Sunday, September 06, 2009

At-Large Hillsider Candidate statements for city council: Beth Olson

Main Issues
The budget crisis is the biggest issue Duluth’s City Council currently faces. Through the process of setting budget priorities, the city is in effect deciding what services it should and will provide and what assets it will protect. I believe the city has a responsibility to serve every neighborhood and citizen equally and to make decisions that will make our lives easier wherever possible. We must provide the core services of a sound infrastructure, such as streets and sewers; public safety, with well-trained and well-equipped police and fire departments; and access to services such as parks, recreation, and libraries. We have to plan to be sure we can continue to afford these core services and avoid the short-term approach of eliminating them because the budget is currently tight. The Council must also make economic-development decisions that support our existing businesses and help bring in new businesses and job growth that fit Duluth’s abundant natural resources, strong neighborhoods, and excellent work force. The City Council’s overriding responsibility in all these issues is to ensure every voice is heard and that decisions fairly consider each neighborhood’s unique strengths and needs.

Personal Background
I grew up in a family of six children. My dad was a union bricklayer, and my mom stayed at home with us, later finishing her education and becoming a speech pathologist. My family valued work, education, and cooperation, and I’ve carried those lessons through my life. At a young age, I began volunteering. I’ve spent the last 17 years working in non-profit organizations, with the goal of making our community a safer and healthier place to live and work. I am currently the Coordinator of the Duluth Family Visitation Center and live in Duluth with my 11 year-old daughter, Sage.