Voters in Superior’s 10th District face a choice as Esther Dalbec steps down after more than a decade of service on the City Council.
Two candidates have stepped forward to fill the seat: Lindsey Graskey and Kevin Keener Jr.
Graskey is the general manager, creative director and part proprietor of the Spirit Room. Keener, who helped restore North End Days, works for Essentia Health.
“I am running because of my passion for our city and its success, my business’ dedication to the district, and the relationships I’ve gained from living in the North End,” Graskey said. “Additionally, the Jim Dalton family reached out to me in December and encouraged me to run while he was struggling with health issues. His family felt I was aligned with what Jim Dalton would want for the North End.
"For these reasons, I believe I’m the right person to pick up the torch to continue representing the North End of town," Graskey said.
Dalton, owner of JD Electric, had announced plans to run for the 10th District seat in late November but was unable to follow through.
“I am running for City Council in the 10th District to give the residents of our district a voice,” Keener said. “Many North Enders feel we have been neglected for far too long. We feel that we deserve the same respect as every citizen of Superior gets.”
The candidate who is elected April 6 will have the opportunity to shape city policy as the council considers its future with development of an updated comprehensive plan that serves as a guide to development through 2040.
“The 10th District needs to no longer be forgotten about when it comes to roads, sidewalks, streetlights and recreation,” Keener said. “We have a variety of demographics that range from lifelong North Enders to new residents calling North End home. We all deserve the same respect and upkeep shown to the rest of the city for the last decade or more. In recent years, the city has ignored many areas of the current comprehensive plan. I will ensure the comprehensive plan maintains and boosts the outlook of the North End in a way future councils will not ignore.”
Graskey said she wants to make sure District 10 is included in the plan.
“Let’s not forget the North End,” Graskey said. “I want to make sure we have a great turn out of opinion from our side of the city and be considered in the next 20 years. It’s time to be recognized more for our waterfront potential, to honor our historical neighborhood, and continue to support our businesses and their investment.
"We will need to treat this plan as the utmost important opportunity to move our city boldly," she said. "Let’s make sure we invest into the community for answers first over the community coming to us with answers.”
Superior is in the early stages of deciding whether it will invest in a municipal-owned fiber-optic network. The proposal would reduce the cost of internet, but it comes with a $31 million price tag to build out the network. It would be paid for by users of the network, not the taxpayers.
“I believe that most people agree connectivity is an essential part of daily life,” Graskey said. “Connectivity should be part of the public domain and not only to those who can afford it. We are asking a large investment to constituents where they should feel confident, not confused, on what this project means for themselves along with our community as a whole.
"We as a council need to recognize our decision will need to be as informative to us in order to gain a commitment at the percentage of investors being asked to make this a successful venture," Graskey said.
“This could literally be a $31 million decision,” Keener said. “For a decision of this magnitude, I need to hear from the residents of the 10th District first. I would not even consider a vote without having multiple town hall meetings to hear your thoughts. I seek to bring the voice of the 10th District to City Hall, not just my own.”
About Lindsey Graskey
Address: 1305 Broadway St.
Family: Father, Bill Graskey, and mother, Penny Graskey
Business/employment: General manager, creative director, part proprietor of Spirit Room
Education: Bachelor of Science degrees from University of Wisconsin-Superior in Mass Communications, emphasis in Public Relations and Marketing, and Mixed Media/Public Art form.
Government/civic experience or organizations: Mayor’s Festival Committee; Nemadji Golf Course Committee; board member on Douglas County Historical Society; weekly volunteer for Salvation Army food distribution; volunteer through Summer Parks & Rec Program to develop children’s art programs using different mediums; co-chair of nonprofit East End Family Fun Days; organized and implemented numerous fundraising initiatives over past seven years with raising thousands of dollars for Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse, Humane Society of Douglas County, Superior Young Professionals, Superior Mentor and other organizations.
What would you like to tell voters?
“My interest in running for City Council is to make sure North End is noticed, invested in, and heard. I’ve been door-knocking or meeting with residents every day since I announced I was running. This has not been easy but well worth the time. I plan to stay connected to residents to ensure their voices are elevated when I make decisions on the council. What our district faces either positive or negative, is uniquely and historically rooted in our city. I appreciate that about the North End and am the best candidate to authentically represent it.”
About Kevin D. Keener Jr.
Address: 1022 Hughitt Ave.
Family: Wife, Sara, and children, Netahlia, Madison, Abby
Business/employment: Essentia Health
Education: Law enforcement degree from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
Government/civic experience or organizations: Superior Elks Exalted Ruler 2020-21 and 2021-22 (2020 Wisconsin Exalted Ruler of the Year). He and his family have adopted Benny Peterson Park for the past four years. Member of United Steelworkers Union 9460. Union member for over a decade. Co-founder of North End Days and former president of Superior Activities that helped establish the new North End Days.
What would you like to tell voters?
“I would love the opportunity to work for you. I am passionate and have been passionate about the North End since the day I have moved to our neighborhood. I will continue this passion and make sure that we get the respect that we deserve.”