End Of An Era: The Legacy of Mayor Don Ness
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Mayor Don Ness was born to a father who was a pastor of a small church and a mother who worked at a battered women’s shelter, and grew up on the Hillside Neighborhood in Duluth.
He was introduced in to politics while attending the University of Minnesota Duluth, and served as the student body president.
“I saw politics and government services…kind of the combination of my interest in finance and economics, and the values of my parents of helping people and giving back to the community,” said Ness.
In 1997 Congressman Jim Oberstar hired Ness to be his campaign manager, and in the fall of 1999, he was elected in to the Duluth City Council. In the eight years that he was there, Ness became frustrated with the time the council spent on what he calls, “petty politics.”
With the intent to make a positive change, Ness ran for mayor and was elected out of 12 candidates in 2007. He ran for a second term in 2011, and became the first mayor in the history of the city to run unchallenged.
“The voters trusted me to take on this responsibility,” he said, “It’s been a great honor and a significant challenge.”
With unemployment being the lowest it’s been in more than a decade, his job approval rating by the residents of Duluth is at an eye popping 89 percent.
But in October of last year, Ness announced on his social media that he would not be running for 3rd term, and though he’s not sure what he will be doing, he says it most likely won’t be in politics.