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Cloquet mayor files for second term

Cloquet Mayor Dave Hallback gives a short speech announcing he will run for a second term in front of a crowd of supporters at City Hall on Tuesday, May 22. Jana Peterson/

Flanked by a crowd of more than 50 supporters on the front lawn of City Hall on Tuesday, May 22, Cloquet Mayor Dave Hallback announced he is running for a second term.

"With our new administrator, Aaron Reeves, at the helm, we are seeing new ideas and savings for the City at many levels," the mayor said. "With Aaron running our great city, I look forward to working with him, his staff, department heads, city councilors and community leaders as we all strive in continuing to make Cloquet great."

During a brief speech, Hallback highlighted some of the positive things that have happened in Cloquet over the past three and a half years since he took office: the new middle school, the revitalization of many of the city's parks — and the recently approved skate park coming this summer ― as well as the "commitment to keep our workforce local with our institution of a PLA (project labor agreement) ordinance."

That commitment was reciprocated by the many Duluth Building and Trades union members in the crowd wearing hard hats and safety vests who cheered along with others dressed in "Re-elect Hallback for Mayor" T-shirts and regular street clothes.

A 27-year veteran of the Cloquet Police Department, Hallback was born and raised in Cloquet. He is married to Kelley and has two children, Jake and Meghan, and three stepchildren: Kaitlin, Karlee and Kaleb. Recently, 9-month-old granddaughter Ellie joined the family.

Hallback said he ran after retiring from the police department four years ago because he wanted to continue serving the community he loves. He now works full time as a court security officer in the Duluth Federal building.

Hallback stressed he's a proponent of the police and fire departments and city workers.

"Cloquet is as good as it is because we have a really good workforce behind us," he said after the speech. "Hopefully, we will continue to go that way. Cloquet should be a place people want to live, work and raise a family."

Hallback defeated long-time mayor Bruce Ahlgren in the November 2014 election.

"There was definitely a learning curve, but I think we accomplished some goals," Hallback said. "We have top-notch police and fire and a new school. A new police station and City Hall coming in the future. And this could be the site of a future fire station," he added, indicating City Hall behind him.

Regarding the frequent 4-3 divide on the council that started during the investigation of former police chief Steve Stracek, Hallback said that was a situation in which nobody "won." But he believes the current police chief, Jeff Palmer, has done an excellent job.

"And as a council, we have to continue to try to work together," he said. "And mend fences if they're broken."

Hallback is optimistic about the future of the city.

"I want to keep this ship moving forward," he said.