Mr. Welty-

Let me see if I have my facts straight - Your a republican, your a current member of the Duluth School Board, and your challenging Doug Johnson for the SD 6 State Senate seat. Assuming I am correct, I will continue.

It has been almost 9 years since I left Duluth, but I dont think things have changed enough that I cant speak intelligently when it comes to local politics.

I think you will agree with me that in order to defeat Doug Johnson you will need to carry a minimum of 90% of the Republican base of SD 6, plus a large number of Independents and Democrats. I think we also can agree that a large portion of the Republican base resides in the eastern part of Duluth.

With those facts in mind, can you please answer me this question?

How to you plan to get elected , when you alienate both your base, and huge numbers of independents and democrats, by proposing to close Duluth East High School?

Forgetting for a moment that Duluth East has the strongest Alumni base, consistenly is a STATE (not to mention local) leader in Academics, Arts, and Athletics - its simply does not make good political sense for a candidate for State Senate to propose closing the major high school located in a 
neighborhood that is essential to his success.

Can you please explain your line of thinking to me?



My Reply  after which B contacted me and we had a very cordial conversation. He disagreed with me but acknowledged the merit of the debate.

Dear B,

I could not have stated the political dilemma I face more succinctly. Of course, running for the State Senate while advocating the end of the district's most beloved and prestigious high school is a fool's errand. No, let me amend that. It is the act of a leper crashing a debutante ball. 

Needless to say, when I challenged Doug Johnson last year I did not have such a campaign platform in mind. Recent events however, have turned our district on its head. As a school board member I have a responsibility to help our community find a solution to these present difficulties. The decision we make will mightily affect our schools and community for years to come. 

It so happens that Duluth has one too many high schools. Which high school should be closed is a political issue of course, but one could hope it could also be an educational issue. I have made my arguments for closing one high school. It just so happens I've nominated East. I don't wish to sacrifice our tenth elementary school just to keep three high schools when we only need two. It is true that elementary school alumni are not usually as strong a strong lobby as high school alumni but there are other considerations. Our city's elementary schools are a remarkable selling point for people wishing to move to Duluth. Should we shrink from making a sound decision because of our unwillingness to shatter the memories of one high school's alumni?

I have never much cared for Pitt's law. Perhaps you've heard of it. It goes something like this: the first duty of a legislator is to get elected. I may very well compromise my slim hopes for becoming a state senator by doing what's sensible but unpopular. Still, I think I have a duty to do what right. Do you disagree?

All the best,

Harry Welty