County Board, District 3 / Candidate's View: Choose experience in supporting families, workers
I grew up in Barnum helping take care of younger family members. This led me to work with families and students for the last 13 years and to serve on Duluth’s Human Rights Commission for almost seven. Keeping families safe, whole, and able to thrive is a value I live by. It is also one of the most critical and central roles of the county. Effectively managing the county programs that support our families and workers is more critical than ever, and we need leaders with the skill set and passion to do it right.
I bring management and budget experience, dedication to our families and neighborhoods, and a history of building employment opportunities that move the needle in the right direction for us in the west side of Duluth and beyond, even during economic hard times.
My experience managing the types of programs and budgets the county oversees will help get needs met without overburdening taxpayers. Working directly with families, I’ve seen many of the gaps we have in housing, employment opportunities, child care, and mental health resources across our city. I’ve also seen the importance of making proactive investments that pay off long-term.
With the advocacy of our current Commissioner Beth Olson, the county has made positive steps in keeping families together and saving the county money through reducing the need for foster placements. It has also implemented restorative measures that keep youth out of the penitentiary system and engaged in their communities. With Commissioner Olson leaving office, we risk losing invaluable experience running social services on the board. I will bring the experience needed to keep making progress and run services in a way that positively impacts both families and our bottom line.
I will be a fierce advocate for the west side of Duluth and will work with you and for you to build more opportunities. As chair of Duluth’s Human Rights Commission, I pushed city government to have authentic community input, not just community events, at every stage of decision-making processes. Whether it’s about maintaining our roads or streamlining county processes, you deserve your voice to be heard, and I will never forget that.
Parts of our neighborhoods have lacked investment and attention. I have built and managed an employment program for young people in Duluth that tackles community problems, and I genuinely enjoy strengthening our communities. I’ll put in the work, listening and visioning alongside you to build together.
I am proud to have the support of current Commissioner Beth Olson; our county workers organized by AFSCME Council 5, who are on the front lines of our public health and community responses; and the DFL. The county has difficult work ahead with much at stake. I ask for your vote on Aug. 11 and partnership in the work ahead of us.
Ashley Grimm is one of three candidates in the Aug. 11 primary to represent western-Duluth’s District 3 on the St. Louis County Board. Two will advance to the Nov. 3 general election. The candidates were invited by the News Tribune Opinion page to write these commentaries.