DULUTH — Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, the first woman to lead the 152-year-old port city, announced her bid for re-election in front of Lake Superior and more than a dozen supporters in Canal Park Tuesday, with biting pre-storm winds whipping across the water.

"Standing outside in the cold, even in this wind, it feels really appropriate," she said. "Because the last four years have changed us."

Citing the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, the economy and "loud" political times, she said it's not an easy time to lead, and she said she doesn't take asking for a third term lightly.

"This is an incredibly hard and important time in our community's pandemic recovery; who leads the city and how they lead it matters," she said.

Larson, a former City Council member and social worker, was first elected in 2015, following two terms by Don Ness. She won easily then and in 2019. In her first term, she led the passage of a sales tax increase to help fix Duluth's pothole-filled streets, and more recently, worked to create a trust fund to alleviate the city's ongoing housing crisis.

She's prioritized fortification of the city against extreme storms and revitalizing the once-flagging city-owned Spirit Mountain and Duluth's downtown.

She's also faced backlash for the city's response to a 2019 blizzard, for strict citywide mask mandates during the pandemic and a controversial change in the handler of Duluth's tourism promotion efforts.

On Tuesday, she said her goals for a third term include pandemic recovery that prioritizes housing, child care, economic development and site redevelopment, internet access and climate work.

"There's a tremendous amount of success and stability at stake," she said.

Only a handful of Duluth mayors have served three terms or beyond, including Samuel Snively, John Fedo and Gary Doty.

Larson said she wasn't interested in holding an office higher than mayor, and she said she wants a third term to "cement the work in progress."

"I'm actually not convinced a bigger job is a better job," she said. "This work for me is incredibly challenging, it's deeply personal and it's a very intimate connection you have with the community."

Duluth City Councilor Gary Anderson said he thinks Larson seeking a third term is "reasonable."

"She's done good work over the past seven years, and change is happening in our community," he said.

No one else has entered the race, but rumors of a run by former state senator and Duluth City Councilor Roger Reinert have swirled for months. On Tuesday he said he hadn't yet made a decision.