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Olson to run for House seat

Liz Olson

Liz Olson, a community advocate and organizer, announced Wednesday she will run for a seat to be vacated by District 7B Rep. Erik Simonson at the end of this year.

"I saw the opportunity and spent a lot of time talking with my family and thinking about if this was the right time for me to step out," she said. "After a lot of careful discernment, it felt like the right time. So here we go."

Simonson earlier announced that he will seek to represent Duluth in the Minnesota Senate next year.

Olson, 34, has worked as an organizer and advocate for Churches United in Ministry, Generations Health Care Initiatives and TakeAction Minnesota.

In a statement announcing her candidacy Wednesday, Olson said: "I believe in a Minnesota that promises all of us a chance to live with dignity — a Minnesota that offers access to living-wage jobs with good benefits, strong public schools and expanded access to our democracy."

Olson resides in Duluth's Denfeld neighborhood with her husband, Tom, and infant daughter, Florence.

"I am a new mom, and that's part of the motivation to do this. I'm not running despite having a small child. I'm running because of her," Olson said.

"Things become a lot more visceral once you have a child, and now well-funded public education and paid family leave and all those kinds of things I'm beginning to understand first hand. I sit in a circle of other mothers now, so I'm learning about those issues in a gut-level way," she said.

Murphy to seek re-election

District 3B Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown, said she plans to seek a 21st term in the Minnesota Legislature. Murphy, age 76, said she has been able "to work both sides of the aisle," an especially valuable talent in a House now under Republican control. "I'm not an extreme partisan. I have friendships throughout the Legislature, and I bring common-sense approach to politics. ... It's about the issue. It's about the need. That's what's important. It's not about the individual."