Address: 3811 E. Fourth St.
Family: Parents own a beef farm in Cromwell, lives with his sister, a University of Wisconsin-Superior student.
Employment: Works as an Aflac insurance agent in Superior
Education: Graduated from Cromwell-Wright High School and attended the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
Government and civic experience and organizations: Harp is an active member of the Douglas County Democrats and participated in the get out the vote effort during the fall presidential election with the AFL-CIO. He served as member of the student government with the UWS as a senator and speaker, participated in Superior Days lobbying multiple times, and volunteers as a youth basketball coach with the Superior Basketball Association.
What assets do you have that will help you represent the people of your district?
As a self-employed Aflac agent, I can set my own hours. That means if I have to schedule a forum for people to come meet with me and talk about ... a big issue in the district. If there is a committee meeting, say at 1 p.m., I will be able to make that. I have a really flexible schedule that I believe will allow me to get to as many subcommittees as possible, represent the people ... and make myself as available as possible. I think that's the ultimate goal. You want to make yourself as available to the people you are elected to represent. He said when there are big issues that affect the 2nd District, he would like to have town hall meetings. He said such issues could include a plan to cleanup Howards Pocket and put dredged material on the old Wisconsin Point Landfill, which is in the 2nd District. That would be something I would want to set up where people can come in and voice their concerns to me at a town hall-style meeting. I want them to reach out to me on issues like that if they can't make the town hall meeting.
Why are you running for City Council and what do you hope to accomplish?
I've lived in Superior for about seven years, maybe a little longer now. Coming from a small town — a town of 200 to a city of 27,000 is kind of a big jump for me — but I really do love this city. Particularly, one of my favorite parts of this city is Wisconsin Point. I think it's better than Park Point because it's not developed, because it is natural. I like that you can get decent places around here and they're affordable. It's a great affordable cost of living in Superior. The people here in general, and I've lived in a couple places here ... everywhere I've gone I've really enjoyed the people that I meet. I think we have a good populous here that is really very friendly. We can enjoy Duluth while leaving those problems on that side of the bridge. ... Every city has their issues. Superior has their issues. Every city has room for improvement and growth, and I want to be part of the group that comes in and accomplishes that. We have a good start with the Better City Superior. I want to build off that. I want people to be able to reach out to me — if one person has that idea, 100 people have that idea — get that voice to the proper subcommittee ... to the City Council. Let's give it a try, and see what works. You talk to anyone who has lived here the longest ... they know what Superior was and I think we can build it back up. I think we lost sight of that for a period, but I think we can build it back to what it was.
What do you believe the city's top three priorities should be, and what will you do to help the city achieve those goals?
From a personal standpoint, I think that—and this is in no particular order—I think we need to focus on improving our infrastructure in Superior. The citizens here, they deserve to have a good, reliable infrastructure and safe roadways. I think everyone knows how bad the roadways are. We are starting to improve some. We already improved North Tower; we're working on Belknap now this summer. Now we need to look at some of these side roads where the residents actually live and make sure those get looked at too. ... You don't want to be driving the road, hit a pothole and have your wheel fall off. If we put this priority on better streets, sidewalks, parks, make sure our sewers are maintained, it serves the community well, but it also shows people that might be looking to invest, opening a business in the city, that Superior does have potential for growth. It is a place where you want to open a business.
We really need to push and promote small business growth in this city. We saw how fast a big box retailer like Target and Kmart can leave the area, within a couple months of each other, and we know that hurt the city. Small businesses are essentially the backbone of any city. The reason I like promoting small businesses is a small business owner lives in the city, nearby. He's willing to invest in the city, and what he invests in the city, maybe he hires five or six people. Their families in the city. He said that increases the tax base ... giving the city more money to invest in infrastructure, making the city better ... without taxing and feeing people to death. We have enough burden on the taxpayers as it is. Promoting small business growth works because they stick around, he said. They're not going to be like Target and just leave one day. They're going to stick around. They're going to set roots in the city. Their employees are going to set roots in the city. So you're going to have generations of people that are going to shop in this city. You promote that and you have that bigger revenue stream to work on those improvements in infrastructure.
We need to make sure police and fire departments are allocated the resources that they need, to maintain their current level of operation and maybe improve the operation. Talking about a recent drug bust in the 1900 block of Baxter Avenue, he said imagine if police didn't have the resources to make the bust, or if the fire department didn't have the resources to be fully staff, delaying response times — a difference between the loss of a kitchen or the loss of an entire house in a fire. We need to make sure they have what they need to operate at a level to ensure our citizens have a good sense of safety.
With that being said — those are my big three issues. Elected officials are elected to represent ... should it be that I am elected and I have a bunch of people come to me and say 'hey, this is what we need to focus on' ... well then my three priorities, because you're there to represent the people who elected you, get pushed down and the one the people, the citizens in the 2nd District become the priority ... I think that's how it should be for every elected official. When your citizens reach out to you and say 'hey, this is our biggest concern. What can you do?' your job is to be on that council and subcommittees to help move those concerns forward, help get those concerns voiced. He said that means leaving his personal agenda at the door to achieve the people's goals.
He encourage people to contact him at (218) 590-7406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.