I’m running for Duluth City Council to make our city and government open and accessible to all, including those who live in Duluth currently or are looking to start a future in Duluth in years to come. By focusing on accessibility, sustainability, and empowerment throughout our city, we can work together to improve the lives of all Duluthians.

I love Duluth. Whether it’s our lake, our people, getting bridged on a beautiful summer day, or the great recreational and outdoor opportunities our city offers year-round, Duluth is one unique city and one that I have loved for my entire life. I’m a proud lifelong Duluthian. This city is different and special for its hyper-engaged community that is so connected that you can’t go to the store, visit the Park Point beach, or hike in the middle of the woods and not run into someone you know.

We’ve come together as one community in the past to gather, organize, protest, take action, and vote. In this tumultuous point in our nation's political history, this campaign is about continuing to come together as one community and move Duluth forward.

I first got my start being active and organizing within our community with my dad’s union, first with the postal workers and then with the letter carriers, fighting to keep our local post offices open and save six-day mail delivery. Throughout that experience, I met and talked with local legislators, rallied with organizers and union members, and first became active with unions.

After getting my start organizing with the letter carriers, I worked on a senate campaign and then many other political campaigns, ranging from City Council to president of the United States. As a community organizer, I helped put on events around Duluth and have been a member and leader with organizations such as Duluth for Education, the Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights Coalition, and Duluth Tennis.

As a graduate of the Duluth public schools and a current student in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics at the University of Minnesota Duluth, I look forward to continuing to build bridges between local schools/college campuses and the community. Providing pathways for students to become involved locally and find careers in our area post-graduation is vital to the success of our city.

More than anything, throughout the work I've done, I have learned the immense value that a single conversation can have to help strengthen our community, to build dialogue across the board, and to grow and increase knowledge about issues that impact all of us. So that is why this campaign is about ushering in the next generation of leaders from all across Duluth.

I am part of a generation that is fighting for our future, a future powered by renewable energy, a future of equity and justice for all, a future where safe and affordable housing is guaranteed as a human right, and a future where students have the ability to access education at every level.

Our city is ready for community-focused leadership, pro-worker leadership, and for leaders who will continue to move this city forward into the future. We need to ensure that all voices are heard, not just listened to, and that everyone has a seat at the table or that the table is brought to them.

Mike Mayou is one of seven candidates, including two incumbents, for two At Large seats on the Duluth City Council. They all were invited by the News Tribune Opinion page to submit columns. The primary is Aug. 13. The top four vote-getters will advance to Election Day on Nov. 5.