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Candidate's View: Vote to put Iron Range people before politics

I'm running to represent the people of Minnesota House District 6B. I'm very proud to have grown up here on Minnesota's Iron Range. We have a rich history of hard-working people and are blessed with an abundance of natural resources that has provided so many opportunities for generations of workers and has sustained our communities.

I worked at LTV and was laid off as a young miner starting a family in 2001. I became a trustee of United Steelworkers Local 4108 and lobbied at the state and federal level for unemployment extensions and federal Trade Adjustment Assistance. Through collective efforts, we were able to help with health care subsidies and job retraining for workers and families devastated by the closure.

I decided to attend college and worked hard to earn my degree so my wife Lisa and I could provide the life our family wanted here in northern Minnesota.

Since college, I devoted myself to public service with the goal of helping the lives of people in this region. I served as a city councilor in Aurora for 14 years and currently am mayor. My leadership roles on the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce, the Jobs for Minnesotans coalition, and as president of the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools allow me to directly impact the lives of Iron Range working people.

Being engaged as an elected official and in these organizations has given me a deeper understanding and knowledge of our beautiful region. I strongly believe in the importance of engaging labor, business, and communities to find joint solutions. It's important to be engaged if we want a better life for the people of this region, and I've lived my life doing my best to improve the lives of others.

We must work together to address important matters affecting our region, such as growing our natural resources- and mining-based economy, fighting to protect current jobs, growing new local businesses and family-sustaining jobs, making health care more affordable, addressing the opioid epidemic, making mental health funding a priority, protecting our vets and seniors, and investing in our kids and education system — the future of our region.

It's true that life here on the Iron Range hasn't always been easy. That could be said for all of us who live in nonmetro Minnesota. But I truly believe that's what makes us stronger and makes us fight so hard for our way of life. Our entire region is blessed with many opportunities, and working together we will ensure that those opportunities translate into greater success for everyone who calls the Arrowhead home.

Life experiences help prepare us for opportunities. I could never have imagined being the Minnesota House 6B representative as a young man. In hindsight, my life experiences and my engagement in our communities that came from them prepared me for this moment.

If you elect me to go to St. Paul, I'll bring my fight and determination to the Capitol and always put our Iron Range people before politics.

I humbly ask for your vote Nov. 6.

Dave Lislegard is the DFL candidate to represent Minnesota House District 6B. He wrote this at the invitation of the News Tribune Opinion page. Election Day is Nov. 6.

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