Kalee Hermanson’s Complete Explore Superior Questionnaire
Why are you the best candidate for Mayor of Superior?
First and foremost, it must be known that I am not a Politician. I am a community member, a leader, and a young professional striving to make a difference for our Community.
I am passionate, high-spirited, and willing to fight the status quo. I was taught to think outside of the box, and believe there is more than one solution to our issues. I believe it is important to have a leader that is working for the citizens of Superior, a Leader that is dedicated to building a family-friendly Superior. As Mayor, I am determined to make a difference for our community.
We deserve a Mayor that puts politics aside, and makes the people a top priority, and I am committed to doing just that. I am involved in many different community boards such as the United Way of Superior – Douglas County, Junior Achievement of the Twin Ports, Twin Ports Sustainability, City Planning Commission and I am the Vice President of Education for Harborview Toastmasters.
I believe my involvement in this wide variety of organizations speaks volumes for the person I am. I look forward to working with our community and bringing it to the Family-Oriented City that we need.
What are the three biggest economic issues facing the City today?
- Job growth. It is difficult to compete for large businesses because the State does not have the incentive other states do to attract and retain large businesses. However, we do very well with homegrown businesses like Genesis and Exodus. Larger businesses also worry about not having enough employees but once here, they realize they can find them. Finding Engineers and Machinists can be a challenge, but utilizing our resources like NORTHFORCE, UWS and WITC can be very beneficial to overcome challenges such as these.
- The lack of family-friendly affordable housingis a sizeable issue that affects our community. We fail to provide housing that is adequately maintained and priced. We fail to provide housing that attracts young professionals. We need to work with local services and agencies to provide diverse housing solutions that create opportunities for people of all ages to reside in safe, family-friendly homes. Investing in our housing stock is the key to creating a vibrant and diverse community. The benefits of doing so create opportunities for all demographics to age in place. It allows us to have housing options and addresses the changing needs of our citizens. It creates investment and connection to our community. It also allows us to attract young professionals who provide our community a number of various assets. It is important that we as a City are setting an example for adequate housing. We need to create laws/ordinances for Landlords and Tenants to be held responsible for maintaining safe, family-friendly affordable housing.
- Cost of Living/Livable Wage. It is no secret that we have a high cost of living in our City. The average rent for an apartment is between $600-$700/month. The average estimated cost of a house is $115,000 which doesn’t seem like a lot, until you factor in the high taxes while our average household income is only $39,000. Then we add in our Energy and Gas, Sewage, Stormwater and the new Recycling bills, and we’re barely surviving paycheck to paycheck. We need to do our best to keep costs low and attract higher paying jobs. We as a city will not prosper without doing so. We need to do what we can to make sure that our Citizens have the things they need to keep us moving into the future.
How will you encourage continued economic development in Superior?
I believe it is important to continue with the Better City US initiative. It has the backing to create a better city for all of us. On top of that, we need a citywide economic development plan that creates strategies for industrial, downtown, retail and restaurant development and we need to follow through with this plan. The most important part is to be completely transparent and allow community input in the plan as well. We are developing this for the community, and not for our personal gain.
Do you believe that Superior has a crime problem, and if so what will you do to confront it?
Superior’s crime problem is on the rise, from drug issues to vandalism. It is imperative that we partner with local agencies, the Local Superior Police Department, and our District Attorney’s office to combat this issue. First and foremost I would like to see us start doing Community Policing. It is important for Citizens and the Local Police Department to work together to combat this issue. The Citizens are our eyes in the community. They need to be able to approach and feel comfortable reaching out to the local police to resolve issues. Having dedicated police officers in their community that they can get to know and trust will greatly benefit our City.
We need to also make sure that offenders are held accountable for their crimes. Many times they are just pushed out the door with no recourse and are back in our community only to commit another crime. We need to make sure that they are being held responsible for their crime and work to find a solution, rather than create another problem.
What is your view of labor relations between the City and its employees?
This question is tough to answer. I have talked with many employees from the City and some feel that the issues between employees and the City are minimal, and some feel they need big improvements. As an outsider looking in, my biggest issue is the fair wages. I have been told of a large amount of raises going to the department heads, while the City is only implementing small increases to the average City employee. Most, if not all the department heads make well over the fair market wage while many of the City employees are under. Employees need to be heard and respected and if we want to attract and retain good employees, we need to make sure that we are respecting them and their wishes first and foremost.
What is the one major accomplishment that you hope to achieve if you are elected Mayor?
My one major accomplishment I hope to achieve is to create the beginnings of a family-friendly City. Aside from education, family is the single most important aspect of a child’s life. The future of our children not only depends on the type of education they receive, but also their family life growing up. They grow up so fast, and we only have a small time to teach them important morals and values. Children learn from us, and it is important for families to spend time together.
Right now, Superior offers minimal places for families to get together and interact together outside the home. Duluth provides most of our family entertainment, but not everyone has the means or the money to get to Duluth. We need to invest in our community, and give people the option to get together right here in Superior. We need to keep our youth active and give them a place to play during our long winters.
As Mayor, I plan to work with local businesses, grant writers, and state officials to build a Community Center. Many cities our size have already built Community Centers, and they continue to be a great place for children to connect and learn to play together. During the summer months, we have a great place to gather for Movies in the Park at Barkers Island. We have the untouched Superior Municipal Forest that can be opened up for family activities and unique trails. There are a number of things we can do to foster those family relationships. Our children are impressionable at these young ages. We need to focus our attention on them, and give them opportunities to create a healthy and productive life for many years to come.