August 14 2019
Duluth city councilor Arik Forsman finished atop the crowded At-Large field in Tuesday's Primary Election. Forsman finished first with 3,570 votes. He will move on and compete for one of two seats open in the November 5th General Election.
Forsman spoke with KBJR on Tuesday night and shared his gratitude and appreciation for the support of voters, his team, and his family.
July 31, 2019
Today, the Duluth News Tribune endorsed Councilor Arik Forsman ahead of the August 13th Primary Election.
From the Editorial Board's article:
Forsman was appointed to the council last year, picked from 20 applicants to replace Councilor Elissa Hansen when she resigned to take a new job. He’s an economic development professional for Minnesota Power, which means he brings a “development perspective to the council,” as he stated in a candidate-screening interview with the News Tribune Editorial Board. “I put myself as a middle-left guy but somebody who also believes in business growth.”
Forsman also has a strong record of community service, including on the St. Louis County Civil Service Commission and on the boards of the Greater Downtown Council and Community Action Duluth. This means he brings “a well-rounded perspective,” as he also stated.
“(Serving on the council has) become my passion,” said Forsman. “I love solving problems for people. And they can be big problems. Child care has been an issue that I’ve tackled and really helped to elevate in the community. But a lot of times the work of the council is to solve small problems, like somebody whose street hadn’t been plowed for a few years because it was designated as an alley.”
His priorities? “Tearing down economic barriers is my big one, and I include housing, economic development, and child care in that bucket,” he said. “I think investing in public safety is another really big one for us. … (My) last (priority) is really just getting back to basics.”
Read the full story at this link: https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/opinion/editorials/4043980-Our-ViewEndorsement-Three-stand-out-for-two-At-Large-City-Council-seats
July 9 2019
Today, Duluth city councilor Arik Forsman announced Bridge to Common Ground, a platform that establishes several dozen policies that lay out a trailblazing plan for Duluth’s future. The plan combines Arik’s experience as an economic development professional with countless conversations he has held across the city as both a councilor and an engaged citizen, and he will use these plans to frame his platform for this year’s at-large city council elections.
“Bridge to Common Ground implements innovative plans that make Duluth a leader on issues that make a difference in people’s lives,” he said. “In a time of divisive national politics, this platform rallies us around our shared values, stays laser focused on Duluth’s positive progress, and creates a road map for how neighborhoods, labor, and businesses can all succeed together to build a better future for all Duluthians.”
Bridge to Common Ground includes four focus areas with sets of supporting policies:
Tear Down Economic Barriers: Draws on Arik’s experience as an economic development professional to develop on innovative approaches to expand Duluth’s economy with an emphasis on child care, affordable housing, and family-sustaining jobs
Invest in Public Safety: Expands the capacity of city departments in an inclusive manner that recognizes connections with equity and public health
Build a Healthy City and Environment: Invests in active, healthy lifestyles, protection of resources, and efforts to plan for a changing climate
Get Back to Basics: Expands the city tax base to enable investment and sow future tax growth, and emphasizes stronger communication, faster city processes, and an ongoing commitment to dialogue and an open door to the community
Full details on proposed policies are available on Arik’s campaign website at
https://arikforduluth.com/priorities. Arik welcomes community feedback on his proposals and looks forward to continued conversations as he crosses the city listening to Duluth residents.
Arik will be sharing ideas submitted from Duluthians throughout the campaign.
June 21, 2019
Duluth At-Large City Councilor Arik Forsman announced he has been endorsed by Duluth Police Union Local 807.
"The Duluth Police Union represents the brave men and women who serve our community as police officers and keep us safe," Forsman stated. "The support of the Duluth Police Union is humbling and I am proud to stand strong as a councilor for public safety."
"I have truly enjoyed getting to know many of our officers in my time on the Council and have seen their professionalism on display first-hand. Our officers have embraced transparency measures like body cameras and I will continue to work with them to help be a bridge for making Duluth safer for everyone. They are terrific servants of the public," said Forsman.
"A vote for Councilor Forsman is a vote for public safety," stated President Ryan Morris.
June 21, 2019
Duluth At-Large City Councilor Arik Forsman announced he has been endorsed by OutFront Minnesota.
OutFront Minnesota’s mission is to create a state where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination.
"I am looking forward to working with OutFront to make Duluth a more welcoming place for all!" Forsman stated. "This endorsement means a lot and I am grateful to have this support."
