It is time for change at City Hall. It is time to focus on addressing our basic needs while growing our population and our tax base. We must ensure that Duluth remains the best place to live, work, and play for all who call Duluth home.
The status quo is not growing Duluth.
Well-planned and collaborative programs, with solid infrastructure, delivered by the best leaders and supported by great city staff will attract and retain the citizens, businesses, and tourists necessary to grow Duluth.
I am a life-long student of leadership. I am willing and able to get my hands dirty and lead by example. My record as the executive director of our local council of the Boy Scouts of America speaks to my no-nonsense, let’s-grow-this-place approach.
I chose Duluth as the place to raise my young family over moving to a different market with the Boy Scouts. That choice meant recognizing that sooner rather than later fresh leadership for the local Boy Scouts would be necessary to lead the organization into its next chapter of growth and that I, too, would have the opportunity to turn the page to my next chapter.
At nearly every campaign visit over the past months, you have shared a similar sentiment with me: It is time for change at City Hall.
This spring, while preparing my grandmother’s eulogy, I was reminded of advice from her and others: “If you are waiting for reinforcements, they ain’t coming.” Knowing that anyone can exercise leadership at any time and with the support of family and friends, I made the bold choice to begin my next chapter by offering my leadership training, skills, experience, and record to Duluth by running for mayor.
On Saturday night, Sept. 21, I witnessed the leadership of our public-safety professionals during a ride-along with a newer-to-the-force Duluth police officer. That night I learned that although there may be data suggesting opioid- and other drug-related crimes are down, Duluthians do not feel safer than they did 10 years ago. Working with our medical professionals — as well as county, state, and federal authorities — our city can take a more active part in helping everyone feel safer in Duluth, regardless of who takes the credit. When citizens, tourists, and prospective citizens feel safe, our city will grow.
It is not the city’s place to compel businesses to collect fees from consumers, such as the recently proposed single-use bag fee. City government warrants a seat at the table, but rarely will government have the answers.
If you are looking to me to be a candidate with all the answers, then I am not sure I can help. If you look for someone to convene and engage all concerned and who assigns the work to the right people, then I would appreciate your vote. When more business owners, taxpayers, and citizens consider city staff as partners, our city will grow.
Our newly dedicated sales tax for residential street repairs must be applied equitably. Overlays on streets with stable underground utilities come first. This “fresh coat of paint” will help energize us while we address long-overdue needs. With deliberate plans for refreshed infrastructure, we will grow.
I have read about our latest cohort of Duluth’s 20 Under 40, about young people sharing their concerns for the environment, and about seniors and business executives volunteering to raise funds for programs to bring increased access to mental health services to our youths. Hearing these stories about our fellow citizens gives me faith that, together, Duluth will grow.
With more than 20 years of successful business experience — including national recognition for growth, balanced budgets, and customer satisfaction — I am prepared to grow Duluth. We will adapt, implement, and refine a multi-year plan that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, relevant, and time-sensitive. We will grow Duluth.
Leadership is an activity, not a position. No one person can grow Duluth alone. Please connect with me at davenolle.com. I want to hear your thoughts about our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. I want us to move beyond partisanship. I want us to make Duluth a better place for those who follow in our footsteps.
With me as mayor, you can expect nonpartisan, practical, and back-to-basics leadership not only in City Hall but throughout our city and region.
I ask for your vote on Nov. 5.
David Nolle is a candidate for Duluth mayor. Election Day is Nov. 5. He wrote this at the request of the News Tribune Opinion page.