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Candidate's View: Progressive change needed to improve our lives, our city

I want to be your 4th District Duluth city councilor because I believe our district needs a stronger voice representing all of us. My wife Jodi and I have lived in the 4th District since 2005. Our home in Duluth Heights is the only home our three...

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Tom Furman is a candidate for the Duluth City Council in the 4th District.

I want to be your 4th District Duluth city councilor because I believe our district needs a stronger voice representing all of us.

My wife Jodi and I have lived in the 4th District since 2005. Our home in Duluth Heights is the only home our three daughters have known.

I am a college graduate with a masters degree in business administration. I understand budgets and revenue streams. I’ve worked with entrepreneurs, sat on nonprofit finance committees, and advocated for students with disabilities in Individualized Education Program and 504 Plan meetings.

My family and I know the challenges faced in our district because we live them, too. We drive the same (pothole-filled) roads. We pay taxes into a system where we expect an equitable return. And we know the burden of not having money to save for a rainy day.

While working hard for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, I was inspired to change my focus to more local issues. There are changes we can make in our own backyards that will improve our lives and the lives of our neighbors in Duluth.

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Over 20 percent of Duluthians are struggling in poverty. Some of them have given up hope and have turned to drugs and crime. Wouldn’t it be more just and civil for our society to invest in ounces of prevention versus the pounds of cure for incarceration?

If the City Council has not already fully implemented a strong earned sick and safe time ordinance, I will work with my fellow councilors to have one that eases the burden that 46 percent of our workforce faces each day.

Duluth can be a leader in renewable-resource and energy jobs. Much of our workforce is intelligent and has a wonderful work ethic. We have great educational institutions to provide knowledge and skills to compete globally, which will provide workers good living wages and help build our tax base. Using more renewable energy in Duluth will keep more money here for reinvestment.

Clean drinking water is essential, and protecting our water supply is the job of every Duluth city councilor. Duluth should ask the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to conduct an evidentiary hearing before PolyMet is granted a permit to mine. It would bring both sides of the issue to a panel of impartial judges who would listen and weigh the environmental risks versus the economic benefits. Both sides would be on the record and have cross examination. I am disappointed the incumbent in my race voted against this last September.

If you’re looking for a 4th District Duluth city councilor who will listen to you, fight for you, and be a proactive and strong voice for you, you’ve found him. I will be that councilor.

Tom Furman is a candidate for the Duluth City Council in the 4th District.

About this race

Duluth City Councilor Howie Hanson faces two challengers in this fall’s election, forcing a primary vote on Sept. 12. The top two vote-getters in District 4 will advance to Election Day on Nov. 7.  District 4 includes Lincoln Park, Duluth Heights, and Piedmont Heights.

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The three candidates were invited by the News Tribune Opinion page to submit commentaries about their qualifications and why they should receive the support of voters. Hanson declined the invitation.

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