talking about raising wages, lowering the standard of a 40-hour work week to help people have the time and space to participate in our local democracy and know how it works, lowering rent, and so on, well, I don’t think they are doing their job the best it can be done.

If the folks at City Hall are not comfortable using their positions to improve the economy for all in our region and to challenge dangerous neighbors such as Husky or those which profit from human-rights abuses and child concentration camps, they aren’t doing all they can. In fact, they are occupying space that could be used to better help our community.

Let’s work together to assertively use our democracy to improve the quality of life for everyone here and to challenge any of our rich and influential neighbors’ profits from hurting and robbing people.

All of our respective campaigns for offices in Duluth could be centered around asking people what would improve their lives and would allow them to be civically engaged. Our campaign for mayor is more about asking people what they need and helping folks petition for ballot initiatives guaranteed to improve their lives and to give them a shot at voting to make their lives better. That’s important, whether or not my campaign makes it very far.

Let’s work together to expand the commons, lower the cost of living, and raise the quality of life for all of us here in Duluth. Together we can do it whether or not I win. Let’s do this.

Jesse Peterson is one of eight challengers and an incumbent in the election for Duluth mayor. The candidates and incumbent were invited by the News Tribune Opinion page to submit columns. The primary is Aug. 13. The top two vote-getters will advance to Election Day on Nov. 5.