Larson announces she’ll run for mayor

Larson for Duluth Mayor

City Council President Emily Larson has announced she will run to replace Duluth Mayor Don Ness, who has said he will not seek a third term.

“I’m running for mayor because the next chapter for Duluth is critical,” Larson wrote on her Facebook page. “I’m running because our community’s continued progress will require new ideas, and because I want to ensure we write Duluth’s next chapter together.”

Larson was elected to an at-large seat on the council in Fall 2011. Her term is scheduled to end Jan. 4, 2016. Fellow councilor Howie Hanson has also stated he will run for mayor. Others who have said they are considering running include Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon and State Senator Roger Reinert. The official filing period for Duluth public offices opens July 7 and closes July 21. In addition to the mayor’s office, five city council positions will be on the ballot in 2015.

Below is Larson’s full statement on Facebook:

Today I am announcing my campaign for mayor of Duluth. I will share my announcement with our local media at the corner of Fifth Avenue West and Superior Street. It’s the same spot that I announced my campaign for City Council almost four years ago, and it’s a corner that helps tell the story of why I’m running for Mayor.

On one side of the intersection is the Duluth Public Library’s main branch, a building that brings together children and seniors, students and job seekers, all of us together within a space to learn, to work, and to create community. But it’s also a public building that faces challenges that will require new creative ideas and confident leadership. On the opposite side of the intersection is the beginning of the new Maurices tower that will help push economic revitalization of Superior Street and our entire downtown. As a member of the Duluth Economic Development Authority and as the City Council liaison to the libraries I’ve had the opportunity to help shape both of these projects, and as a representative of our entire community I know they are just part of Duluth’s narrative. Throughout our city there are intersections, businesses, parks, homes, and of course citizens that have a story to tell.

I’m running for mayor because the next chapter for Duluth is critical. I’m running because our community’s continued progress will require new ideas, and because I want to ensure we write Duluth’s next chapter together.

A vibrant and thriving Duluth will require opportunity for all community members to develop their talent and share their story. It will require leadership that can bring together stakeholders and build strategically on our strengths. I’m grateful for so many people who have supported me already and helped me arrive at this decision with confidence. I am 100% committed to this campaign and am eager to begin to the work of becoming Duluth’s next Mayor. I hope you’ll join me as we write Duluth’s Next Chapter. Together.



about 10 years ago

This is good news.


about 10 years ago

I agree. Go Emily.


about 10 years ago

Agreed.  I like Howie Hanson as a person, but I don't think he's the best person to be mayor.  He's just not a politician. And Yvonne Prettner-Solon, whose name has been bandied about, represents to me the Duluth that was when I moved here in '94, not the Duluth that this city has become in recent years. I think Emily has, since she was unexpectedly thrust into the presidency of the city council after Linda Krug's melt-down, shown us all that she has what it takes to be a viable candidate who can build on Mayor Ness's legacy and move to Duluth on to the next level of greatness.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

It should probably be noted that it wasn't long ago when Duluth government was an utter sausage party. In early 2003 the mayor and all nine city councilors were male. Laurie Johnson broke that up when she was elected District 1 City Councilor (serving from 2004 to 2008).

Duluth has never had a female mayor, and if you want to trip up local know-it-alls with a brutal trivia question, ask them to name more than one female who has run for the position.

The only ones I could remember were Meg Bye, who pulled just shy of 10 percent of the vote in a crowded primary in 2007, and Shirley Swain, who gave John Fedo a run for his money in 1983.

Looking at recent election results, however, reminds me that Joanne Fay ran twice -- in 2003 and 2007 -- but didn't have much support.

Can anyone else remember past female candidates for mayor? There must be a good one I'm forgetting.

Apologies for the minor digression.


about 10 years ago

Currently, the mayor and all nine city councilors earn in excess of Duluth's median income. It's a money-fest.


about 10 years ago

I really don't think the mayor and Duluth City Council is a "money fest," John, that is ridiculous. I won't name names, but I am fairly confident that several of the city councilors make pretty close to the Duluth per capita income (as of 2013, the latest numbers available)  of $25,425.  Some might even make less. But most of these people's salaries are not public knowledge, so how would you even know what people make?  I think that there should be more representation on the City Council from the western part of the city (there are only 2 councilors who live west of Point of the Rocks, which is ridiculous), but I disagree that the Council is stacked with rich people who don't understand what it's like for the average Duluthian.


about 10 years ago

Once you subtract their $14,000 (or thereabouts) council stipend from the total, you're left with $11, 425. I'm sure all the councilors make that; certainly the professors and lawyers and landlords and salaried city employees among them do. If any councilor makes less than that, they can let me know and I'll be happy to note the exception.

It's a money-fest. Just watch how easily they spend $30 million for a new library.


about 10 years ago

Of course, it's not just the council. The administration is planning to put the new library to a referendum vote, so the whole electorate will be able to participate in the money-fest eventually.  Who wouldn't vote yes for a brand-new $30 million library?

There you go: A little breaking news on PDD.

It's a burden, knowing so much.


about 10 years ago

Forgot about the $14,000 the councilors pull down. IMHO,  Duluth is getting their money's worth from these councilors. As far as I can tell from my ringside seat, they work their butts off for the city. John, I really think the socioeconomic status of the councilors is irrelevant. These are the people who ponied up and there's nothing preventing anyone from running for local office. If you think the City Council should be more socio-economically diverse, why don't you work on getting good people to run for office?

P.S. I think that monstrosity of a library should be torn down.  I've always hated that building. Whoever thought it was a good idea to build a library to look like an ore boat was a moron.


about 10 years ago

I get so tired of talking about debt. People nod and agree, then everything I say goes flying out the window as soon as some new, giant, dreamy project appears. I would almost be willing to forgo the referendum and build the new library without it, just so I wouldn't have to listen to the Hallelujah chorus.

Duluth: the city that never stops building, no matter what. Maintenance, however, is another story. During a recent two-hour meeting about the new library, approximately 90 seconds was spent talking about maintenance. Somebody suggested that they establish a capital maintenance endowment fund with private giving, and the conversation skipped blithely onward from there. 

Like THAT would work. Like anybody cares.


Niff Bimrod

about 10 years ago

I gotta side with Ramos here, nobody seems to give a shit about where the money comes from. 
To keep it on topic: Go Emily!


about 10 years ago

Marsha Kelly ran against John Fedo in 1987. She probably would have won had Shirley Swain not waged a late write-in campaign siphoning off some critical votes. This was one of the more heated campaigns in recent memory as Fedo was about to be indicted.

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Read previous post:
Southwire on WCCO’s list of up-and-coming Minnesota bands

Duluth band Southwire topped WCCO's list of the five "Best Up-And-Coming Minnesota Bands of 2014." The trio performs at the...