Shared from the Duluth News Tribune, (link below)
“Our View/Endorsement: Reinert more than just ‘something different’ – Opinion by the News Tribune Editorial Board.
For all the good Mayor Emily Larson has done for Duluth — and make no mistake, in her two terms, there has been a lot, including 1,700 new units of housing, finally finding dedicated funds to fix streets and then dramatically upping the number of miles repaired annually, and four straight years of record private development investments — she nonetheless has seemed to have lost the backing of much of the city.
Look no further than the drubbing she took in the August primary, her 34.94% of the ballots cast far off the pace of challenger Roger Reinert’s eye-popping 63%. “It’s time for something different” apparently isn’t just Reinert’s campaign slogan this election. It was also the very clear message sent by Duluth voters.
A leader can’t effectively lead without the backing of the people. Fortunately for eligible voters in Duluth eager now to back Reinert, they can cast their ballots in the Nov. 7 election for a proven community leader with an extensive and impressive record of public service, private-business experience, public-sector knowledge, and military distinction.
He also has a well-placed, back-to-basics focus.
“It’s time that we expect more and do better with our core city services like streets, utilities, public safety, our neighborhood parks and community centers, (and) engaging our residents,” Reinert said at a candidate forum in September in Canal Park hosted by the News Tribune and Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Right now we’re sort of good, and we should be exceptional (with) our unique neighborhoods, abundant outdoor spaces, the big lake, and, of course, our people,” Reinert additionally said. “But in the last census, we grew by 400 people — 0.01% — while all other regional centers in Minnesota grew by an average of 10%. That’s not growth; it’s stagnation. We have to challenge ourselves to do better.”
Meeting such a lofty challenge can happen with a focus on five areas that Reinert said he determined are the community’s priorities while out knocking on doors and talking with Duluth residents since launching his campaign back in January 2022. Those priorities are housing (“across all income levels,” he said), growing Duluth’s commercial tax base (“how we become self-reliant”), fixing utilities and even more streets (“it starts with a … a mile-by-mile evaluation”), downtown (“a robust busy downtown Duluth, where people are safe”), and affordable property taxes (the “priority has to be focusing on our core city services”).
Reinert certainly has a record of accomplishment to suggest success in tackling those and other critical community issues — and at an important moment for Duluth.
His elected leadership started with his appointment to the Duluth City Council in 2004 to replace Herb Bergson after Bergson was elected mayor. Reinert served two years as council president before being elected to the Minnesota House. He was then elected to the Minnesota Senate where he served two terms before deciding not to run again.
While in St. Paul, Reinert’s was a consistent and strong voice for Duluth. He demonstrated expertise and took the reins in many areas, including higher education, workforce development, finance, and public safety. As co-chairman of the so-called “Purple Caucus,” an unofficial coalition of legislators promoting the worthy principle of “Minnesotans first, other labels second,” Reinert showed his ability and eagerness to work with anyone, regardless of politics or party affiliation. Voters can keep in mind that Duluth mayor is a nonpartisan post; while Reinert didn’t ultimately seek his DFL Party’s endorsement, Larson did.
In addition, Reinert is a Naval officer. He completed a combat deployment to Afghanistan in 2019 and then was deployed to Italy during COVID-19. He’s still active in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Also during the pandemic, Reinert stepped up for Duluth as interim executive director of the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, helping to stabilize the all-important landmark facility and ensure its survival during those difficult and dark days.
He’s been a leader in college classrooms, too, serving as an instructor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Lake Superior College, and the College of St. Scholastica. And he’s a lawyer who, in 2019, opened a legal and consulting firm, Reinert & Associates.
Far more than just “something different,” Reinert is the sort of community leader voters can be proud and eager to elect. He’s a candidate finally worthy of following Larson’s successes and her devotion to the city.
“City government can’t do everything, nor should it,” Reinert acknowledged at the candidate forum. “But what we should do is the basics and do them really well. Effective. Efficient. And at a tax rate we can both afford and sustain. When done well, it doesn’t even make the news; it just happens. It happens so that our residents can succeed, our businesses can grow, and our neighborhoods can thrive.”
ABOUT THIS ENDORSEMENT: This News Tribune endorsement was determined entirely and solely by the Editorial Board.