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Janet Kennedy Celebrates Historic City Council Victory

Emily Ness
Updated: November 10, 2019 10:59 PM

Janet Kennedy’s election to represent District Five of Duluth’s City Council is a milestone for past, present and future generations. Serving as the city’s first African American councilor, she brings with her a lifetime of experience that she hopes will add to Duluth’s growth and development at large, as well as, pave the way for those to come.

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“I look forward to others coming after me. I’m just number one. I’m looking forward to number two, number three, number four and number five and beyond,” Kennedy said.

As a lifelong resident of West Duluth, Kennedy brings with her knowledge about the city and expertise in a variety of fields. This was showcased at her ‘Make A Difference' campaign celebration on Sunday.

“There are several hats that I wore throughout the campaign and that I’ll wear when I’m making decisions and making policy decisions,” Kennedy said during a speech on Sunday. “Not just through the lens of an African American woman, but though the lens of an African American woman who’s raised her kids, who owns her home, who has three degrees, who works on a lot of committees, who rides a motorcycle.”

Kennedy’s supporters described her as well rounded, magnetic and somewhat of a pioneer.

“When I went out with her campaigning, what I was impressed with was how she was able to make a rapport with everybody in her district,” Jerri Williams, friend and supporter said. “She’s got a work ethic that won’t quit.”

Over the years, Kennedy’s work ethic is something that many have come to know her by. This election marked her third campaign.

“It feels good for myself. It feels good for my family, it feels good for my support team—all the mentors that helped me. It feels good to the greater community just to see me being seated,” Kennedy said.

And, not three, but four generations were present to witness it.

“Being her daughter and hearing that and I have four girls myself who are growing up to where they are now able to say: ‘My nana was the first African American to sit and to be a woman’—it’s very amazing, very powerful,” Jillian Hogan, daughter said.

Kennedy’s mother, Annie Kennedy said “I am a very proud mother and I thank God most of all.”

Moving forward, Kennedy plans to address community centered economic development and politics that improve transportation and health outcomes in West Duluth.

“I feel like she’s going to leave a mark and I’m very proud of her for doing that and I feel like I have a big shoe to fill,” Hogan said. “I think she’ll bring to the council so much experience and perspective,” Williams added.

Kennedy hopes that her legacy will be one that inspires and welcomes others to the city of Duluth and to the pursuit of their dreams.

“I am hopeful that we are going to continue on this path of making sure we have leadership that reflects our community because we make better policies that way,” Kennedy said. “And hope for the future that other kids will be able to dream and do the same thing I did someday—win an election if that’s what their path is.”

Kennedy will begin her role as City Councilor for the Fifth District on January 1st, 2020.

Credits

Emily Ness

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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