Thursday, October 27, 2016

State Senate District 7 - Donna Bergstrom

Donna Bergstrom
Greetings! I’m Donna Bergstrom, a candidate for the Minnesota State Senate-District 7, who is running for you! I want to bring our voices, values and priorities to the State level. I’m a retired Lt. Col. in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, having served 20+ years in active and reserve duties, as an Intelligence Officer. Having first hand knowledge of our nation’s military and diplomatic strengths, I’ve observed the importance of the United States as a symbol of freedom. Prior to serving in the Marine Corps, I attended the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, earning my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. I obtained a Master of Jurisprudence degree in Children’s Law and Policy in 2014. I am currently employed as a Guardian ad Litem by the State of Minnesota, to advocate for the best interests of our children in the child protection system. I am a mother of an 11-year-old boy, and am married to Skip Fischer, a retired U.S. Senate senior staffer.

My background is broad and diverse. I am not a politician, but instead a common-citizen concerned over the direction of our State and our local community. My priorities include improving graduation rates for minority students. As an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, and as someone who places great importance on education, I am distraught by the rates at which Native American students graduate from high school, a rate that is second  worst in the nation. I’ll also focus on veteran’s issues, such as eliminating the current tax on their retirement pay, and by improving their access to health care. I intend to work to ensure that the region’s infrastructure is properly maintained. Legislative work involves building relationship, and leading from the front – qualities I learned, and live, as a Marine Corps officer. Thank you.

State Senate District 7 - Erik Simonson

Erik Simonson
I’ve had the amazing opportunity to represent central and west Duluth for the past four years in the Minnesota House of Representatives. This fall, I’m running for the open Minnesota Senate seat which represents nearly all of Duluth.
Minnesota is turning the corner in its recovery from the great recession. Our economy is stronger, wages are slowly increasing, and signs of improvement and lower unemployment are constantly being publicized as accomplishments.
But we’ve much more work to do. Not every neighborhood is feeling the positive effects, nor are they recovering as quickly as other areas of the state. We can, and need to do more for all of our citizens, especially those less fortunate.
I was proud to support increasing the minimum wage, passing legislation to increase both homeowners’ and renters’ property tax rebates, and to make historic investments in education, including all day free kindergarten, and for the very first time–we invested $25 million in free, quality education programs for four year olds! We made a record investment into affordable housing–and I know safe, stable housing is the cornerstone to anyone’s success!
As we move forward together, I’ve heard your voices loud and clear. Free public school opportunities are only helpful if there is transportation to get there. Job opportunities are only good if graduation rates from high school increase. And we absolutely have to find lasting solutions to our race and gender achievement and income gaps.
As your next Minnesota State Senator, I will be your voice at the capital. You will always have an open door–and a friendly ear to listen. Being your legislator is not just passing laws–it is solving those problems that arise day to day–that is where we can make a difference together.
Please consider voting on November 8! 

St. Louis County Commissioner - District 3 - Jay Fosle

Hello, I am Jay Fosle and I am running to be your representative for County Commissioner. I am happily married for 33 years, I have two wonderful children and a beautiful granddaughter.
I am a 27 year employee of Duluth Public Schools currently as a route coordinator-trainer. I am a lifelong resident of County Commission District 3 which includes much of the area I currently serve as a City Councilor.
I am running for this position because I have the experience to represent all of the citizens within the district.
My experience includes: Duluth City Councilor, Duluth Economic Development Commissioner, Public Safety Committee Chairperson, Public Utilities Commissioner, Metropolitan Interstate Council Representative, and Public Works Committee Chairperson.
Being financially responsible with taxpayers’ money is my top priority. The creation of a tax base helps makes this possible. My previous years with Duluth Economic Development Authority allowed me to be involved with many new and current developments.
As a County Commissioner:
  • I will be sensitive to the economic pressures facing citizens, businesses and the entire region.
  • I will continue with support for innovation, productivity and providing service to the citizens.
  • I will make sure to partner with Cities to remove blighted tax forfeit property for the betterment of the community and quality of life for all.
  • I will continue to provide quality customer service to our citizens while staying focused on spending for services.
  • I will continue to provide accountability for all citizens equally by maintaining and providing a fiscally responsible budget.
  • I will continue to establish policies and procedures for Administration and departments to meet their goals.
  • I  am ready to be your representative. 
I would appreciate your vote on November 8.Sincerely,
Jay Fosle

