Former Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon ends speculation, endorses City Council President Larson in Duluth mayor’s race
Duluth, Minnesota, April 28, 2015- Former Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon ended speculation today regarding a potential run to be Duluth’s next mayor. Holding a press conference at Zeitgeist Arts, she stood alongside candidate and City Council President Emily Larson.
At the event, she read from prepared remarks saying, “After weeks of consideration, reflection and conversations with friends and supporters, I’ve made the decision to not enter the Duluth Mayoral race. I know that this will be a disappointment to the many, many people who have asked me to run. Politics is personal and I am so grateful for their support.” Lt. Governor Prettner Solon went on to endorse city council president Emily Larson for mayor. On the campaign and elsewhere, Prettner Solon will focus her efforts on “…advancing an agenda that includes increasing investments in conservation, green energy, investing in our infrastructure and continuing Duluth’s momentum.”
Larson had this to say: “I am very pleased to share that today Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon offered her endorsement and support of my campaign to become our next Mayor. Duluth’s ongoing transformation is not accidental, and it hasn’t happened overnight. Our city’s current potential is only possible because of the immense legacy of countless community leaders who have helped initiate and build Duluth’s positive momentum. Simply stated: no one in our community has the legacy and depth of understanding which Yvonne Prettner Solon does. I’m honored and humbled to receive her support and welcome her insight as a trusted advisor. I am grateful for the partnership we will have, the different worlds we represent which we can bridge, and I’m excited to write Duluth’s Next Chapter. Together.
Larson currently serves as President of the City Council in an at-large seat won after a strong, citywide campaign. She also is a Duluth Economic Development Authority Commissioner, small business owner and married to architect Doug Zaun. Together they have two sons.
Remarks: Former Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon
Thank you, Emily. And thanks to all of you for being here today. It feels really good to be home. When I first entered elected politics in 1987, I made my announcement at City Hall. It was an incredibly challenging time here. We were in the process of recreating our city and regional economy after many industries had left town. The city was old and grey and depressing. And there weren’t too many women in elected office. I was only the sixth woman elected to the council in Duluth’s history.
I ran for city council to make a difference. And I’m proud to say Duluth did undergo positive changes, from the revitalization of the downtown streetscape, Canal Park, Spirit Valley, Lincoln Park, the Miller Hill Mall, Burning Tree Plaza and Stoneridge Shopping Center to expansion of the aviation industry at the airport, the opening of the Convention Center and the creation of the Community Investment Trust Fund to provide ongoing funding for Duluth’s infrastructure. What I learned during that time is that local politics matters, and whom we elect matters even more. I have spent the last 28 years in public service and it is work that I love. From Council President to State Senator, to Lieutenant Governor, there truly is nothing more gratifying than knowing that every day, the work you do, the policies you create, and the tone you set as a leader, all have a tangible impact on the lives of the people and the vitality of the community. I’m committed more than ever to ensure that the city I call home is a place of growth and opportunity for generations to come. It is fitting that, 28 years after I entered politics, I’m here to talk politics again in this beautiful atrium…..a representation of how far Duluth has come.
After weeks of consideration, reflection and conversation with friends and supporters, I’ve made the decision to not enter the Duluth Mayoral race. I know that will be a disappointment to the many, many people who have asked me to run. Politics is personal and I am so grateful for their support. And I know that despite their disappointment, they will support me in this decision, too. Because my public service is far from over. I find that now, with my experience, I have an opportunity to truly choose my issues and focus my efforts. And rather than serve in one position, I am interested in advancing an agenda that includes increasing investments in conservation and green energy, investing in our infrastructure and continuing Duluth’s momentum. Duluth has more vitality than I’ve seen for a long time, and it’s important that this growth and momentum continue. I have known Emily Larson for several years, and we have been in conversation about the direction of Duluth for many months. I have come to truly appreciate the perspective and confidence she brings to her work as City Council President. We have many things in common, and much that sets us apart. But through our conversations, I have identified that in working together we have an important and unprecedented opportunity to bridge worlds of experience, viewpoints and leadership that can be of immeasurable service to the future of Duluth.
Today I endorse Emily Larson to be Duluth’s next Mayor, and in doing so, I am committed to partnering with Emily and her campaign.
Emily and I will be working closely together in ways that can bridge divides between the Duluth we have been and the Duluth we are becoming. I will be serving as an advisor in the months to come, and am confident that our partnership will bring good things. Not just to her campaign, but to the future of Duluth. Emily has a charisma and connection to Duluth and our people that is something you want to support. And I do.
With that, I welcome Emily to say a few words
Remarks: City Council President Larson
Thank you, Yvonne.
It’s her job to be humble about her experience, and it’s mine to be forthright about it. Yvonne Prettner Solon has been a champion for Duluth. Her grace, wisdom and experience make her a legend – a legend of the best kind, because her work is far from done. One of the things you learn in elected office is that you stand on the shoulders of those who came before you. Yvonne has charted a courageous course of public service and her support means an enormous amount to me. One of the things I like most about Yvonne is that she is honest: she will tell you like it is, and that is a real gift in this line of work. If she says she is with you, and that she supports you, than she does. And you feel it. That’s why her support today means so much to me. Yvonne’s right in saying that we have much in common and much which sets us apart. Through our months of conversation I think we both have learned a lot about the other. Aligning our efforts gives us, and Duluth, a very unique opportunity: to be a bridge. Yvonne and I have different experiences, insights and relationships, and we are united that these can be harnessed to the benefit of Duluth. I have been talking since December about the opportunity this Mayoral election has to write Duluth’s “Next Chapter. Together.” Today Yvonne and I are united in our recognition that in working together, that future is possible, and that this next chapter is one that can be very, very good for Duluth and all of our residents. There’s a lot to be energized about with Duluth’s future. We have an increasingly diverse economic base, highlighted by a creative class of entrepreneurs. Our natural environment is both a landscape for outdoor recreation and an opportunity for sustainable economic redevelopment. As a city we are rewriting the narrative of Duluth as a city of choice to visit, to work in, and to raise a family in.
Duluth’s ongoing transformation from a city spiraling down to a city on the rise hasn’t been accidental and it hasn’t happened overnight. Our city’s current potential is only possible because of the immense legacy of countless community leaders who have helped initiate and build Duluth’s positive momentum. There is probably no one in Duluth who has the lasting legacy and depth of expertise that Yvonne Prettner Solon does. Thank you, Yvonne, for your support and for your commitment as a trusted advisor. It’s clear to me that this is a “next chapter” in your own path of public service. And I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Thank you. And thank you all for being here with us today.