St. Louis County Commissioner Frank Jewell, who has represented the county’s First District since 2011, has announced plans to retire at the end of his current term, and will not seek re-election this fall. The first district covers the central portion of Duluth from the mall area to Park Point.
Some of his most recent initiatives include advocating for the creation of the St. Louis County Production Incentive Program in partnership with the Upper Midwest Film Office. He’s also been an active member in the Heart of the Continent Partnership, which promotes the economic, cultural and natural health of the lakes, forests and communities on the Minnesota/Ontario border.
Jewell considers his greatest accomplishment while on the County Board to have helped resolve the problem of Minnesota School Trust Lands that were locked within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This involved lobbying local, state and federal officials and working with local stakeholders, former DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, The Conservation Fund, the Forest Service. As a result, the Forest Service now is in the process of buying and trading the last 83,000 acres of trust land in the BWCA.
He was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to the Minnesota Clean Water Council in 2011, and has served on this advisory group ever since, including as Chair for the last four years.
“As I reflect back over the years, I am so thankful for my family – my wife Kathleen, daughters Ora and Meaghan, and son-in-law Olivier – for all the support they have given me over the years and for sharing me with the public,” said Jewell. “I have absolutely enjoyed serving on the county board, and it’s been a tremendous honor to represent the people of my district. I will cherish this final year and intend to bring the same high level of energy to my work as every other year.
“But I also am also looking forward to the next chapter and the opportunity for travel long delayed, the volunteering that was not possible when working, and more time with grandchildren who live in California. I plan to stay active in Duluth and will continue serving where I’m able.”
Jewell first moved to Duluth in 1968 to attend college. He worked for St. Louis County on two occasions: from 1974 to 1979 when the county operated a Crisis Shelter, and from 1984 to 2000 in Senior Adult Services and later as the Violence Prevention Coordinator.
His first venture into elected office was with the Duluth City Council from 1987-1991. Though, aside from his work with St. Louis County, he is perhaps best known for helping found Men as Peacemakers in 1995. He served as co-chair of the non-profit for five years and as its Executive Director for 11 years.
Additionally, Jewell was one of the founding board members of both Center City Housing and Duluth LISC.