St. Louis County Commissioner - District 3 - Beth Olson

Beth Olson
I grew up one of six children. My dad was a union bricklayer and my mom a homemaker until becoming a speech pathologist. In a big family, I learned early about hard work and getting along with people to reach common goals. Those simple values continue to guide me in my work, life, community and family. I am running for county commissioner because I love my home in West Duluth, my community of so many distinct and beautiful neighborhoods and because it is these simple values that will make progress for us all. I have proven my ability to deliver effective services on a tight budget and develop solutions to community problems as the Executive Director of First Witness Child Advocacy Center and a long time community advocate. I have seen from many perspectives how the county works; the good it can do for people and the harm it can cause when mismanaged. I have positive relationships with elected officials and a track record of building successful collaborations. I choose not to polarize people and ideas, but instead find common ground. I listen because the best ideas come from listening to others. I advocate because every single one of our neighbors needs a chance to have their voice heard. The west side can no longer be left behind. Those simple values I learned? They work.

Please go to to learn more about me. Throughout my campaign, I have invited people to ask me questions and share ideas. The conversations I have had with you at your doors have helped shape my opinions on county matters. If elected as your county commissioner I will be present, be responsive, listen, and work hard on the issues that affect your lives the most. I ask for your vote on November 8.

State Representative District 7B - Liz Olson Democratic

Liz Olson
I’m Liz Olson and I’m the DFL endorsed candidate running to represent district 7B in the Minnesota House of Representatives.  I’m running because I believe in a Minnesota where everyone can thrive — A Minnesota that offers access to living wage jobs with good benefits, strong public schools, and expanded access to our democracy.  I’ve called Duluth home since graduating from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Shortly after, my husband and I purchased a house in the Denfeld neighborhood. This fall we welcomed our first child into our home. Being elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives is a way to put my love for Duluth into action - to serve my family, neighbors, and the people of Minnesota, and to help build a bright future for all of us.
My work in Duluth has included advocacy for access to healthcare, worker protections, and ending homelessness. Across these issues I have engaged and mobilized diverse groups of people, especially those often left out of the political process, to shape policy solutions at the state and local level. I have proven my effectiveness and been recognized for my ability to forge new relationships and to build on my current relationships in order to champion sound policies that benefit our neighbors. I take this experience forward as I run to represent District 7B in the Minnesota House of Representatives.  I ask for your vote on November 8th.

State Representative District 7B - Cody Barringer

Cody Barringer
As a flight instructor at Lake Superior College, I work relentlessly to be good at what I do. My job requires me to be an excellent teacher and professional pilot at the same time. I will bring that same tenacity and attention to detail to work tirelessly for you in the Minnesota legislature.
The future I envision for the next generation is characterized by freedom. Freedom comes through honest, open politics. Freedom comes in the form of a healthy economy, common sense environmental regulations, and low taxes. Freedom means parents get a say in their children’s education. Freedom comes when people of different belief systems coexist without any one group accosting another. Freedom comes by honoring the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Freedom comes in the form of limited, responsible government and healthy family values.
 My opponents will complain – we can’t have freedom, we must limit and control gun ownership. We can’t let parents choose how their children are educated, the government must control public schooling. We can’t have free speech, it could be used to discriminate. We can’t let businesses be run to make a profit, we must legislate feel-good social policies. We can’t allow Minnesotans to keep their hard-earned money; politicians and their cronies need it. We can’t allow a free market to fight it out; government should pick the winners and losers. We can’t let doctors and patients, parents, teachers, and children have the final say, government knows best! My friends, more government is not the solution.
As your representative, I want to implement sound policies that will lift the regional economy off the ground. When you go to vote you will be putting yourself in the pilot’s seat and securing Minnesota’s greatness for the next generation!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

