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Election 2013

Art Johnston portrait

School Board Elections 2013!

General Election November 5!!

We Won!!!

Thanks to you, my supporters, we won by a large margin on November 5. This is a victory for western Duluth citizens, honesty, accountability, and good governance.

I would particularly like to thank my inner-circle campaign team of Jane (first lady), Classie, Marcia, Doris, Loren, Harrison, Leisa, Josh, Ron, Steve, Jean, Ron, Denette, Theresa, Barb, Gordie, Rogier, Chris, Wendy, Brad, Alan, and Mike (sorry I couldn't list everyone!). With them, the campaign turned into a very enjoyable, high-achieving, supportive team effort. Almost all of you I've met because of the campaign, and we have become true friends. This team is the best, and we are a very dedicated group that wants to make Duluth a better place, starting with our schools. I would have never made it without you. The diversity of our team gives true meaning to "non-partisan" elections.

And this was a victory by and for the people of western Duluth, and they have spoken loud and clear that they want honesty, accountability, and someone who thinks independently.  It is my responsibly to continue representing them and promoting these values.

The very mean, negative campaigning against me by the Duluth News Tribune, "leaders" of the DFL, the labor bosses, the Chamber of Commerce, and the political machine of Duluth all failed.

This new board will be light-years ahead of the old board. We have to remember that we have made significant progress in improving the board, because in just four years, we have got rid of five of the worst imaginable school board members. And in this election, the people of Duluth soundly defeated the only two candidates who were strong Red Plan promoters from the past: my opponent and Nancy Nilsen. The only remaining and original Red Plan supporter on the Board is Seligo-Punyko.

With the people of Duluth and the continued support and ideas from you, I think that this new board will be able to make improvements; and we will move toward effective, honest, and representative governance in Duluth.

Thanks for all of your support.  I will be needing your help and ideas in the future. We have a lot of work to do.

Original campaign statement:

I’m a professional engineer and have degrees in civil engineering and mathematics (from UWS).

I have been endorsed by the people of the 4th District, have enjoyed representing them, and expect to be reelected.

We don’t need politicians for school board seats; we need people that know where the money comes from, how the budget works, and can relate to the people in the 4th District.

We all know we have beautiful schools, but we also still owe $394 million with much of that debt being paid for out of the classrooms—this is wrong.

That is why we have eliminated 180-teacher positions, a reason why we have an achievement gap, and a reason why we have a low graduation rate. We have lost 1600 students (and the $15 million revenue that goes along with them)—why?, because the parents are distrustful of our schools.

It is not good enough to say that we have to eliminate the achievement gap, lower class sizes, and raise our graduation rates—we have to do something about it. And we have to understand budgets.We have gone from a $25 million reserve fund to only $1 million this year.  We are very close to bankruptcy.

So we have the worst of two worlds:  we have raised local taxes repeatedly; and we still have large classes sizes, academic and financial problems. 

I’m the only person on the board who questions why we have gotten to this point, the only one that understands the problems, and the only one that has solutions.

I bring honesty and I listen to the people I represent—be they students, staff, or taxpayers.

I want to be on a school board that gives leadership. I have the courage to ask questions; the courage to listen, and the courage to take action.

I have the western Duluth tradition of not being afraid to take on and question authority. And I have the northern Minnesota tradition of doing the right thing; and making our world, city, and school a better place.



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