As a fourth-generation Duluthian, my roots in and appreciation for Duluth run deep. Like my family before me, I’ve chosen to live, work, and raise my family in this great city. Duluth provides a lot to be proud of.
However, we have many areas upon which we can improve. Public safety, infrastructure, good-paying jobs, housing, and economic development all need our undivided attention. I know the challenges we are facing today, and I want to be a part of moving Duluth city government back to serving its citizens in a way that is most economically sustainable and efficient.
With 450 miles of roads in Duluth, addressing our aging infrastructure should be one of the council’s top priorities. From roads to water and sewer, our taxpayers’ dollars need to be prioritized to maintain and repair these systems, giving residents peace of mind.
We must also equip and financially support our public safety departments. Our police department has worked tirelessly in its community-policing efforts over the past several decades and has kept our community safe. With rising calls-for-service, increasing retirements, and low application numbers, the department is in desperate need of our help. Getting officers paid on par with municipalities of similar population is imperative for recruitment and retention. Our fire department is also in need of financial support for hiring, training, and repairs — and for the maintenance of fire stations. Both departments have served us well; we must now support them.
Finally, Duluth should be a place that attracts new businesses and fosters an environment for existing businesses to thrive and expand. A strong economy will help to ensure long-term financial sustainability for our city. There has been much discussion about improving the availability of adequate housing for all in Duluth. Having a sound economic development plan should coincide with a plan to increase the availability of housing. If we wish to expand our workforce, we must have adequate housing to meet workers’ needs.
I am grateful for the support from so many in our community and the endorsements from the Duluth Police Union Local 807, the Duluth Building and Construction Trades Council, the Minnesota Nurses Association, IronWorkers Local 512, Plumbers & Pipefitters UA Local 11, Insulators Local 49, Teamsters Joint Council 32, and Carpenters Local 361. I look forward to working with these groups, and so many other individuals and organizations throughout our community, to gain the knowledge necessary for making decisions that move Duluth in a direction that is beneficial for all.
Let’s not let today’s challenges keep us from thinking big. Duluth is a leader in health care, education, aviation, tourism, shipping, industry, and more. Let’s build on all these advantages as we look to the future.
Working to make Duluth a safe and prosperous city that can serve all citizens is why I’m running for Duluth City Council At Large. I’ve always been proud to say I’m a Duluthian, and I will work to make that true for all our citizens and for the generations to come.
Joe Macor is a candidate running for one of two open At Large seats on the Duluth City Council. He wrote this at the invitation of the News Tribune Opinion page. Election Day is Nov. 2.