State Representative District 7A - Dylan Raddant

Hello, I am Dylan Raddant, the GOP candidate for District 7A State Representative.  I am not satisfied with numerous facets of our legislation; and I seek to bring a fresh face to the candidacy.  Although my current position as an Overnight PCA brings relative inexperience to the political table, I have a couple of brief ideas appropriate to share for this new piece.
 One idea I have is to force legislators to be banned from sneaking in pork-spending bills towards the end of a session that leads into conflict. Bills would have to be proposed before a certain period so that the remaining time could be focused on debate.
Another would offer scholarships to students at public Minnesota colleges whom come up with a more effective way to engineer the ineffective MNSure website that has cost Minnesota taxpayers over $300 million. Taxpayers would be more willing to spend $20 million on working software over $300 million on one that will not.
Another offer is to offer property tax incentives to startup companies that offer their services in East Duluth – provided said company stays in Duluth for a certain period of time and meets strict accounting guidelines.  While some may argue that the idea would harm schools due to a loss in property tax – those that fund schools – in reality, the revenues from the company and jobs created would outweigh any disadvantages.
One final idea would be to introduce legislation which would offer day-fines, a fine that is proportionate to the guilty person’s income. A traffic ticket for a Walmart stocker, for example, would be fined percentage wise the same as an investment banker, although the banker would pay more and then improve the citizen’s funding usage.
If it’s broke, fit it, which is what I will do on November 8th.

State Representative District 7A - Jennifer Schultz

I’m Jen Schultz, first-term DFL state legislator representing Duluth in district 7A.  I’m running for re-election to continue my work addressing economic & social injustice. In addition to being a state legislator, I’m an economist at UMD and a mother of two boys.  I’ve worked hard my whole life: by helping my mother – a single parent who struggled to care for me and my sister— by working minimum wage jobs in high school, and by self-funding college and graduate school.
I owe my success to the public education system.  As an economist, I know commitment to education is the cornerstone of economic growth and opportunity.  I pledge to:  fight cuts in education funding to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, work for funding education from pre-K to graduate programs, and make quality education accessible to all.
My specialty as an economist is health care.  The Affordable Care Act has cut the uninsured in Minnesota by more than 40 percent.  Last year I was appointed to the Governor’s bipartisan Health Care Finance Task Force to continue reform of health care.  I’m eager to continue working in St. Paul to help pass legislation to implement the 33 recommendations of that Task Force and make health care more affordable.
All Minnesotans deserve to live in a growing economy that creates good jobs, not a minimum wage economy that diverts its resources to the rich.  As the only economist in the state legislature I bring a unique approach to problem solving, one based on facts, research, and proven economic science. 
I went to school to become an economist for the people, and I ask for your vote on November 8th, so I can return to St. Paul and continue working for you to keep our state moving forward.

Jennifer Schultz is a State Representative for Duluth, District 7A. She was elected in 2014. Please contact her at;; or on Twitter @RepJenSchultz.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tues. Oct. 25 6-9 p.m. Candidate Forum - Senate District 7 and House District

Candidate Forum - Senate District 7 and House District
The League of Women Voters will host a meet and greet along with a forum for candidates running for Minnesota Senate District 7 and House District 7A. This is a good way to meet the candidates yourself and see what they have to say. Senate District 7 is the seat formerly held by Roger Reinert and includes most of Duluth. House District 7A
is the seat held by Jennifer Schultz and covers northern eastern Duluth, and also most of East Hillside and parts of Central Hillside.

