Ashlie Castaldo, recapping the 2023 Duluth election – "As this election cycle becomes a not so distant memory, I want to thank each and every candidate for stepping up and forward to run for elected office. Public service is a calling to give back to the community, and it is not intended to be done lightly. I look forward to working with Mayor Reinert and the slate of new and incumbent councilors in the future.
Even though my journey did not end past the primary, I have never been more proud of the work I was able to accomplish in such a short time or felt more convicted that my journey is one of serving this city in some capacity. I am truly grateful to Carpenters 361, the Duluth News Tribune, and Run For Something for their supportive endorsements of my campaign. And I was glad to end the campaign volunteering for our incoming mayor.
This election resulted in a strong pendulum swing towards pragmatism and getting the basics of government done well and effectively. And as heavy pendulum swings right and left, it eventually succumbs to a moderating force. Leadership is not merely built on checking off a list of basics as it also cannot be about solely making a community feel good. I am a pragmatic progressive, and I see a way forward with those ideals.
One of the key values I took away from this election was the value of listening. Whether it was hosting a meet and greet, sitting down for coffee with constituents, or a conversation during door knocking, citizens just want to know that their frustrations matter, and that passions are being heard. Support disappears when communication or listening no longer feels like a two way street.
This election was also a referendum on the character of our city. Duluthians displayed what makes us exceptional by choosing to uplift our police officers, firefighters, and city workers. Those who support us deserve our support. By investing in housing, streets, childcare, and economic development that empowers all of us, we can reach the finish line together. We can do the basics in a way that equitably reaches all of us and respects the experiences we hold.
My voice was not one of the ones chosen this time, but I was thrilled to run with so many candidates who have the best intentions. I thank everyone who supported me with a vote, taking a sign or even a moment to chat. It was great to see such a high turn out – a sign that we all appreciate and are committed to City Hall being the best that it can be."