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Candidate's View: Split up St. Louis County to finally unify Iron Range

ABOUT THIS PRIMARY: Incumbent District 6 St. Louis County Commissioner Keith Nelson of Eveleth is being challenged this year by John Moren of Canyon and Matt Matasich of Virginia. Two will advance from the Aug. 9 primary to Election Day on Nov. 8. All three were invited by the News Tribune Opinion page to write a column about their candidacies and qualifications. Commissioner Nelson declined. District 6 stretches from about Mountain Iron in the north to about Twig in the south.

Matt Matasich.jpeg
Matt Matasich, candidate for 6th District St. Louis County Board.
Matt Matasich
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First, I would like to challenge St. Louis County Commissioner Keith Nelson to a debate. He has previously refused to debate, opting instead to hide behind his huge campaign fund.

This campaign is payback time, not only for me but for the late state Rep. Tom Rukavina, who was honorable and stuck to the issues. When Rukavina debated Nelson, all Nelson could do, it seemed, was throw insults. He came off like a third-rate actor.

The primary is Aug. 9. Election Day is Nov. 8.

I am a conservative Republican, unlike the incumbent Nelson, a supporter of more taxes.

I am retired and have time to lay a foundation for the change that I advocate.

I have advanced degrees in business administration and political science. I am a graduate of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. I also have an associate arts degree from Mesabi Community College. I graduated from Virginia Roosevelt High School. My parents were immigrants to this great nation; a good education for their children meant a great deal to them.

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My top issue is splitting St. Louis County. Taconite tax dollars are collected in lieu of local property tax dollars from the taconite industry. These taconite dollars bypass local governments, where the money was intended to benefit, and are collected by the state. Minnesota disperses taconite tax dollars in a district of fiscal disparities created by past politics and the many rotten deals that have ripped off the people of the Iron Range.

By creating a northern St. Louis County, the Mesabi Iron Range could be unified for the first time. We could then go to court to wipe the slate clean and sue for revenues stolen from us!

For the great people of Duluth: imagine if there wasn't an umbrella of the city of Duluth; you would have a stretch of 25 miles at the pointing finger of Lake Superior with 12 communities fighting for limited resources. That is the Mesabi Iron Range; it is parochialism at its worst.

In prior generations, the Honorable Jack Fens and the Honorable Bill Ojala, two men with advanced degrees and opposing political views, came together on this issue. The Honorable Tom Rukavina and I had opposing views on many issues, but we were united and in full agreement on splitting St. Louis County. The time has come.

Matt Matasich of Virginia is running for St. Louis County Board. He wrote this at the invitation of the News Tribune Opinion page.

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