If you are not sure where the boundary lines are for certain candidates and are wondering who is running in your district visit: Go to the bottom of the page and click on Who Represents Me? or Maps. You may also phone 800-657-3550 toll free.

WHAT: Candidates Forum
WHEN: Tue, October 25, 6 p.m.–9 p.m.
Meet and greet 6:00 p.m.
Senate forum 6:30 p.m.
House forum 7:45 P.M.
WHERE: Lakeside-Lester Park Community Center, 106 N. 54th Ave. E., Duluth, MN 55804

Constitutional amendment and Justice candidates also on ballot

By Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff

There is also a state constitutional amendment and three offices for court justices.
Don’t let yourself be caught off guard, the League of Women Voters has put together a comprehensive voters’ guide. If you don’t understand the constitutional amendment or what the justices do, pay a visit to the LWV voters’ guide. It’s online at Look for the 2016 LWV Duluth Voter Guide on the top third of the page. 

State Constitutional Amendment about
lawmakers’ pay

There will be one proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot in Minnesota. Failure to vote on a constitutional amendment will have the same effect as voting no on the amendment.
The issue is about removing Lawmakers’ Power to set their own pay. It reads: Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to remove state lawmakers’ power to set their own salaries, and instead establish an independent, citizens-only council to prescribe salaries of lawmakers?
To vote for a proposed constitutional amendment, fill in the oval next to the word “Yes” on that question. To vote against a proposed constitutional amendment, fill in the oval next to the word “No” on that question.

Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice
There are two candidates running for Supreme Court associate justice: Natalie Hudson and  Michelle MacDonald.
The Minnesota Supreme Court is responsible for establishing legal policy statewide, resolving the most pressing constitutional issues, and setting precedent in complex civil and criminal controversies. Justices reject or accept petitions from lower courts, usually by majority vote. After hearing from the attorneys or litigants in writing and oral argument, the Justices research and write opinions that can be precedent.

Sixth Judicial District Court 13 

Theresa Neo, an assistant city attorney in Duluth is running for District Court Judge for the Sixth Judicial District in Duluth, Minnesota.

Sixth Judicial District Court 15

Leslie E. Beiers is running. She was appointed to be a Sixth Judicial District Trial Court Judge by Governor Mark Dayton in June of 2014. Pursuant to the Minnesota Constitution she now seeks to be elected to the seat.

United States Representative District 8 - Rick Nolan - Democrat, Stewart Mills - Republican

The Hillsider did not contact either campaign office, but did attend a forum. Please see our blog to hear what the candidates had to say. Visit:

Minnesota Senate District 3: Tom Bakk and Jennifer Havlik

No attempt to contact either Senate District 3 was made. The district is made up of rural St. Louis, Cook and Lake Counties, with only some parts of northern Duluth.

Minnesota House District 3B: Timothy Brandon

Timothy Brandon

I would like to thank you for your interest in myself and my campaign. I was not brought up in politics, but was brought up on small business values. I grew up in a family-owned car dealership in Duluth called Chester Park Motors, and learned young about the value of a handshake and integrity. I also attended Lake Superior College during my final year at Proctor High School. I was fortunate to be able to have some of my tuition reimbursed by a state program at that time due to still being a senior. I find extreme value in these programs to help youth find their passions early in life. I attended the Autobody Specialist program and began work at a local Autobody Shop in town. After some years in the autobody world I was able to rent a office from my boss and go full time into the car dealership. Years later after the passing of my father I was fortunate to return to my friend’s business Custom Coach Collision and become a manager for multiple years before returning to take care of my personal businesses. I have been an employee and had employees and feel that my many sides of business can help get our district back on track. We need to start thinking more fiscally and start holding government accountable for our tax money. I will work as hard for the community as I have for my employers, family, and employees. We must find sustainable ways to provide healthcare at reasonable costs to help bring Minnesota forward as the best state in the union. I look forward to discussing and learning about issues while I knock on the many thousands of doors in District 3B.

