There’s nothing simple about governing a city like Portland.

Jill Duson

For some, it’s home; for others, it’s a place to do business.

It’s where cruise-ship tourists come to shop and where people in extreme poverty come for a hot meal.

The signs of a historic economic boom are everywhere, but many longtime residents see them and feel priced out and left behind.

City Hall is where all these intersecting and conflicting interests come to resolve their disputes. When they do, we appreciate City Council members like Jill Duson, who have the experience and the temperament to find compromise when that’s possible and make fair decisions when it’s not.

We support Duson for re-election to an at-large seat on the City Council.

Duson is a veteran of city government, having served four terms on the council, twice chosen by her colleagues under the previous charter for a term as mayor. She also served one term on the school committee. She has a legal education and held a number of management positions at Central Maine Power and Northern Utilities. She worked for the state Department of Labor and the Maine Human Rights Commission, before her recent retirement.

Beyond her resume, Duson brings the experience of growing up on welfare, the oldest of five children in a household led by a mother disabled by polio.

These experiences all inform Duson’s understanding of the issues that come before the council, and help her balance competing interests.

While candidates promise to listen to everyone, councilors know that everybody can’t get what they want. We don’t always agree with Duson’s positions, but we appreciate her record of working through problems.

One issue that has been used to criticize Duson during this campaign actually illustrates how she works. Duson was an early supporter for moving services from the city’s public health department clinic on India Street to a nonprofit community health center, where its funding would be more secure and off the city budget.

When the plan was announced, the clinic’s clients and their allies protested that the unique constellation of services could not be duplicated elsewhere and patients would suffer.

When the final plan was approved with Duson’s support, the timeline on the transition was delayed and some services were maintained in their current location.

It was not the outcome that the protesters wanted, but it was better for clients than what had been originally proposed.

That’s how the process should work.

Despite Duson’s strengths, this will not be an easy choice for many voters, because she faces two strong challengers.

Joey Brunelle is a community activist who was one of the leaders of the India Street clinic protests, and has interesting ideas on making city government more inclusive.

Bree LaCasse has stellar experience in the nonprofit sector and hands-on political organizing skills learned through her work on the referendum campaign to block the sale of Congress Square Park.

Either of the challengers would probably develop Duson’s deep understanding of the issues and Portland’s complicated politics.

But Duson has those qualities now, and that’s why we support her re-election.