Jim Paine’s Complete Explore Superior Questionnaire
Why are you the best candidate for Mayor of Superior?
I combine experience and knowledge with a new, modern, progressive vision for our City.
I bring five years of local government experience through my service on the Douglas County Board where we have successfully navigated many of the same challenges that the City of Superior faces. As Vice-Chairman of the Administration Committee, I understand good budgets and management. As a member of the Duluth/Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council, I have helped develop transportation and infrastructure planning for our entire region. Through my service on the Health and Human Services Board, I have promoted a safe, stable and healthy community. And I have served our first and finest citizens on the Veteran’s Commission.
In addition to my experience in local government, I have a deep connection to my community that I have demonstrated throughout my entire adult life. I proudly served my Country in the United States Marine Corps. My wife, Katie, and I are committed members and volunteers of Cathedral of Christ the King Church. I have served on the Young Leader’s Fund Board. I am a member of the Superior Young Professionals. I am a regular player at the Douglas County Historical Society’s “History Theater”. I serve people in poverty in our community as a member of the local chapter of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and I am a member of Superior Rotary (Club 40). I attend Superior Days nearly every year and have served as a Lobby Leader and volunteer for the past several years.
I received an advanced education locally that prepared me to serve my community. I have a Bachelor’s degree in History from UW-Superior and a Master’s from UMD in Advocacy and Political Leadership. I am also a graduate of the Superior/Douglas County Leadership Program.
Our city is growing and changing quickly and we need a Mayor with experience, education, vision and an uncompromising work ethic to successfully lead our City into the future and lay the groundwork for the next century. I have demonstrated, through my years of service, that I have the energy, knowledge, skill and experience to lead our City into a future we can be proud of.
What are the three biggest economic issues facing the City today?
- Low median income. Not only does this keep quality of life low on an individual basis, it impairs economic growth. Families with low incomes cannot invest in their housing and have limited access to capital to start a business. When a whole city has low income, it limits retail spending and small, local business cannot open or grow.
- Decreasing support from the State and Federal Government. State shared revenuehas stayed flat or decreased for more than two decades. These cuts harm our ability to provide quality services and impair our ability to compete for business and residential growth in our region. A reduction in Federal grants slows our ability to create, replace and repair our infrastructure.
- Changing demographics. This is as much of an opportunity as it is a challenge. The current young adult generation is very different than previous generations and will dramatically change our economy and way of life in the coming decades. We must prepare ourselves to adapt and take advantage of these changes or we will be left behind.
How will you encourage continued economic development in Superior?
I will focus on increasing the median income through higher wages. My economic development plan will continue to pursue and support large, high paying businesses and provide support for new, local ventures. Higher wages is the only way we can grow our retail economy and allow citizens to invest in better housing.
I will partner with the school district, WITC, and UW-Superior to ensure we have a large base of educated, skilled workers. A strong base of trained and educated workers is vital to attracting large businesses.
We must focus on quality of life. 21st century citizens will place greater value on where and how they live than where they work. We must attract and retain citizens that will in turn attract or build businesses. We do this by making Superior into a world class place to live and play.
Do you believe that Superior has a crime problem, and if so what will you do to confront it?
Crime is a community issue. Law enforcement cannot solve this problem alone. We need our whole community to come together to support each other. I will expand support for our neighborhood watch programs and support more community policing officers. I will also parter with Douglas County, our School District, community organizations and churches to take a comprehensive approach to the problem. We will focus on prevention and rehabilitation because fewer criminals means fewer crimes.
Crime is an economic issue. If we can improve economic conditions for everyone, crime goes down. Crime is intrinsically linked to poverty. I will create a poverty task force that will recommend policy to the City Council in my first year in office.
Crime is a complex and changing issue. Crimes that didn’t exist 20 years ago plague our City. Computer crimes, from fraud to human trafficking, challenge our law enforcement and victimize our most vulnerable citizens. I will empower our police force to provide greater education and outreach to the community to prevent and confront these problems. I will also put technology to work for us by making the City more accessible to victims and the community through mobile and digital tools.
What is your view of labor relations between the City and its employees?
The State has dramatically attacked the rights of workers at every level but I will not allow Act 10 to undercut our culture of respect and fair treatment for our employees. Furthermore, we need to reestablish some key protections for employees at the local level. Workers have a right to a voice in policies that affect their livelihood and I will build this right into our personnel policies.
This is an economic issue as well. The City of Superior is one of the region’s largest employers. Fair, competitive wages, benefits and working environment force other major employers to raise their standards to keep up and can improve wages and the economy of our entire region.
What is the one major accomplishment that you hope to achieve if you are elected Mayor?
While there are several specific things I hope to achieve, the greatest accomplishment I can hope and work for is to measurably increase the quality of life in Superior.
We can measure this by an increase in home ownership, a working rental code, an increase in median wages and a decrease in the average age of our citizens as young people move to or stay in Superior.