Van Nett nominated to become first Indigenous woman to lead Duluth City Council

DULUTH, Minn. – Since its formation in 1956, the Duluth City Council has elected a president each year. And 3rd District Councilor Roz Randorf noted that 52 have been male and 13 female. She also pointed out that zero council presidents have been people of color, including individuals of Indigenous descent.

That’s probably about to change, as on Monday Randorf nominated Vice President and 5th District Councilor Renee Van Nett to serve as the Council’s next president, come 2021.

Randorf said: “Because the role of council president is one of service — service to our citizens and our neighbors that come to be heard, service to us as fellow councilors to create an atmosphere where we can ask questions, and sometimes a lot of them, and a balance between city administration and our role as the check and balance, because good governance creates balance. So, we can strive for that relentlessly to improve the lives of our citizens.

“And Vice President Van Nett is that excellent leader,” Randorf continued. “She makes other people feel bigger, and by that I mean more confident and more capable and more valued. On the surface, she’s quiet and unassuming, but no one garners more respect. She makes time for everyone. She asks good questions. She shoots straight. And when you’re with her, she makes you feel important because of the way she listens, cares and celebrates your strengths over hers.

“I can’t imagine a more humble leader to take us through 2021 into recovery and growth than Vice President Van Nett. I will be supporting her, and I ask for your support as well,” Randorf said.

At large Councilor Derek Medved said he, too, is excited to see Van Nett move into the role of council president, succeeding 1st District Councilor Gary Anderson in the post. For his part, Medved nominated at large Councilor Arik Forsman to serve as vice president in 2021.

Also throwing her support behind the nominations was 5th District Councilor Janet Kennedy, who said: “I see a powerful team and some bookends. And I look forward to moving into that path myself down the road.”


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