Primary concerns: Our endorsements for Tuesday's County Board, state rep contests
Many are running, but only a few will remain after Tuesday's primary to head to November's general-election ballot. The fields of hopefuls are as crowded as anywhere in the races for District 3 St. Louis County Board, where two of four candidates...
Many are running, but only a few will remain after Tuesday's primary to head to November's general-election ballot.
The fields of hopefuls are as crowded as anywhere in the races for District 3 St. Louis County Board, where two of four candidates will move on, and on the DFL side of Minnesota House District 7B, where only one of five candidates will survive.
The News Tribune editorial board conducted candidate forums, broadcast on PACT-TV, for both races. With each question and with each answer, the candidates who most deserve voters' attention became more and more clear.
Consider our choices -- and please be sure to vote.
For St. Louis County Board District 3: Bill Kron and Chris Dahlberg
Last year, when commissioners stood accused of sexually harassing female county employees, prompting a code of conduct to be written -- and rewritten -- longtime Commissioner Bill Kron stood as one pillar of decency and common sense. He called the final version of that code of conduct "a good first step" and vowed to continue tackling bad behavior.
He also said another term on the board, which he deserves, would be focused on "jobs for our community and a future for our kids."
"The connections I've made over the many years are putting me, I believe, in my finest hour as an elected official," said Kron, also the president of the Seaway Port Authority of Duluth. "I am excited about running."
And St. Louis County should be excited about re-electing him.
Former Duluth City Councilor Chris Dahlberg, who more recently served with the military in Iraq, also deserves a place on the November ballot. An attorney with strong analytical skills, Dahlberg also has a background in international business and economic development and a knack for bringing together groups and people and getting results.
"Anybody who has watched the St. Louis County Board over the last few years knows there's time for change -- but change in itself is not enough," said Dahlberg, who promised to be a full-time commissioner who'd travel to St. Paul and elsewhere to fight for the county's needs. "You need solid vision, and that's what I'll bring to the County Board."
Also running in St. Louis County's 3rd District is John Klaers, Hermantown's city planner and zoning director since 1985.
"I want to change St. Louis County government and bring it into the 21st century," Klaers said. "I find county government to be backward and archaic."
As one example, the elected positions of county sheriff and county attorney should be appointed, he said. That would allow the county to choose "from the best candidates we can afford."
Paul Malzac of Duluth, a salesman for Hillman Fastener, will be the fourth name on Tuesday's ballot. He didn't participate in the News Tribune's endorsement process, but said in response to a question from the newsroom that bringing new jobs to the state is the county's most pressing issue.
For House District 7B DFL: Roger Reinert
If there's anyone with an intimate knowledge of the financial and other challenges facing Duluth, as well as the need of the state of Minnesota to work in partnership with the city to solve those issues, it would have to be Roger Reinert. An instructor at Lake Superior College and at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Reinert also is a Duluth city councilor and a two-time council president.
"The difficult issues we face here in Duluth all require St. Paul's help, partnership or permission in some way," said Reinert, an outspoken advocate for passenger rail service between the Twin Cities and Twin Ports, as well as for effective yet fair rental housing rules. "This is an opportunity to send someone to St. Paul with experience and a proven record."
Union representative Marshall Stenersen -- the winner of several elected DFL positions, including chairman of the 7th Senate District -- stands to give Reinert a strong battle Tuesday.
"I believe it's obvious to everyone that government is broken on the national, the state, the local and the school district levels," said Stenersen, of Duluth. "I remember a state that used to partner with local governments and school districts and counties."
He's running to renew those partnerships -- and to "bring some sanity back to government," he said.
Candidate Brandon Clokey -- a residential designer, animator, outreach coordinator and parenting advocate from Duluth -- is a man of ideas, quick to ask, "Am I the first one to think of this?" Duluth needs mini golf, he said, as just one example. And a new use for the Great Lakes Aquarium. "I have an architectural background," he said. This is a building that architecturally looks unlike anything else in our community. I have to believe there's some marketability behind that."
Clokey is running "to enable and empower and encourage those who are left unheard and unnoticed in our community," he said. "We have many people in this community whose voices simply are not being heard. They are our poor, our low income, our seniors [and] those with disabilities." Their representation is "unsatisfactory,"
Not surprisingly, the thrust of candidate Dr. Daniel Maryland's campaign is reviving health care.
"I've had the privilege of practicing medicine for 50 years in [District] 7B," said Maryland, a Duluth ophthalmologist. "I feel I have a pretty good idea how the medical system works, the good and the bad. I want a one-payer system where all the citizens are covered.
Beyond health care, "My other thrust is I'm very seriously interested in our school system and in trying to get jobs here in Duluth," he said. "How do we get jobs in Duluth? By teaching our children how to use their hands and [by giving] them shops which have been taken away from the school system. With those they could get gainful employment and be successful in our community."
John G. Derbis of Duluth, a student and DFL campus organizer, also will be on Tuesday's ballot. He didn't participate in the News Tribune's endorsement process, but said in response to a question from the newsroom that government accountability and fixing the irresponsible way tax dollars are allocated are among his most pressing issues.