Joseph Matthes

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Joseph Matthes
Joseph Matthes.jpg
Board Member, Duluth School Board, District 1
Former candidate
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
High schoolDuluth East Senior High School
Bachelor'sUniversity of Minnesota-Duluth
Master'sUniversity of Minnesota-Duluth
OtherHarvard University - Kennedy School
ProfessionLabor representative
Campaign website
Joseph Matthes campaign logo
Joseph Matthes was a candidate for the District 1 seat on the Duluth school board. Matthes received enough votes to pass through the September 10 primary election but lost in the general election on November 5, 2013.


Joseph Matthes resides in Duluth, Minnesota. Matthes graduated from Duluth East Senior High School before earning his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and his Master's degree in Advocacy and Political Leadership from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in addition to completing the Executive Leadership in State and Local Government program at the Harvard University Kennedy School.[1] He is employed as a labor representative by AFSCME Council 65.[2]



See also: Duluth Public Schools elections (2013)


Joseph Matthes lost to Rosie Loeffler-Kemp in his bid to win the District 1 seat in the general election on November 5, 2013. Matthes and Kemp defeated Marcia Stromgren in the September 10 primary election to continue on to the general election.


Duluth Public Schools, District 1 General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngRosie Loeffler-Kemp 56.1% 3,317
     Nonpartisan Joseph Matthes 43.4% 2,563
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.5% 32
Total Votes 5,912
Source: Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, "Results for Selected Contests in School District No. 709 - Duluth," accessed December 18, 2013

Duluth Public Schools, District 1 Primary Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngRosie Loeffler-Kemp 53.7% 1,086
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJoseph Matthes 26% 526
     Nonpartisan Marcia Stromgren 20.3% 410
Total Votes 2,022
Source: Duluth, Minnesota, "Summary Report," accessed October 24, 2013


Joseph Matthes reported $2,695.00 in contributions and $2,714.20 in expenditures to Duluth Public Schools, which left his campaign with $19.20 in debt.[3]


Joseph Matthes received endorsements for his campaign from AFSCME Council 65, the Duluth Building and Construction Trades Council, former City Councilor Jeff Anderson and the Duluth News Tribune.[4]

Campaign themes

Matthes' campaign website listed the following campaign themes for 2013:[5]

Reducing our class sizes

We have class sizes that are, on average, above the recommended levels set by the Minnesota Department of Education.

We need to do better. It's important that we work to pass our operating levy and put the money in to the classrooms by hiring teachers and bringing our class sizes down to recommended levels.

Increasing curriculum options

A student should never have to choose between taking a music class and taking an honors class. We need to offer classes at a variety of hours in the day in order to allow our students to receive the education they deserve.

It is important that we restore the hours we've taken from our kids and expand our curriculum options to allow our students to receive the best and broadest education possible.

The Achievement Gap

We're graduating about 70% of our students, but only around 40% of our students of color.

We recognize the problem, but we need to enact educational priorities to allow every student to succeed. The achievement gap begins before students enter the public school system, and it is hard for those who start from behind to catch up.

It's important for our community to reach out to parents and caregivers and give them the tools they need to prepare their children for school. Once our kids are in school, we need to work with those who need the extra help to bring them up to the levels of their peers.

The Community

After knocking on hundreds and hundreds of doors, I've heard first-hand that many people still have some issues regarding the trust they have in the Duluth School Board.

I will be a trustworthy and honest community advocate. I promise to listen to the concerns and questions of our parents and neighbors. We may not always agree, but you will always know where I stand.

The Red Plan

I understand that some of our neighbors still have reservations about the Red Plan. It is important for our community members to understand that the Red Plan construction is completed, and we must move to a position of doing the best for our students.

We are a strong community, and we understand that it's our responsibility to provide our kids with the best education possible. We will move forward together, and we will make the Duluth Public Schools the best in Minnesota!

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.

What was at stake?

There were four seats on the school board up for election on November 5, 2013. The only incumbent who filed for re-election was District 4 member Art Johnston, who faced challenger David Bolgrien and who defeated Justin Perpich in the primary election. District 1 incumbent Ann Wasson did not file for the election, which left her seat vacant for candidates Joseph Matthes and Rosie Loeffler-Kemp, both of whom defeated Marcia Stromgren in the primary. Neither at-large members Mary Cameron or Tom Kasper ran for re-election, so two newcomers won their seats. Neither Joshua Bixby nor Loren Martell received enough votes to proceed to the general election, where Annie Harala, Henry L. Banks, Harry Welty and Nancy Nilsen competed for the seats.

About the district

See also: Duluth Public Schools, Minnesota
Duluth Public Schools is located in St. Louis County, Minnesota
Duluth Public Schools is located in St. Louis County, Minnesota. The county seat of St. Louis County is Duluth. According to the 2010 United States Census, St. Louis County is home to 200,319 residents.[6]


St. Louis County underperformed in comparison to the rest of Minnesota in terms of its median rates of average household income, poverty rate and higher education achievement in 2011. The median household income in St. Louis County was $45,399 compared to $58,476 for the state of Minnesota. The poverty rate in St. Louis County was 16.0% compared to 11.0% for the entire state. The United States Census Bureau also found that 25.5% of St. Louis County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 31.8% in Minnesota.[6]

Racial Demographics, 2012[6]
Race St. Louis County (%) Minnesota (%)
White 93.0 86.5
Black or African American 1.5 5.5
American Indian and Alaska Native 2.3 1.3
Asian 1.0 4.4
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Z 0.1
Two or More Races 2.2 2.2
Hispanic or Latino 1.3 4.9

Presidential Voting Pattern[7]
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 73,378 39,131
2008 77,351 38,742
2004 77,958 40,112
2000 64,237 35,420

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100.0%. Each column will add up to 100.0% after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages.[8]

Recent news

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See also

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