June 9, 2019
AFSCME Council 5 announced today that they have endorsed Councilor Arik Forsman.
"The members of AFSCME do great things for our city and literally keep it running day-in and day-out." Forsman said. "I look forward to leading with them as we move Duluth forward!"
AFSCME Council 5 stated on their Facebook page: "We're proud to endorse two labor champions for Duluth's At Large City Council seats: Councilor Arik Forsman and Council President Noah Hobbs. Both have been strong partners with labor and powerful public servants for all Duluth residents. We're eager to keep working with them for another term. "
May 12, 2019
Duluth At-Large City Councilor Arik Forsman announced he has earned the endorsement of the Duluth Central Labor Body, which is part of the North East Area Labor Council.
"Thank you to the more than 13,800 Duluth Central Labor Body members who serve our community," Forsman said. "I am honored to have your support and look forward to working with you this election season!"
President Beth McCuskey stated "Arik has proven to be a strong ally for union labor. He shows up, speaks up, and walks alongside us as we strive for safe, well-paying jobs for all."
May 5, 2019
Duluth At-Large City Councilor Arik Forsman announced he has been endorsed by Duluth Firefighters Local 101.
"The men and women of Local 101 protect our families, property, and community," said Forsman. "Their support is humbling and I am proud to stand strong as a councilor for public safety."
"We support candidates like Arik who value our mission of protecting lives and property," stated President Pete Johnson. "Councilor Forsman has our endorsement."
April 27, 2019
Duluth At-Large City Councilor Arik Forsman announced he has been endorsed by the Duluth Building & Construction Trades Council.
"The men and women of the Trades literally build our community," Forsman said. "I look forward to supporting opportunities to put them to work and provide for their families."
"Arik is a champion for the men and women of the Duluth Building and Construction Trades," stated President Craig Olson. "We proudly stand with him."
March 12, 2019
DULUTH– In Duluth alone, there are currently 1,100 slots needed to cover the ongoing, shortfall of childcare.
That number could possibly go down as city leaders are exploring a new way to help.
An ordinance up for discussion would allow for childcare providers to set up shop in a mixed business setting within the city of Duluth.
If approved the ordinance would open up the possibility for businesses that are located with certain zones like Air Park, Spirit Valley, Lincoln Park to name a few, to have providers come on their site or within that area so community members would have the opportunity to locate near where their employers are.
Duluth City Councilor Arik Forsman is sponsoring the ordinance.
He says this would open up many doors to the more than 1,000 children that currently are in need of daycare.
“This would allow for a lot more land and building to be in the mix for childcare providers and we are excited at the city to do that in a way that it also addresses safety.. to make sure kids are going where it’s safe for them to be,” said Forsman.
Forsman introduced the proposal during Monday’s city council meeting.
The City Council is expected to vote on the ordinance later this month.
February 13, 2019
Duluth At-Large City Councilor Arik Forsman announced he will seek election for the seat he currently occupies this November. Forsman, 30, has served on the council since his appointment to fill former Council President Elissa Hansen’s vacancy in July 2018.
“I wake up every day thinking about how I can help make life better for the people of Duluth. I am thrilled to announce my campaign to serve for four more years and will work tirelessly to continue earning the trust and respect of Duluthians in every neighborhood of the city.”
Forsman grew up on the Iron Range, where he witnessed economic instability that instilled his desire to build local economies that provide stable, family-sustaining jobs. He carries that forward as a Regional Development Representative with Minnesota Power, where he builds relationships with partners across the region and state to grow the communities he serves.
Forsman’s commitment to Duluth is profound. After falling in love with Duluth while attending UMD, Arik and his wife, Jessica, chose to build and grow their family in this community. Following the birth of their two children, Forsman doubled-down on his commitment to enhancing the city for all to thrive.
Since joining the council, Forsman has championed ways to address the city’s glaring childcare shortage, has worked to build bridges with community leaders through a city-wide listening tour, and was called on to support raising the minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21. His foremost commitment is to laying the foundations for a city that can sustain future generations.
“Serving on the Duluth City Council has been the honor of my life. I remain firmly committed to serving with an open mind, collaborative spirit, positive attitude, respectful approach, and passion for helping champion ideas that lift us all.”
Forsman has also served on the Duluth Public Utilities Commission, Greater Downtown Council Board, The Northspan Group Board, Community Action Duluth Board, Earned Sick & Safe Time Task Force, Animal Allies Finance Committee, and Disability Mentoring Day Committee.
