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Duluth's Bergstrom enters Senate race

Donna Bergstrom

Donna Bergstrom became the first Republican candidate to enter the race for Minnesota Senate District 7 on Wednesday.

It's the right time to run for the Senate seat, the Duluth resident said. Erik Simonson and Sharla Gardner have already announced their intentions to seek the DFL endorsement for the Senate seat after Sen. Roger Reinert said he wouldn't seek re-election.

"I wanted to be part of the conversation in improving our community. I think I bring a new perspective to the table and am not necessarily willing to settle for status quo," she said.

Bergstrom, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Reserve intelligence officer, said she can rely on her military background to improve situations for the district in a common-sense way. She served for 22 years before her retirement in 2010. She now serves as a guardian ad litem for the 6th Judicial District.

Bergstrom, 52, said she plans to focus on having an efficient and effective government and having programs that work. She'll also support reasonable tax rates, economic and individual freedoms, and the 2nd and 10th Amendments.

"There are a lot of complex issues that I feel like I have the skills to handle or I'm capable of coming up with practical solutions and have common sense," Bergstrom said.

She said she's been encouraged by residents she's already talked with as a candidate and believes that it's time for a new perspective.

A member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, she previously served on the Duluth American Indian Commission, now named the Duluth Indigenous Commission. She serves as a steering committee member for Lutheran Social Service's Duluth Center for Changing Lives.

Bergstrom and her husband, Walter "Skip" Fischer, live in the Lakeside neighborhood with their 10-year-old son. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law with a degree in children's law and policy. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

This is Bergstrom's second run for office. She sought the Minnesota House District 7A seat in 2013.