In replacing Hansen on the Duluth City Council – she announced last month she would step down due to the demands of her new job as president and CEO of Northspan Group, a management consulting firm – her fellow councilors can pick a candidate who shares those qualities that Duluth voters clearly demonstrated they wanted.
Hopefuls to replace Hansen have until Monday to apply to the City Clerk’s office. A successful candidate will fill out the remainder of her term, through January 2020. Applicants are to be interviewed Thursday.
No matter the names they have to pick from, councilors owe it to voters to choose a new colleague committed, like Hansen has been, to the needs of local business and economic development. Hansen was business development director for APEX. In that and other roles, she has been a fierce advocate for attracting new business and industry, which expands the tax base, lowers property taxes, and raises public dollars for things like fixing streets. Hansen was part of efforts that landed companies like AAR and that assisted Maurices in the largest downtown commercial development in Duluth history.
Councilors can pick someone who supports, like Hansen has, the positive impacts of entrepreneurship. She and her husband run Steam Creative Consulting and are partners in Blacklist Artisan Ales.
They can pick someone who, like Hansen, is willing to watch out for local businesses, the backbone of our economy. This spring, Hansen introduced or supported amendments to try to ease the burden on business of a new sick-and-safe-time ordinance. The amendments included exempting seasonal workers and reducing the amount of sick time employees can accrue.
“Based on my background and my experience in watching cities grow, including our own, I feel like one of the best ways is to continue to encourage and inspire entrepreneurs and local businesses to grow,” Hansen said at a candidate forum in 2015 sponsored and moderated by the News Tribune and Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. “Building that tax base is what will build our budget so that we’re able to tackle some of those tougher issues.”
In replacing Hansen, Duluth city councilors can pick a candidate with a similar philosophy. Voters sent a message three years go that’s what they want. Their wish deserves to be honored.