A campaign kick-off event will take place this evening at The Lyric Kitchen and Bar in downtown Duluth.
Quotes from Community Leaders in Support of Arik Forsman
“Forsman brings focus and a spirit of collaboration to the city council. Forsman’s approach to politics is rooted in careful listening and deep dives into the details to seek answers specific to Duluth and its unique neighborhoods, as evidenced by his first few months in office when he did a neighborhood listening tour to ensure his connection to our broad community.”
- Annie Harala, Campaign Co-Chair
“Arik is a public servant after my own heart. He is thoughtful and hard-working. He shows up. He is the rare elected official who demonstrates his contribution not only by what he does, but HOW he does it. That’s the kind of person we need on the City Council, and Arik is the kind of City Councilor I find it easy to support. I am proud to Co-Chair his Election Campaign.”
- Roger Reinert, Campaign Co-Chair
“Arik has hit the ground running. He digs into issues, maintains an open mind, seeks points of compromise and shows up – even when, and especially when, the cameras aren’t there to record it. I’m excited about the work he’s doing and looking forward to voting for him this year.”
- Emily Larson, Mayor of Duluth
February 7, 2019
Editorial - Duluth News Tribune
There is a silent crisis sweeping across Duluth and the Northland. It threatens the quality of life for thousands, makes skilled workers harder to recruit and retain for local businesses, could lead to future disparities in the achievement gap at our schools, and could cap our long-term economic potential if left unaddressed.
That crisis is the lack of affordable, quality child care that affects families in every neighborhood in Duluth.
The Northland Foundation, Blandin Foundation, and IRRRB recently highlighted this growing community concern in a study that found our region has a shortfall of approximately 4,500 child-care slots. When you narrow the focus to just Duluth's zip codes, the results are not good.
There are 1,100 children in and around Duluth currently in need of a licensed child-care opening.
What does that mean for affected families?
It means a family in Piedmont Heights doing the math at the kitchen table to figure out if both parents can continue to work.
It means a single parent in Lakeside praying an older relative who watches the kids doesn't get sick.
It means a family in Morgan Park paying double its mortgage for child care and giving up on savings for college.
While families have struggled with some of these dilemmas for decades, the problem recently has grown worse. The number of home-based child-care providers in the region has fallen by 21 percent since 2011, while the capacity at center-based providers has been essentially treading water.
My wife Jessica and I have experienced the effects of the shortfall firsthand. Our recent search for a provider for our 3-year-old daughter and 8-month-old son has been full of the waiting lists, challenging math, and frustrations many parents know all too well.
As parents struggle to find care for their precious young children, addressing this issue should be of growing interest for local businesses. Unemployment in Duluth is at 2.7 percent. With workers in high demand now and for the foreseeable future, employers who can help solve this critical issue for their employees will have a strategic advantage over their competitors.
Promising new models are popping up elsewhere that could offer new ways for businesses to become engaged, such as employers buying slots from child-care providers to offer to their employees like parking spaces. Providers gain the guarantee of stable, long-term revenues, helping them plan and potentially expand in the future, while businesses can use the slots to recruit and retain workers.
Policymakers in Duluth, St. Paul, and Washington, D.C., also have a significant role in addressing these challenges and should seek opportunities to encourage innovation, take a fresh look at the existing regulatory framework, and invest in the people providing this critical service in our community.
As a new city councilor still learning the ropes, I felt compelled to act when I came into office but was unsure where to start. So I started with a simple thank you. I sent written letters to every home-based child-care provider in Duluth this fall thanking them for the work they do to care for Duluth's children. If you know one of these folks, please do the same. We need them now more than ever.
Solving this crisis will not be easy. But I am hopeful that public-private partnerships, innovative ideas, and political courage at all levels of government to address this issue will make a difference.
Just last month, Mayor Emily Larson and I celebrated the addition of 172 new child-care slots in Duluth at University Nursery School. Kids were laughing, parents were beaming, and the staff was proudly witnessing the realization of a vision accomplished.
Duluth can become a destination city for young families if we take the lead in addressing our child-care shortage. If we can realize this vision, the potential for our kids, families, businesses, and community is unlimited.
So, how do we start? Parents can speak up and share their stories. Businesses can raise their hands even if they don't know exactly how to help. Folks interested in becoming providers or organizations with available physical space can contact First Children's Finance.
And, finally, my door is always open. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (218) 409-8822.
Let's get to work.
Arik Forsman is an at-large Duluth City Council member, economic development professional and parent.