Duluth residents demand real answers during mayoral debate

Published: Oct. 17, 2023 at 4:56 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Northern News Now is hosting a mayoral debate between incumbent Mayor Emily Larson and challenger Roger Reinert on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.

In August’s primary election, Mayor Larson received 35% of the votes and Reinert received 63%.

Ahead of the debate, Northern News Now heard from several Duluth residents about what they hope to hear.

Duluth residents believe the results of this election could change everything.

“It’s really big,” said Cathy Wood, a 17-year Duluth resident. “It could change everything depending on who’s selected.”

“It’s going to be a very, very close election,” said Matthew Gibson, a resident of Duluth for 20 years.

Ahead of Tuesday night’s debate, how the two candidates will address the growing number of people who are homeless and infrastructure remains some of Duluthians’ biggest concerns.

“The homeless situation that continues to go on and on and on, just about my whole life,” said Peter Howard, who has lived in Duluth for more than 70 years. “I’d like to see something really done about that.”

“The homeless on drugs in the city has gotten severely outmatched,” said Gibson. “The road needs to be repaired, I mean, every road I have seen, walked on, sidewalks, they’re not good at all.”

“You can’t get nowhere because there’s always construction, so you’re always rerouting,” said Jacob Schmidt, a Duluthian of three years. “It’s kind of frustrating when you’re downtown.”

However, what many Duluthians want the most are tangible responses.

“I want to hear specifics,” said Wood. “I don’t want these general comments like, ‘Oh, I’m going to make things better. I’m going to change for the good.’ I want to hear solutions, specific things that will happen.”

“A lot of people just tell you what you want to hear and go from there,” said Schmidt. “It’d be nice for somebody to actually say something and actually do what they say.”

People we heard from said they are keeping an open mind, and the way they vote could be swayed by the answers they do or do not hear.

“If they want my vote, they need to be the 100% honest answer,” said Gibson.

The live, hour-long debate will begin at 7 p.m. on Northern News Now’s CBS Network and will be streamed on our website.

It will be moderated by Dan Wolfe and Laura Lee.

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