Thursday, September 04, 2008 By Aaron Brown
Tuesday, we featured Brandon Clokey. Wednesday featured John Derbis and Daniel Maryland. Today, continuing in alphabetical order, we present the views of Roger Reinert. Marsh Stenersen will conclude the series on Friday.
When I am not in City Hall I am a teacher. I teach part-time undergraduate courses at Lake Superior College and part-time in graduate school at UMD. I am also an actively drilling LTJG reservist in the United States Navy. Within the community I have volunteered for a number or organizations including Renegade Theater, KidsVote Duluth, the Duluth Airshow, and Neighborhood Housing Services. My elected office experience includes 5 years on the City Council and two as Council President.
My top legislative priorities are:
Bonding assistance for the sanitary sewer overflow holding tanks. Under the decree by the MPCA and the EPA Duluth developed a plan to stop the SSOs. This plan requires several very expensive holding tanks as a line of last defense. Currently Duluthians will be paying the entire cost to build these tanks. The State has assisted with previous holding tanks and since Lake Superior is a state asset I believe they should assist us again. This will be a direct reduction in expense to homeowners at a time when household budgets are tight.
Re-engaging the state as a partner in the Great Lakes Aquarium. The GLA was around before I was as a Councilor, but I’ve had to vote for subsidies to it from the tourism tax. I think the GLA is an asset, but this is not sustainable funding model. It does no good to close the GLA because the city would be liable for over $10 million in debt, and also because it is used by nearly 50,000 area schoolchildren. I think the GLA should return to it’s educational purpose and become a part of the University of Minnesota system under what I’m calling the “Glensheen model.” An attraction owned and managed by the university with an educational mission.
Developing the revenue tools regional cities need to survive and thrive. A significant part of the budget crisis in the City of Duluth is a product of declining aid from the state and federal governments. I don’t see this aid coming back anytime soon so I want to see the State give regional cities like Duluth the ability to generate revenue from the region for the regional services they provide. Here in Duluth that includes our park system, the libraries, and specialized police and fire services. These are all things Duluth provides to the entire region but for which only Duluthians pay. An example would be the ability to charge some small fee for non-residents who use our libraries. This is currently against state law.
In closing, I am the only candidate that has experience as an elected official and that matters. I have shown voters that I am a person who will work hard, does his homework, will listen to my constituents, and takes my decisions seriously. I have also shown that I have the strength to make the tough votes when necessary and the stamina to deal with the stress, pressures, and exhaustion that go with being an elected official in difficult times. Having been elected by my colleagues to serve as Council President for 2 of the past 3 years I have also shown that I have the ability to work with others to get the job done, even if they are folks with whom I don’t always agree.
Thank you for your vote in the DFL Primary on Tuesday, September 9th.