Superior Mayoral Candidates Cite Priorities For Economic Development

Candidates Outline Ideas For Improving Business Climate


The four candidates running for Superior mayor talked about business, housing, diversity and more during a mayoral debate hosted by Wisconsin Public Radio at UW-Superior on Jan. 30.

Candidates shared their visions for business and Superior’s economy. Superior City Councilor Mike Herrick said economic development will be his top priority if elected.

“What we need to do with economic development, as been mentioned, is to continue growth of our downtown area,” he said. “And, it’s been good. It’s been growing one shop at a time. Of course, also looking at the Better City Initiative – that will be a great project. That will bring more people downtown – retail businesses.”

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Superior City Councilor Brent Fennessey said it does look a little grim for business in Superior. Fennessey said the city has never worked harder than it is right now to bring in businesses.

“We are a resilient city. I think we have the opportunity to move the city forward and fill it with retail,” he said. “It is not going to be easy. It is going to take some creativity. It’s going to take some outside sources. It’s going to take working with WEDC. It’s going to take working with WHEDA, and it’s going to take a lot of creativity from our planning department.”

However, Douglas County Board Vice Chairman Jim Paine disagreed with Fennessey. Paine said the economy does not look grim. He said there’s been a lot of investment in the city in recent years.

“In fact, most of the business that develop here from the smallest shops to the largest industries are homegrown,” he said. “They are built by the people that live here and are already invested in here. So my vision as mayor is to focus especially on our downtown and to continue that development, push it north, but to make it for the people that live here, to continue to invest in their community so that we are all helping this community grow.”

Superior Planning Commissioner Kalee Hermanson said she agrees with Paine. Hermanson said the city should also go after large manufacturing jobs.

“Finding partner businesses, so not bringing in a ton of competition to others. But what can we give? What can we bring in as an asset to some of these other manufacturing companies down on Connors Point or Calumet? We need to work dedicated hours and build a development team that is dedicated to work all hours of the day, try to bring these business in,” she said.

The four candidates will be on the ballot for the primary election on Feb. 21. The two candidates with the most votes will face each other in the April general election.