Two Duluth Councilors Seek Council Presidency Seat

Noah Hobbs, Joel Sipress Got Head To Head

DULUTH, Minn. – An annually rotating council presidency is tradition in the city of Duluth, and Joel Sipress –the vice president of the city council running for council president says, usually, an experienced council member takes on that leadership role.

“Every year we elect a new city council president for the coming year,” said Sipress. “It’s a challenging complex job that can only really be learned by being on the council.”

But this year, that process is being challenged for reasons Noah Hobbs, a member of the council also running to become president, calls a philosophical divide in what the role of the council is.

“I’m running for to make sure that we as a council stay focused on the issues at hand,” said Hobbs.

Hobbs believes the council has important conversations on issues reaching beyond the city, but wants to see more focus on issues that affect Duluthians directly.

“I think the council should focus a large part more on the housing shortage we have, public safety, we have streets, the opioid epidemic, which is not unique to Duluth, but is certainly killing Duluthians on a fairly regular basis,” said Hobbs.

But Sipress says the city council has two main jobs.

To run the council meetings in a fair and balanced way, and to help with communication between the council and the mayor’s administration.

“It’s not a position that’s traditionally used as a stepping stone for higher office, it’s not a long-term position, it’s not a position where you use that authority, to push a particular agenda,” said Sipress.

And Sipress, who has been on the council for three years, believes Hobbs is using an issues platform to win the presidency

“I think it speaks to his inexperience. He just finished up his first year on the city council, so he hasn’t had the experience of working with different city council presidents, to kind of learn the importance of that sort of non-political role of the city council president,” said Sipress.

Hobbs believes as president he could effectively bring attention to the issues the city is facing, and work with the other councilors to get things done.

“I think I have the skill sets to move us forward and I have a council agenda for 2017 and early 2018,” said Hobbs.


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