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Who should replace Roger Reinert? Readers weigh in

We first raised the question two weeks ago: With Roger Reinert's election to the Minnesota Legislature, who'll take his at-large seat on the Duluth City Council?...

We first raised the question two weeks ago: With Roger Reinert's election to the Minnesota Legislature, who'll take his at-large seat on the Duluth City Council?

That'll be up to voters next year.

In the interim, it's a call for the other eight city councilors.

To assist them in their deliberations while also encouraging certain someones in our community to step forward, the News Tribune editorial board brainstormed and suggested a few names: U.S. Department of Commerce retiree Jack Arnold, businessman and community advocate Charlie Bell, Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development veteran Becky Hall, neighborhood activist Allan Kehr, longtime St. Louis County Board member Bill Kron and Heather Rand, an economic developer for the state.

Then we opened it up to you, the readers, asking, "Who would you like to see step forward?"

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Dozens of you responded, filling our inboxes and mailboxes with notes and with filled-out and mailed-back forms from the Nov. 9 Northland Forum cover. Readers endorsed a few of the candidates we had come up with, but they thought of a few of their own names, too.

The most-suggested Duluthian? Would you believe Robert Wagner, a music promoter who described himself as a "computer nerd" last fall while vying to be Duluth mayor?In the primary election in September, he finished 11thof the 12 candidates. With67 votes, he beat only Todd Gremmels -- who had dropped out of the race,but not soon enough to have his name removed from the ballot.

Regardless, Wagner, who said improving Duluth's entertainment scene would be his top priority in office, led the way this time around.

"He lacked votes only because he spent nothing on his campaign," Jennifer Roner argued in her recommendation for Wagner.

Hmm. Perhaps.

Here is a roundup of what other readers had to say about Wagner, the choice of 30 percent of our 61 respondents -- and also what they had to say about the others: Bell; Kron; Hall; Arnold; Rand; Kehr; Environmental Protection Agency staff member Deb Taylor; Beth Olson, a longtime advocate, including for sexual assault victims; former city councilor and holiday lighting master Marcia Hales; Brandon Clokey, a residential designer, animator, outreach coordinator and parenting advocate; and community volunteer (for the Damiano Center and Longview Garden Society, for which she organizes the annual National Night Out gatherings) and past president of the Duluth Area Hockey Association, Anita Stech.

This sampling of comments is presented in no particular order and is intended to continue the critical community -- and council -- conversation.

Allan Kehr is a longtime citizen of Duluth with ancestors rooted in Duluth.

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Betty L. Monson

Duluth

Heather Rand is the best-qualified to fill the seat on the City Council. We need another woman to stand up to the good ol' boys. She will work with the mayor for the great city of Duluth.

Bob Gressman

Duluth

I suggest Jack Arnold because he had an interest in the job since he ran before. He offers valuable economic development experience at a level beyond the city of Duluth. He has connections and new ideas the council hasn't had before.

Charlene Harms

Duluth

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Deb Taylor is highly experienced with local people and systems, including government. She's very ethical and balanced in decision processing. And she can face stress and conflict calmly and fairly.

Peter Krause

Duluth

I listened to Heather Rand speak at Woodland Junior High School once and found her to be very well-qualified for the job. She's an articulate speaker and gets the job done.

Mary L. Boisjoli

Duluth

Robert Wagner would make a great councilor because he lives in Duluth and has new, fresh ideas to improve our city. Just give him a chance to be heard.

Frank E. Miller

Duluth

I believe Robert Wagner possesses what it takes to improve our city and inspire the change our community needs.

Anthony Ledo

Duluth

A growing city, Duluth needs a progressive voice like that of Robert Wagner to speak for the vast unspoken. Without our voice, there can be no growth; without growth there is no harvest.

Brent Ettestad

Duluth

Becky Hall is a proven, trusted servant of the Northland, and she would like the position.

Bill Johnson

Duluth

Because of her background in economic development and in being a team player, Becky Hall is my suggestion. Also, she was third in the last election for the councilor at-large position.

Tom H. Wright

Duluth

Becky Hall, because she's smart, honest and hard-working. She will get the job done.

Bill Lord

Duluth

Becky Hall was runner-up during the previous election, and she's not held to any special-interest groups.

Wally Avello

Duluth

Becky Hall is a hard worker and has the background in economic development the city needs today.

Suzanne Wessa-Avello

Duluth

Becky Hall is a hard-working woman who wears lots of hats with great balance and commitment. She would be a fantastic voice for this community who would stand up for Duluth families and businesses.

Nate and Alicia Thoreson

Duluth

Bill Kron is an honest man and knows the needs for our area. He has experience in economic development.

Earlene Martin

Duluth

Bill Kron is an excellent man of integrity and someone we can trust. He has lots of experience and interest in a railroad between Duluth and Minneapolis.

Ruth and Jim Norman

Duluth

Bill Kron has experience, proven leadership and he's a city homeowner. He's a devoted family and religious man and has a history of serving the community.

Willard A. Carlson

Duluth

Bill Kron has played a big part in working for Duluth, and he knows the problems.

Marcia Larrivy

Duluth

Bill Kron cares for people and wants to meet their needs. Simply put: He loves his neighbor as himself. Bill puts feet to love, whereas action speaks louder than words.

Sandra Blaise

Duluth

Certainly qualified for the job, Bill Kron is too good a man to be allowed to fade into the sunset.

Gerald and June Kirby

Duluth

Bill Kron is a very honest, trustworthy person who works hard for his people.

Marilyn Fawcett

Duluth

I feel Charlie Bell is very capable of doing a good job. He's kind and caring and is a good listener.

