Candidate's View: Reject DFL's wars; elect sanity, civility

ABOUT THIS RACE: Minnesota House District 8A runs from about Canal Park in central Duluth to Gary-New Duluth in the city’s west. DFL Rep. Liz Olson was first elected in 2016. This election — on Nov. 8, with early voting already open — she is being challenged by Republican Art Johnston, a former Duluth School Board member.

Art Johnston.jpg
Art Johnston
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I'm running for Minnesota House 8A in West Duluth.

For years I was active in the local DFL, but the ugliness of it finally became too much to bear. Either you became a “true believer,” or they went after you. It is time that we all say "no" to the hatred that now passes for politics. As a walkaway Democrat, I know it is possible and, yes, necessary to have sane and civil conversations with the other side of the aisle.

From the column by Rep. Liz Olson: "Above all, I’m grateful for the people I serve who ground me in our shared values and continue to push for a more equitable future for us all."

Inflation is the worst our country has seen for 50 years. Food prices are up 13%, taxes are always going up and up, it costs $70 just to fill up the tank, gas prices are up 80%, and lumber is up 50%.

It is obvious why we have this crippling inflation. Two years ago America was energy independent and actually exported energy. No more, thanks to the democratic war on energy. For ideological, anti-science reasons, the Minnesota DFL and national Democrats killed the Keystone XL pipeline, all but killed the clean Nemadji Trail power plant proposed in Superior, and wanted to stop Line 3. All of this stops affordable, efficient energy from flowing in our country and makes energy too unaffordable to those who need it most. It also curtails well-paying union jobs.

Democrats also have declared war on coal, decreasing railroad tonnage to the Twin Ports, causing port shipments to drop to their lowest level in years, and, of course, increasing electric rates while eliminating employment opportunities.


The DFL and Democrats have killed the Twin Metals mine and would like to kill PolyMet. Steel and our precious metals to sustain our lifestyles — that are plentiful in our backyard and are necessary for new forms of energy — are now imported from dictatorial countries without environmental protections and without labor unions.

We now have a political machine that begs, like panhandlers on our street corners, to have nasty foreign countries give us energy and materials.

The DFL no longer represents working people. Our local DFL politicians are the keynote speakers at Sierra Club gatherings where elite ideological purity and anti-science prevail. The pain they are causing working and middle-class people is ignored and even lauded.

The DFL in Duluth is also imbedded by Democratic Socialists, whose members are sometimes anti-Semitic, blame the U.S. for Russian President Vladimir Putin's genocide in Ukraine, and laud Cuba and Venezuela. It is time we kick the Sierra Club, socialist carpetbaggers, and their DFL enablers out of Duluth.

I was on the Duluth School Board for eight years. COVID-19 and school policies of the DFL have shown parents and taxpayers what an increasing disaster our schools have become. The number of graduates from Duluth schools is at an all-time low, and academic proficiency and graduation rates fall even lower, particularly for our students of color. Gender junk and racism are replacing academics and achievement.

It is time we say "yes" to parent choice and parental oversight of our schools. Our schools receive $15,000 of taxpayer money for each student, whether or not they are educating them. If you have three children or grandchildren, you should be able to take that $45,000 to educate your children how you want.

Last but not least are the anti-police policies of too many DFLers, which have accompanied increased crime, contributing to the fentanyl pandemic in our town.

I welcome you to elect me to make politics sane and civil and to start representing Duluth values.


Art Johnston of Duluth is the Republican candidate for Minnesota House District 8A. He wrote this for the News Tribune at the invitation of the Opinion page.

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