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Our view/Endorsements: Krug, Larson stand out in crowded council field

They both came to Duluth for college, one for a job, the other as a student. Then they stuck around. They forged careers. They built lives. And they did it all here because they wanted to be here.

Linda Krug
(File / Associated Press)

They both came to Duluth for college, one for a job, the other as a student. Then they stuck around. They forged careers. They built lives. And they did it all here because they wanted to be here.

Now, Linda Krug and Emily Larson are eager to give back in a new way: as public servants. On Sept. 13, voters in the primary election can pick Larson and Krug from a crowded field and send them to the Nov. 8 general election for At Large City Council. Two seats are open. For their passion, life experiences, energy and more, Krug and Larson are two candidates who jump off the ballot.

"I was the only one of my friends who didn't leave after college," said Larson, a native of St. Paul who moved to Duluth 20 years ago to attend the College of St. Scholastica. "I couldn't leave. I just loved it here.

"And I still do," she said during a candidate screening with the News Tribune editorial board. "I really, really want my kids to feel confident that if they choose Duluth like I did they'll be choosing opportunity."

As a city councilor, Larson can help make sure. She'll bring

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10 years of experience as a volunteer at the CHUM drop-in center as well as a fresh and needed perspective: She works closely with nonprofits, she owns and runs a small business, and she has school-aged children. Her consulting firm focuses on work force development and economic development, areas where the city also needs to focus.

Her husband owns and operates an architectural firm and was one of the founders of Amazing Grace Bakery.

"My goal is positive, energetic leadership (to) move Duluth forward," said Larson, who, like Krug, is endorsed by labor and by the DFL. "I find Duluth to be a community of choice. We have to set a positive tone. A councilor alone doesn't do much but can be a powerful conduit. Part of the job is having an understanding of what everyone needs. I'm really ready to listen and work with people."

Krug moved to Duluth in 1986 to work at UMD. Like Larson, she owns and operates a small business, Krug Consulting & Mediation LLC.

Her leadership roles in the community are impressive. Until recently she was dean of the University of Minnesota Duluth's College of Liberal Arts. She served as president of the University Education Association, was a catalyst with the city's Creative Communities Initiative, was a board of directors member for both Park State Bank and the St. Luke's Foundation, and, most recently, was a member of the city's Tourism Tax Task Force.

"I'm a process person, very interested in knowing how the city is working and not working," Krug said, pointing to the botched sale of city land along Skyline Parkway and the controversial Cascade Park mural project as examples of the need to improve processes. "People get blindsided and then they get mad. That can be avoided.

"It's clear we need to expand our tax base in Duluth. We need to have more jobs, industry and entrepreneurs," Krug told editorial board members. "I'm a mediator. I'm good with conflict resolution and at bringing people together.

"The city is on the right path. We're moving forward. (And) I think I'll be a great addition to the City Council," she continued. "I've been on the management side of things. I've been on the business side. I bring a breadth and a depth of background."

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And, like Larson, a love for and commitment to Duluth -- home because they want it to be.

Other candidates

Others seeking one of two open At Large Duluth City Council seats this fall include:

* Gareth Bates, a chef at Spirit Mountain who grew up at his parents' Wonderland Resort, just outside Duluth. "I want to be a councilor who actually does his research and homework first," Bates said. "I have conservative viewpoints and I have liberal viewpoints. When I'm peeling potatoes I'm going to be thinking of the issues coming up."

* Eric Edwardson, a promoter of "some weird shows," as the downtown Duluth resident described his entertainment-based livelihood. "This town needs help. Maybe a different perspective could help it. I see a lot of things in this town that happen after eight o'clock. You see a different perspective: the homeless people walking around the streets, people panhandling; you see people who need help."

* Tim Riley, who has worked as a database coordinator and one-on-one job coach. "I want to represent the people. There sure is a lot of goodness here," he said. "Public safety and utilities are the No. 1 priorities. The public playground areas and the libraries are things that can be reinstated."

* And Chad Smith, who declined to meet with News Tribune editorial board members.

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Emily Larson
(File / News Tribune)

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