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Candidate's View: New leadership needed to restore the Range

ABOUT THIS RACE: Minnesota Highway 53 runs north-south through the heart of House District 7B. The district includes a large swath of the Iron Range and is represented by DFLer Dave Lislegard of Aurora. He is being challenged in the Nov. 8 election by Republican Matt Norri.

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Matt Norri
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The Iron Range is a special place to call home. The beauty of our region is unmatched anywhere else in Minnesota. Our towns — Virginia, Eveleth, Mountain Iron, Chisholm, and more — have more than a century of rich history. Each has its own unique personality. Our workers mined the steel that helped America prevail in World War II. A movie was even made about our beloved hockey teams!

I'm a fourth-generation Iron Ranger, and I'm running For Minnesota House in District 7B to restore the Range. I will be a champion for mining, timber, and jobs for our laborers across the Range. I will be a strong supporter of the brave men and women of law enforcement who keep our communities safe. I'll deliver record-setting tax cuts, including ending Social Security taxes for seniors, to help families burdened by inflation and pain at the pump.

From the column by Rep. Dave Lislegard: "My next goal is to win state funding to revitalize schools in Chisholm and Hibbing — keeping local property taxes down while providing the best education for our kids."

I know our way of life is at risk. Our families are being hurt by inflation and high gas prices. Our communities have seen a surge in drug use and overdose deaths from deadly drugs shipped here from Mexico and China. Mining and pipeline projects encounter delay after delay as Democrats throw up roadblocks and lawsuits.

Worse yet, I've watched as the voice of the Iron Range has grown quieter and quieter in St. Paul. The legends we had representing us, who raised hell with both parties, are giving way to politicians like my opponent who voted to increase the gas tax; against a simple statement of support for mining in Minnesota; and to raise electric rates for our mines, paper mills, and other industries.

We can do better. We need strong, fearless leaders for the Iron Range who won't just sit quietly while Democrats work to destroy our way of life and the industries that have been the engine of our region for generations.

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I'll support our labor unions by working my heart out to bring jobs that support families to every corner of our region. I'll vote no if Democrats try to raise the gas tax, and I’ll cut taxes so you can keep more of your hard-earned money to help pay for groceries, electric bills, or a night out with your family.

Our schools deserve a fighter, too. My opponent votes year after year, and more money goes to students in Minneapolis and St. Paul than to schools in our region. The Minneapolis school district receives $12,137 in per-pupil funding from the state, for example, according to the Minnesota Department of Education, while Rock Ridge, Chisholm, and Mesabi East each receive less than $10,000 per student. It's just not right that our schools get thousands of dollars less per year than students in the Twin Cities area.

My wife Tara and I have two children, and we want them to have every opportunity to thrive academically. The latest test scores show our students are falling further behind in math and reading. We owe it to them to return to basics, focusing on core subject areas instead of political indoctrination or divisive propaganda that do not belong in our schools.

Since Democrats took the legislative majority, and Gov. Tim Walz was elected in 2018, violent crime has been through the roof. Statewide, murders are up 72%, and assaults are up 62%. Instead of boosting funding for law enforcement and increasing penalties for violent criminals, Democrats have pushed to reduce sentences for repeat offenders.

My family's roots run deep here on the Range. My family's business gave me the opportunity to travel the Range, and I've loved every minute knocking doors, walking in parades, and hearing your stories. It would be an honor to serve as your next state representative so together we can restore the Range and write the next chapter in our region's great history.

Matt Norri of Virginia is the Republican candidate for Minnesota House District 7B. He wrote this exclusively for the News Tribune at the request of the Opinion page.

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