Candidate Column: Lifetime of connections translates to successes

Duluth City Council District 5 candidate Jeanne Koneczny, right, answers a question during a candidate forum Sept. 24 sponsored by the Duluth News Tribune and the Duluth Chamber of Commerce at the Duluth Playhouse Family Theater at the Depot in Duluth. Candidate Janet Kennedy listens. (Clint Austin /

As a candidate for Duluth City Council in the 5th District, I’d like to share my reasons for running and my vision for the future of my district and Duluth.

As a lifelong community activist, supporter, booster, and advocate for West Duluth, I have a lifetime of experience and community connections to call upon to advance not only the interests of the 5th District but Duluth as a whole.

My experience in serving my community includes on the Duluth Planning Commission, the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District Board, West Duluth Business Club Board (including two terms as president), the Irving Recreation and Events Association, the Spirit Valley Citizens Neighborhood Development Association (founding member and interim director), the city of Duluth Board of Zoning Appeals, and dozens of other committees and citizen groups. I was also a neighborhood representative to the St. Louis River Interlake/Duluth Tar Site Superfund.

We face challenges in housing and need to be innovative to create options for people relocating to Duluth and residents who want to buy their first homes. Affordable housing means working with developers to build homes at price points that enable greater homeownership while expanding our tax base. An expanded tax base will offset necessary incentives to enhance our housing stock.

Our police officers, firefighters, and first responders face enormous challenges dealing with the epidemic of opioid use. We need to keep these dedicated public servants safe while they deal with the myriad issues created by this crisis. To do that we need to ensure we keep these professionals here rather than losing them to other communities after their training. We need to encourage communications among youth-services programs and community policing. We need stronger neighborhood connections and enhanced police presence.


I support street repair. We need to safeguard the funds dedicated to street repair so that 100% of the dollars go for their intended use and are never diverted for other purposes. Duluth is a city with serious infrastructure issues that won’t be solved entirely by this new revenue stream. We need to be diligent in a maintenance and operations schedule for any new projects; we can’t afford to defer maintenance until it’s a dire situation.

Western Duluth has a wealth of opportunity for economic development, with manufacturing zones, industrial zones, undeveloped riverfront, and sites for housing opportunities. I’ve worked tirelessly with other community activists, developers, and organizations to bring businesses to and keep businesses in West Duluth over many years. I intend to bring this same work ethic and collaborative approach to the council.

We have many challenges as a community, and we have great strengths. I believe that working together to identify common goals and solutions to problems is the best and most effective approach. I’m excited to serve my community in a new capacity, and I look forward to working on behalf of the citizens of the 5th District.

Jeanne Koneczny is a candidate to represent western Duluth’s District 5 on the Duluth City Council. She wrote this at the request of the News Tribune Opinion page. Election Day is Nov. 5.

Jeanne Koneczny.jpg
Jeanne Koneczny

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