New Young Leaders in Superior, Wisconsin | Explore Superior©

Youth Movement Changing Superior


Community Pride Rising

Superior has seen the gradual rise of a feeling of hopefulness in recent years. One can see a direct cause and effect relationship between a new youth movement in city leadership, and renewed pride in community.

Jim Paine | Mayor of Superior Wisconsin | Explore Superior

Mayor Jim Paine

This is a change in direction of community attitude unparalleled after a generation of flagging population and depressed prospects for our downtown and city as a whole.

A new generation of leaders has come to the fore in the past few years, exhibiting a renewed pride in community that is essential to enable change to succeed.

Younger Mayor by Half Takes Office

When former Mayor Bruce Hagen stepped down early at the age of 70 this year, it became a certainty that Superior’s next mayor would be considerably younger. We now have a new mayor in Jim Paine who may seem young to some (35 for another week!) but long-term residents will remember that both Bruce Hagen and Herb Bergson were younger when they first became Superior’s mayor in 1975 and 1987 respectively.

Paine is a Superior native dedicated to making his hometown better, and has generated an appreciable amount of excitement and support as a result. While it is too soon to tell what long-term impact Mayor Paine will have on Superior’s future, most residents are hopeful and positive thinking.

Average Age on Council Drops Drastically!

The common council also has welcomed several new members in the past few years, lowering the average age of that body considerably. By comparison, the current council is very youthful compared to councils of recent years. Below is a photo found on the City website of the council prior to the 2015 election.

Superior Wisconsin City Council 2015 | Explore Superior

Superior City Council in 2015

Keith Kern and Brent Fennessey were elected in 2015, both of whom are in their early 30’s. Similarly, Jenny VanSickle, Craig Sutherland and Tylor Elm joined the council this year furthering the Superior youth movement.

Keith Kern

Brent Fennessey

Jenny VanSickle

Craig Sutherland

Tylor Elm


Chamber Leadership Changes

Taylor Pedersen

At the same time that the mayor’s office and five of ten city council districts have welcomed new, younger office holders, change is also afoot at the Superior/Douglas County Chamber of Commerce. Long-time Chamber head Dave Minor has accepted a new post with the Eau Claire chamber and his assistant Taylor Pedersen has been appointed interim Chamber President.

Mr. Pedersen will assume his new position on July 1st. He has been with the Chamber since 2013, serving as director of the Visitors Bureau and Member Services while also participating in economic development and other community initiatives. A 34 year old Superior native, Mr. Pedersen serves as another sign of the burgeoning youth movement going on in Superior.

Other Youthful Faces Having Impact

Kalee Hermanson

Kalee Hermanson from Superior’s South End has run for mayor twice now, and fell short in her efforts. 

Nonetheless, she is a young voice for change and improvement in Superior. It is likely we have not heard the last of this young lady.

Sarah Mayne

Ms. Hermanson has been working with local film maker Sarah Mayne to promote Superior through their Facebook page #WEARESUPERIOR. Over the course of the past year, Ms. Mayne has created over two dozen videos touting the highlights of living in Superior and encouraging local pride.

The videos of WEARESUPERIOR have been viewed by thousands of people and are really quite inspiring. Leadership from these young, forward thinking Superiorites will surely continue to shape our community for years to come. 

Leadership Program Encourages Youth Involvement

Each year, the Superior/Douglas County Leadership program takes 25-30 emerging and existing local leaders through a  year-long program that educates and networks them throughout the community. Through the program, each years students have the opportunity to actively participate in the community and develop leadership skills that could resonate throughout Superior and Douglas County.

Leadership participants are broken into a half dozen groups who then adopt a community project to work on together. Explore Superior emerged from a Leadership group project in 2013.

The following video was created by Ms. Mayne for one of those groups. Their goal is the creation of a Superior Community Action Council. We will report on that project in a future article.

Superior Community Action Council Project Video

Some new faces, taking the movement to new places! Join us! Like. Share. Spread the word. #WeAreSuperior

Posted by We Are Superior on Friday, June 9, 2017

Explore Superior Economic Development Series

Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce, July 1st
Superior Business Improvement District, June 30th
The Development Association “Grows Biz!”, June 29th
City Planning & Economic Development, June 27th
Small Business Development Center, June 26th
How Development Happens in Superior, June 23rd
Youth Movement Changing Superior, June 22nd

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