You’ve probably heard it a hundred times, “elections have consequences”. That was the resounding result of this week’s city council elections in Duluth.
Tuesday’s election drew only 23% of voters to the polls, 6% lower than a similar election in 2017. Leaving one to wonder, who’s speaking for you? Voters that didn’t take the time to head to the polls let a tiny percentage of Duluth’s population make a very important decision. A decision that will likely lead to the continued decline of Duluth. The candidates running to reduce taxes, bring jobs and business to Duluth, support the police, and help make our city safer, were all told to “go home”. Some by just a few votes.
Incumbent council members with rubber stamps to raise taxes and apparent disregard for families, seniors, and other middle to lower-class citizens just barely getting by, had their seats saved. Another winner in the At-Large race is a recent college grad lacking experience across the board, who ran on campaign issues that included racial and class equity, carbon emissions, and preparing for extreme weather events, along with improving public transit and making “walkable neighborhoods”.
Is this really what most Duluthian’s are concerned about?
Are Duluthians really worried about a 3’ foot snowfall or emissions from their car, when their property tax bill and fees from city services continue to increase year after year?
Duluth had an opportunity this week to help get our city back on track, and it was missed. As people, property owners, and businesses pack up to move to more friendly cities, it’s unclear if another opportunity to elect fiscally conservative, economic development, and public-safety minded-folks will happen.
Duluth’s misdirection will be a benefit for the surrounding communities. We’ve already seen this happen with two major events leaving Duluth in 2022. The Festival of Sail, which will likely include the tall ships has moved to Two Harbors, and the SME (Society of Mining Engineers) Conference that is typically held at the DECC is moving to the new Iron Trail Motors Event Center (ITMEC) in Virginia.
Big businesses are also moving out of Duluth to nearby communities, for example, SISU, a technology business that used to share a building with the Duluth Chamber moved to Hermantown.
Those who couldn’t take the time to make it to the polls decided the fate of Duluth with their apathy. Elections have consequences, especially when voters fail to do their job.