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Duluth steps into new era under Mayor Emily Larson

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Emily Larson was sworn in as Duluth's newest mayor Monday evening, becoming the first woman to hold the office.

There's a new optimism in the city, Larson tells MPR News, fueled by job growth and balanced budgets that were not seen in the years prior to Don Ness' two terms as mayor.

But there are concerns that some neighborhoods are being left out of Duluth's revitalization, MPR notes. Larson, the former city council president, wrote in a News Tribune column last week that as mayor she wants to ensure "...that our success and opportunity is shared across the entire city and with all neighbors."

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Larson, 42, is a St. Paul native who moved to Duluth 25 years ago to attend the College of St. Scholastica.

She won the mayor's race by garnering 72 percent of the votes cast in November.

The Star Tribune has a gallery of photos from Monday night's swearing in ceremony, attended by Larson's husband, Doug Zaun, and their 12 and 15-year-old sons.

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The occupant of the mayor's office has a significance that seems to extend beyond the city limits. Blogger Aaron Brown, who writes from northeastern Minnesota's Iron Range, says Duluth's mayor tends to be a figurehead of sorts for the whole region.

The continued popularity of Ness has been widely noted during his waning days in office. He announced last week that he and his wife, Laura, are starting a new economic development business.

Ness tells MPR that Larson is one of the most impressive people he knows."Emily is much more of a people person," Ness says. "She connects well, and has the energy and vitality to do that well in a way that wasn't a strength of mine."

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