Minnesota House District 3B: Mary Murphy

 Mary Murphy

One attempt by email was made to contact Mary Murphy, there was no response.

St. Louis County Commissioner - District 5

Pete Stauber 

Pete Stauber declined our invitation to submit a candidate’s statement.

Todd Youngberg

Todd Youngberg Did not submit a statement. The Hillsider did not contact him.

St. Louis County Commissioner - District 2

Patrick Boyle
Did not submit a statement. His website is Other contact information and his reasons for running are also listed on his website. 

Linda Ross Sellner
Did not submit a statement. The Hillsider was unable to contact her in time.

The Hillsider Voters’ Guide

At The Hillsider we strive to give you information to help you make good decisions. We hope this guide is helpful to you. Another excellent voters’ guide is online at  Other  guides and information include and
If you don’t have internet access you can always call the Duluth City Clerk at City Hall at 218-730-5500. He can’t tell you how to vote, but he may be able to give direction in finding information.    

Monday, October 10, 2016

Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrated in Duluth City

Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrated at Duluth City Hall on what has traditionally been Columbus Day.

Alexis Faulk sings to Duluth Mayor Emily Larson and a crowd of others gathered on the steps of City Hall. Alexis' Native name is Madwewegizhigookwe and she is from Turtle Lake, Wi. She is a member of the St. Croix Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Alexis attends Unity High school and plans to graduate in 2017.

Babette Sandman of the Duluth Ingenious People's Commission spoke about the importance of recognizing Indigenous People's Day rather than Columbus Day. She said it does devalue and hurt the pride of Native Americans who were in America first.

Ten years ago Duluth's Mayor Herb Bergstrom declared the first Monday in October to be Indigenous People's Day. The year was 2006. Yet Duluth is rarely cited as one of the cities to do this. Other cities include: Berkley, Denver, Phoenix and Seattle. The City of Cincinnati voted against it. In 1990 the state of South Dakota declared it Native American Day.

The Hillsider covered the event way back then. To see the story visit

After the event at City Hall many walked to the sound of a beating drum to Lake Superior

Indigenous people symbolically walk from Duluth City Hall to Lake Superior  Photo by Pamela Arseth Nault

Front page of the Hillsider Nov. 2006

Jackie Fairbanks, a 6th grader at Woodland Middle School walked beside her father, John Fairbanks. She said, “We aren’t really celebrating the truth.” She thinks Native Americans are treated differently when the truth is not taught. (Hillsider File photo)

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Travelling exhbit of Minnesota Ballet at Depot this October

And exhibit on display at the Depot. (Photo Submitted)

The Minnesota Ballet and the St. Louis County Historical Society announce the opening of the ballet’s history exhibit in the Depot Great Hall Tuesday, October 4. The exhibit, with costumes and ten-panel history display, will run through October 24.
The exhibit colorfully highlights the ballet’s growth from its humble beginnings in 1965 as an amateur company formed from advanced students into one of the finest professional ballets in the Midwest. As it begins its second half-century, the ballet performs world masterworks and beloved story ballets such as “The Nutcracker,” represents the Duluth area in tours to the Midwest and Canada, and provides pre-professional ballet training usually found only in major cities.
“We are proud to show the community what an asset the ballet has been in our 50 years of performing and educating, said Robert Gardner, the ballet’s artistic executive director.  “It is remarkable that many other ballet companies have closed, including the Cleveland San Jose Ballet, where I danced, but the Minnesota Ballet keeps growing, thanks in no small part to community support,” he added.
After October 24, the exhibit will be available for touring in St. Louis County through the St. Louis County Historical Society’s Traveling Exhibit Program. Contact the society for more information at 218-733-7581.
The panel display was made possible in part by a ballet patron and a grant from the Henry and Sarah Wheeler Historical Awareness Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.