Our View: Filing period now open, Duluth in need of quality candidates

From the editorial: "Running, especially for local office, is a pledge to do what you can for the place you call home."

John Cole / Cagle Cartoons.

Desperately needed: good, strong candidates with excellent skills, willing to give back to their community. We're talking true leaders, men and women of intellect and passion and common sense and men and women brave enough to stick their necks out there, to take their turns as public servants, to share their skills and knowledge and pride in where they live.

The good of the community, and our shared future, depends on our best representatives stepping up in the name of public service.

In Duluth right now, candidates are needed to run for mayor and open seats on both the City Council and School Board, those local offices that have the biggest impacts on our lives, where we live, and whether we thrive.

A two-week candidate-filing period opened Tuesday. The deadline for filing is May 30.

“Don’t let anyone else tell you whether you’re a ‘viable’ candidate or not,” former state Sen. Roger Reinert said in a statement Tuesday announcing he had filed to run for mayor. “If you feel a call to run — jump in! We need to encourage more participation in this community discussion and in public service. That’s good for democracy and good for Duluth.”


Incumbent Mayor Emily Larson was also among those who filed on the first day.

“Now that we are filed, the real fun begins,” Larson said in a statement from her campaign.

Whether fun or not, the first date local candidates will be keeping in mind is June 23, when early voting in-person or by mail begins for the Aug. 8 primary. The general election is Nov. 7. Early voting for the general election begins on Sept. 22.

In addition to mayor, two at-large City Council seats, representing all of Duluth, are on the ballot. There are also City Council races in Districts 1 (in northern and far-eastern Duluth), 3 (central Duluth, including East Hillside, downtown, and Park Point), 4 (near-western Duluth, including the Lincoln Park, Piedmont Heights, and Duluth Heights neighborhoods), and 5 (covering much of western Duluth, from about Denfeld to the Fond du Lac neighborhood). City Council candidates can file with the city clerk on the third floor of City Hall and must either pay a $20 filing fee or present a petition.

Additionally, there are three Duluth School Board races this year: one at-large, representing the entire district; one to represent the city's easterly neighborhoods of District 2, including Woodland; and the third to represent central Duluth's District 3. School Board candidates can file at school district offices at 4316 Rice Lake Road, Suite 108. The filing fee is $2 or a petition in lieu of the fee.

Quality candidates are needed in these local races, just as they are in every election. Is the incumbent still the best choice? Voters can be left to decide, but first voters need options. The all-important opportunity to pick is denied when quality people remain on the sidelines or in the background.

No candidate or incumbent should run unopposed, either. Challengers with credentials and skill sets, even if they fall short, force airings during campaigns of the philosophies and strategies that can successfully address our community's most-pressing needs. Without legitimate competition, voters are denied the information they deserve before casting their ballots.

If you have the credentials and the willingness to give back, your community needs you — now as much as ever. The clock is ticking to put your name in and get involved. Not for any special interest or political party and not for fame or fortune. Rather, running, especially for local office, is a pledge to do what you can for the place you call home. It's a way to ensure our shared future.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an updated version of an editorial published May 6.

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