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Welty files for House 7A seat

Saying that he intends to fill the void caused by recent legislative losses, Duluth School Board member Harry Welty filed for the Minnesota House of Representatives Monday as a Republican candidate for House District 7A.

Saying that he intends to fill the void caused by recent legislative losses, Duluth School Board member Harry Welty filed for the Minnesota House of Representatives Monday as a Republican candidate for House District 7A.

To win the seat, however, Welty will first have to win the Republican primary in September after failing to gain the party's endorsement on Tuesday. He will face Al Johnson, 32, who won the endorsement.

Welty predicts that Republicans will continue to control the House of Representatives. That's because the new legislative map was drawn up by the courts, unlike the reapportionment plan 10 years before, which was drawn up exclusively by a DFL-controlled Legislature. Despite that advantage, Republicans gained control of the House two sessions ago.

Welty, who has represented the Duluth School Board's Second District since 1995, ran against Sen. Doug Johnson two years ago and twice against Rep. Mike Jaros in the 1970s.

He noted that the recent deaths of Sam Solon and Willard Munger and the retirements of Bob Lessard and Doug Johnson have cost northeastern Minnesota 175 years of legislative experience. Welty said the additional loss of a Duluth House seat because of redistricting makes it critical for Duluth to have a member of the likely majority party in the House.

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Claiming to be a fiscal conservative who has fought to preserve the Duluth School District's fund reserve, Welty considers himself to be moderate on social issues. He says he intends to concentrate on public education and northeastern Minnesota's business and job climate if elected.

Welty, who stresses his centrist political views, hopes to follow in the footsteps of Jim Ulland, Jim Gustafson and Ben Boo, Republicans who represented eastern Duluth in the Legislature before the current incumbent Rep. Tom Huntley.

Welty, age 51, lives at 2101 E. Fourth St. He is a former history teacher and stay-at-home dad who is also well-known for his winter snow sculptures. His wife, Claudia, is the vice president for information technology at Minnesota Power. His daughter, Keely, is a history major at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, and his son, Robb, is a senior at Duluth East High School.

Former state Sen. Jim Gustafson and Welty's school board colleague Mary Cameron are co-chairing his campaign.

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