Doris Ceryes

Duluth

Charlie Bell, because he is a well-known business person.

Robert Marshall

Duluth

An excellent choice would be Charlie Bell because he is wise and we wouldn't be laying off workers and closing City Hall if he had been elected mayor in 2007.

Sandi Ralph-Hendrickson

Duluth

His common sense and business experience make Charlie Bell the qualified choice.

Wayne and Audrey Johanson

Duluth

The News Tribune's Nov. 9 editorial said of Charlie Bell: "Amazingly, he has never held elected office. Perhaps his time has come." I, for one, feel perhaps he has found his niche where he will finally be able to prove his abilities to show our community that he has the foresight and leadership.

Louraine Duncan

Duluth

What is the measure? I would say Charlie Bell is.

Mary A. Hollatz

Duluth

I suggest Charlie Bell. I think he would make a good councilman.

Stig Antonson

Duluth

I voted for Charlie Bell when he ran for mayor and suggest him for City Council. Charlie has an excellent record to pursue a better city and jobs and to solve problems, etc.

Betty Sieger

Duluth

Charlie Bell has done a lot for our community, and he deserves to be considered as one who will have some sound judgment on financial issues.

Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Holmes

Duluth

Charlie Bell has a lot of know-how and more. He will help a lot.

Mary E. Petersen

Duluth

Charlie Bell. Being a business owner and knowing about the city's finances can be an asset to our City Council.

Donald Cich

Duluth

We need someone like Robert Wagner to stand up for the community. With the changing times, we need a fresh view politically and I believe Robert is just that.

Samantha Johnson

Duluth

Robert Wagner's local political views stood out more than other candidates during last year's mayoral race. He lacked votes only because he spent nothing on his campaign.

Jennifer Roner

Duluth

Robert Wagner's political intellect and wit would make a great addition to the City Council.

Sandra Bushell

Duluth

Robert Wagner -- because I know him.

Robert M. White

Duluth

Robert Wagner's ability to organize is unquestionable. He is respectable and charismatic. I think he would make a great addition to local government.

Casey Olson

Duluth

Considering this past presidential election, during which America voted for a multiracial president, I feel it would be very progressive for Duluth to have an Asian-American as a representative in its local government. I suggest Robert Wagner.

Brian Beltramo

Duluth

I suggest Robert Wagner because he wants to get things done.

Jana Anderson

Duluth

Robert Wagner may be somewhat controversial, but his collaborative skills are intriguing. His views on city government also are on point.

Cris Olson

Duluth

Simply put, Robert Wagner is new blood. New ideas tend to act like letting in fresh air -- to obliterate a precious few of the many cobwebs infesting our local government.

Isaac Pettis

Duluth

Robert Wagner is a bright, young progressive who has a clear vision for the future of Duluth. This city has been woefully mismanaged in recent years, and we need a change.

Simon Nelson

Duluth

Robert Wagner is the most qualified. He would be a politician with integrity. He's an up-and-comer to watch for.

Travis Brown

Duluth

Robert Wagner is a strong, driven friend who has the brains to lead.

Nicholas Houle

Duluth

I would suggest Bill Kron as a replacement for Roger Reinert on the City Council. He will be available at the right time and he has lots of experience in government. He has proven leadership abilities, and he is just an all-around nice guy.

Sue Connor

Duluth

I would suggest Marcia Hales, a former city councilor familiar with the budget, the Duluth Economic Development Authority, process, departments, the city charter and more.

Jeanne C. Koneczny

Duluth

I would like to suggest Bill Kron, who lost his county commissioner post in our recent election. Bill is a man of the highest ethics. He was in no way involved in the sexual harassment mess that occurred while he was in office. Just being in office with people who were involved -- guilt by association -- probably cost him in the recent election.

Bill has a depth and breadth of thinking that would be invaluable during these difficult times for Duluth. Please add Bill Kron to the list of possible candidates to fill Roger Reinert's term.

Cynthia Claus

Duluth

I would love to see Becky Hall taking the open City Council seat. I think that she is very qualified and dedicated. She also represents new blood in Duluth.

Marie-Laure McKee

Duluth

My vote goes to Charlie Bell, a good and decent man who is willing to work hard for the city he loves. We need more people of his caliber.

Phillip H. Coffman

Duluth

My pick for the City Council seat would be Jack Arnold. He is a longtime Duluth resident and a respected business owner.

Charlotte Mahai

Duluth

I wanted to add a couple names of people who I hope are interested in the Roger Reinert seat: Beth Olson and Deb Taylor, a community leader and an Environment Protection Agency staff member.

I was disappointed the Nov. 9 article was very limited with potential women candidates. While I respected the two who were listed -- Becky Hall and Heather Rand -- I think they have tried a number of times to get elected, and the voters in Duluth do not seem to be supporting them. Some new people are needed.

That's my two cents.

Rosie Loeffler-Kemp

Duluth

 

I'd like to suggest the name of Debra Taylor as a candidate for the open seat on the Duluth City Council. An environmental researcher, Taylor would bring a special expertise to council deliberations that may have been missing over the last decade. This is particularly important when we consider the number of council projects impacting the city environment, ranging from Park Point to Bayfront and the Lakewalk.

Taylor would represent middle-income people, and she understands the problems facing people from a wide range of backgrounds. She also has extensive experience in political activity and understands those processes.

She is an elected member of the South St. Louis County Soil and Water Conservation Board and, as a result, has a working understanding of government operations and how to operate with limited resources and budgets.

I think Debra Taylor should be given very serious consideration for the opening on the Duluth City Council.

Bill Cortes

Duluth

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