FOR MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: TIM WALZ, DFL-MANKATO

Walz promises to be a leader who can mediate and relate across party lines. He was a command sergeant major and a member of the Minnesota National Guard for 24 years, a congressman and the highest-ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress, and a onetime high school geography and government teacher and basketball and football coach.

 

FOR U.S. SENATE: AMY KLOBUCHAR, D-MINNEAPOLIS

Despite the political pit that Washington, D.C. can be, and in spite of the many cries for "resistance" from her Democratic colleagues, not only has the incumbent Sen. Klobuchar persevered, she has continued to thrive. The senator with the most legislation passed as lead author or cosponsor in 2016 passed another 20 bills since President Donald Trump took office.

 

FOR U.S. SENATE: KARIN HOUSLEY, R-LAKELAND

In the race to replace U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who resigned almost a year ago after allegations of sexual impropriety, Housley - a state senator, business owner, and author - would bring balance to Minnesota's representation in our nation's capital and offer a stronger voice with the party currently wielding power there.

 

FOR U.S. HOUSE IN MINNESOTA'S 8TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: PETE STAUBER, R-HERMANTOWN

Stauber's impressive lifetime of public service includes 23 years as a Duluth police officer, eight years as a city councilor in Hermantown, and two terms on the St. Louis County Board. He also was a union organizer and union president. And he's a business owner; he and his brothers started the Duluth Hockey Company nearly three decades ago.

 

FOR MINNESOTA SECRETARY OF STATE: STEVE SIMON, DFL-HOPKINS

Minnesota voters can re-elect Simon and his success with voter access, election security, and more. He helped Minnesota regain its No. 1 ranking in voter turnout. He found funding to upgrade election equipment statewide. And he's engaging younger people to make voting a good habit.

 

FOR MINNESOTA AUDITOR: JULIE BLAHA, DFL-RAMSEY

Minnesotans can embrace Blaha's fanaticism for figures. With good numbers that everyone can agree on, she said, "You can get through any really thorny problem. ... Once you have the numbers, you can start talking ideas. ... (You can) peel away the politics."

 

FOR MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL: DOUG WARDLOW, R-PRIOR LAKE

Wardlow has been practicing law for 14 years, including for the largest firm in the U.S. His work has included ending the illegal steel dumping that has done so much economic harm to Northeastern Minnesota. He promised to take politics out of the attorney general's office.

 

FOR STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 3A: ROB ECKLUND, DFL-INTERNATIONAL FALLS

Levelheaded, rock-steady Rep. Ecklund, who worked 30 years for the paper mill and whose wife is a schoolteacher, promises to return to St. Paul to continue fighting for broadband in rural Minnesota. Reliable internet service can be a boon to the regional economy, he said.

 

FOR STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 3B: KEITH MACDONALD, R-HERMANTOWN

MacDonald has been an insurance agent for 30 years, served as a board member on the Hermantown Area Chamber of Commerce, and was mayor of Hermantown from 2004 through 2008, effectively managing its rapid growth. He has a reputation as a watchdog on government spending and a fighter for lower taxes.

 

FOR STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 5B: SANDY LAYMAN, R-COHASSET

With a focus on economic development, Rep. Layman turned in a strong, successful first term in the Minnesota House after serving previously as commissioner of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, as a citizen member of the IRRRB, as president of the Itasca Development Corp., and as president of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

 

FOR STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 6A: JULIE SANDSTEDE, DFL-HIBBING

A schoolteacher for 25 years, Rep. Sandstede's priorities include adequate funding for education. She called it "an investment that we cannot shortchange. It is the future of our students. It is the future of our state."

 

FOR STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 6B: SKEETER TOMCZAK, R-EVELETH

Tomczak's service in the U.S. Army and Minnesota National Guard spanned 16 years and left him decorated with two Purple Hearts. His combat unit was the last out of Iraq. A previous tour of duty was the Army's longest overseas, at 22 months, since World War II. But running as a Republican on the Iron Range may be his fiercest battle yet.

 

FOR STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 7A: JENNIFER SCHULTZ, DFL-DULUTH

Rep. Schultz can be re-elected to continue sharing her expertise on health care, a top issue among many voters. She's co-director of the Health Care Management Program at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she's also an associate professor of economics. Her fields of research have included health economics, pharmacoeconomics, and health policy.

 

FOR STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 7B: LIZ OLSON, DFL-DULUTH

To the approval of constituents, Rep. Olson was accessible, bipartisan, and focused on relationship-building during her first term in St. Paul. She helped secure bonding and other funding for the Duluth Steam Plant conversion project, a new UMD science building, St. Louis River clean-up, and more.

 

FOR STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 11A: JEFF DOTSETH, R-KETTLE RIVER

With strong business and elected experience, Dotseth promises to be a visible, active representative for constituents. He served three terms on a township board in Sherburne County, Minn. After working in carpentry and construction, he has been a real estate agent since 1987. He and his family also raise beef cattle.

 

FOR ST. LOUIS COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 1: JIM BOOTH, DULUTH

Taxpayers can appreciate that Booth is a financial planner with fiscal responsibility to watchdog how public dollars are spent. Veterans can be encouraged by his 22 years in the Air Force. "I will be a champion for all veterans," he said.

 

FOR ST. LOUIS COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 4: BERNIE METTLER, EMBARRASS

Mettler retired after nearly three decades with the St. Louis County Sheriff's Department. He served as a township board member for 10 years, as a board member for the Embarrass Vermillion Federal Credit Union, and as a member of the Babbitt Lions Club.

 

FOR ST. LOUIS COUNTY AUDITOR: BRANDON LARSON, VIRGINIA

Larson lives on the Iron Range and commutes daily to Duluth, where he manages the tax division in the St. Louis County Auditor's Office. He knows well the northern and southern halves of the county, their nuances and needs. His strength in accounting will serve him well as county auditor.

 

ON THE DULUTH SCHOOL DISTRICT LEVY QUESTIONS: YES, NO, NO

Voters in the Duluth school district can vote "yes" on the first of three levy referendum questions to renew and continue public funding first approved in 2013. But they can reject additional tax dollars for the district by saying "no" to questions 2 and 3, demanding first a more reliable and predictable record of responsibility.

These News Tribune endorsement editorial were determined entirely by the newspaper's editorial Board. The board's members are Publisher Neal Ronquist, Editorial Page Editor Chuck Frederick, employee representative Kris Vereecken, citizen representative Julene Boe and citizen representative Denise Wise.