DULUTH — Attracting new businesses to the Duluth area is a priority for several city council candidates vying for two seats in the Nov. 5 election.
Seth Grey, 31, who is running for Post 2 held by incumbent Jim Dugan, said the way to do that is to take care of existing businesses.
“As a city, we should be known for focusing on doing whatever it takes to serve our local businesses,” he said. “It starts with listening to what your businesses have to say. Literally walking into a local business and asking the question, What can we do better for you? Listening to the good, the bad, and the ugly. From there, it’s seeking to see how the City can adjust to the needs of a business. Business owners know what they need to do to become successful, but often are limited by the constraints of a city regulation. We can serve businesses by being more flexible from the start. In turn a business will see the city as advocate, not an obstacle.”
Louis Tseng, 42, who is seeking Post 1 held by incumbent Marsha Anderson Bomar, is also focused on businesses.
“The top issue I want to address is building our business tax base by attracting high wage paying, low impact firms to Duluth,” Tseng said. “As it stands, we are not competitive with Johns Creek or Suwanee for the best and brightest small businesses.”
Dugan, who is seeking a fourth term as a councilman, said continuing to encourage new development and building partnerships with existing merchants and businesses, both in the downtown area and along the city’s outlying corridors, are immediate goals.
“We need to showcase our city in all means possible and work with the Gwinnett Chamber to promote private development and incubate startup businesses,” Dugan said. “(I would) advocate more annexation of businesses and (a) possible hotel/motel located near downtown or along our corridors. These additions would increase our tax base and allow us to maintain and improve existing city services without the need to increase property taxes.”
Dugan is also being challenged by Kirkland Carden, 25, who said bringing the right kinds of businesses to Duluth is important.
“From day one I would work to preserve and improve the quality of life for Duluth residents, by targeting the right kinds of businesses to strengthen the local economy that will also provide recreation and convenience for residents,” he said.
If elected, Carden also pledges to donate a portion of his compensation for serving on city council to a local charity or organization.
“As a Duluth High School graduate, I am a product of this community and I have a strong desire to give back to the community,” he said. “I believe that with words should come actions; therefore, if elected, I promise to donate 20 percent of my annual compensation to a charity or organization that directly benefits the city of Duluth residents.”
A priority for Bomar, 61, who is seeking a third term as a council member, is creating vibrancy in each of the “character areas” of the city. Taking several steps toward this end, Bomar would analyze what is in the character area and what is possible, work with members of the areas to develop a vision and work with city staff and the members of the area to highlight opportunities, ensure business friendly policies are in place, direct attention to the area and tell success stories.
“This parallels a lot of the work I do in my job where I facilitate discussions in communities to identify near, mid and long-term needs and opportunities,” Bomar said. “Identify what is in the City’s basket and what is in the land owner or business owners’ basket to address and (make) sure everyone understands their role.”
David Cossette, who is also seeking election to Post 1 along with Carden and Bomar, said as an elected official, he would serve as a voice for the people.
“We must engage our citizens by listening to their concerns and cultivating an open environment with more opportunities for citizens to voice their opinions prior to a final vote by council,” Cossette said. “A lack of official information leaves all of us subjected to the damaging effects of rumors and conjecture. As your representative I will improve communications between your elected officials and you.”
Incumbent Billy Jones is running unopposed for council Post 3.
Office: Duluth City Council -- Post: 1
Marsha Anderson Bomar (i)
Education: Master’s degree in engineering, Princeton University; master’s degree in transportation planning and engineering and bachelor’s degree in mathematics, Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute
Occupation: Senior principal, transportation and executive director of Netweaving, Stantec
Political experience: Two terms on Duluth City Council, a variety of appointed positions
Family: Husband Lucien Bomar; children Charles Anderson and wife Aubrey, Ross Anderson, Alexis Anderson, stepchildren Tara, Heath and wife Jacqueline and Adam and wife Liz; step-grandchildren Wesley, Luke and Alexandria
Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration
Occupation: Account manager
Political experience: None
Family: Information not provided
Education: Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering
Occupation: Enterprise architect
Political experience: None
Family: Wife, Jacqueline; son Benjamin, 5
Duluth City Council -- Post: 2
Education: Associate degree in audio production, Art Institute of Atlanta
Occupation: Full-time student at Georgia State University
Political experience: Duluth Zoning Board of Appeals, 2012 to present
Age: Information not provided
Education: Bachelor’s degree in business management, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Occupation: Senior business analyst
Political experience: Current Duluth City Council member serving third term
Family: Wife, Susan; children Ashley Dugan and Matt Dugan
Education: Bachelor’s degree in communications, Emmanuel College, Franklin Springs, Ga.
Occupation: Director of public relations, In Touch Ministries
Political experience: None
Family: Wife, Hannah; sons Chase, 4, Charlie, 2 and twin daughters Sydney and Savannah, 10 months old