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Our view: Diverse views join DNT editorial board

With an eye on elections this fall that promise to be transformative for Duluth, our local political landscape and the face of our leadership, the News Tribune is ready to reload its editorial board.

Becky Hall
Becky Hall

With an eye on elections this fall that promise to be transformative for Duluth, our local political landscape and the face of our leadership, the News Tribune is ready to reload its editorial board.
A trio of well-known Duluth-area residents with widely diverse viewpoints will join Publisher Neal Ronquist and Editorial Page Editor Chuck Frederick as citizen representatives on the board. They’ll be the ones who’ll screen the candidates, whether in interviews or public forums, and decide the newspaper’s endorsements as well as the opinions the paper offers on a daily basis.
Retiring hotelier and DFL traditionalist John Goldfine, hockey mom and Tea Party activist Becky Hall and retired St. Louis County Deputy Auditor Paul Tynjala begin their terms of service July 1. They’ll serve through the end of the year.
The News Tribune introduces new editorial board members as part of a commitment to transparency and full disclosure. The newspaper feels readers have a right to know from where editorial opinions come. The newspaper’s “Our View” editorials, published most days on the Opinion page, are the stands of the newspaper as determined by its editorial board.   
Goldfine plans to retire July 6 when the deal is expected to close to sell Duluth-based ZMC Hotels. Goldfine is a co-owner and vice chairman of the board for the 28-hotel chain.
A resident of Pike Lake just outside Duluth, Goldfine has been outspoken in support of gay marriage and in opposition to racism. He has served as a leader of his DFL caucus.
“I’ve been vocal most of my life if not all of my life (and) I think that on the (editorial) board, the liberal side, the moderate and liberal side, has not been spoken for sometimes,” he said. “I’m an old-school DFLer. That’s how I perceive myself. (When first created, the DFL) stood for three things: educate our children, food on the table and a longer life. I don’t believe the issues have ever changed.”
Hall, of eastern Duluth, has run for public office five times, most recently unsuccessfully last fall for the Minnesota House. Since then, though, “I have taken a huge step back from political activism, mainly to catch my breath and, more importantly, to enjoy my family more. I have decided that those days of organizing rallies (and) events and running for office must come to a close,” said Hall, who identifies herself politically as “a constitutional, Tea Party, conservative-leaning libertarian.”
“I know I cannot completely erase my passion for being involved in matters that affect my home, community and country, and find this opportunity with the editorial board to be an exciting way to stay engaged in such an important part of our life,” she said. “I’m eager to add my voice to the conversation.”
Tynjala, also of Duluth, retired in 2010 as deputy auditor for St. Louis County. He was clerk of the County Board and the county’s director of elections. With a mayoral race, six City Council races, and three School Board races - but no County Board contests - this election is a perfect time for Tynjala to join the board free of conflicts, he said.
“It’s a really interesting city election coming up. There’s a lot to think about,” said Tynjala, who has a degree in political science and was one class shy of a degree in journalism. “In the past, newspaper endorsements were huge. Newspapers can help shape the debate. I’m eager to be part of that.”
Citizen representative and employee representative positions on the News Tribune editorial board rotate regularly, typically every few months. With the additions of Goldfine, Hall and Tynjala, the terms of employee representative Tina Gajda and citizen representative Fred Friedman come to a close. The News Tribune can’t thank them enough for their devoted, thoughtful and involved service.

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