Faces of Superior: Graham Garfield


By Felicity Bosk


Graham Garfield represents Superior’s downtown district on the City Council. He was elected to the office this past April and is the youngest person to currently sit on the City Council.

Garfield grew up in Mason Wisc., south of Ashland. His parents protested against the Vietnam War and were involved in student action at Northland College. He said his parents were always very interested in politics and world issues. “They passed that interest on to me. I grew up with public radio on all the time.” His first taste of politics came in 2006 when he was 15. His mom encouraged him to volunteer on then Governor Jim Doyle campaign, that Doyle would go on to win.

He began UW-Superior with the goal of obtaining a pre-med degree in biology and then to go on to dental school. “Political involvement derailed that career path. I realized I had a lot more interest in political/civil work than I did in medicine.”

Garfield joined the student government in spring of his freshman year. During that time he saw the science department at UWS using outdated technology. In the past, referendums were created asking the entire student body to pay a segregated fee to help update the equipment, but it had failed. Garfield, with the help of his professors, worked to create a referendum only for students studying science. It passed with a 75 percent majority. “Science students were willing to pay a fee for better technology,” Garfield said. “Through the political process I was able to help solve a problem. It was really rewarding. It’s still one of my favorite victories to this day.”

Garfield graduated from UWS and is now perusing his masters in Sustainable Management through their online program. “It mixes science with business and law related to sustainability. I want to apply what I’m studying to government.”

Before running for city council, Garfield ran an unsuccessful campaign for State Assembly in his home district. “I ran because I was frustrated over defunding of public education as well as the Walker Administration’s defunding of Medicaid which a lot of people who live in Northern Wisconsin benefit from and rely on.”

He ran for city council after being approached by some other city counselors and labor leaders who urged him to run, so he began to attend meetings. The first meeting he attended they discussed creating Superior’s first dog park. The proposal was unsuccessful, but it is something Garfield wants to pick back up.

“Since I am young and just got hired by the postal service I’ll probably pursue that career. I’m happy in the city council as long as my district keeps me…It would make me happy to see Superior 10 years from now better than it is today.”

If you would like to contact Garfield, you can do so at garfieldg@ci.superior.w.us or 715-919-1064


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