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Candidate's View: With still so much to do, results matter, not rhetoric

ABOUT THIS RACE: In an unusual twist, the every-10-years redrawing of legislative boundaries has resulted in incumbent legislators facing each other to represent the new Minnesota House District 7A. The candidates are Republican Rep. Spencer Igo of Wabana Township and DFL Rep. Julie Sandstede of Hibbing. The new district encompasses parts of Aitkin, Itasca, and St. Louis counties. Election Day is Nov. 8. Early voting starts Friday.

Julie Sandstede.jpeg
Rep. Julie Sandstede
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Six years ago, when an opportunity arose to run for the Minnesota House of Representatives, I jumped at the chance. Not because I dreamed of being a politician or had aspirations for higher office, but because I know that our government serves us best when it consists of everyday people with deep roots and experiences in the districts they serve — a true government of the people.

Born and raised in Hibbing, I have spent my entire life in northern Minnesota. As a wife, parent, grandparent, public-school teacher, union leader, and volunteer firefighter, I know firsthand the values we hold dear, the resources we are blessed with, and the challenges our communities face. These inform my work as your representative.

From the column by Rep. Spencer Igo: "I always look to lead with energy, passion, and resolve toward the best decisions for all our Northland citizens and communities."

Good governance is about making changes that improve people’s lives in both big and small ways. My work has resulted in laws to expand broadband, provide bonuses to post-9/11 veterans and Gold Star Families, make insulin more affordable, help main-street businesses recover, address legacy mine pits at risk of flooding, increase early-childhood investments, reopen all closed driver’s-exam sites, ensure 911 operators have adequate training to help save more lives in rural areas when minutes matter, begin making safety improvements on the Cross Range Expressway, and continue to fund innovative research at UMD’s Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI), to name a few.

I also secured millions in funding for critical infrastructure improvements in our region, providing good-paying jobs, fixing our deteriorating roads and bridges, ensuring communities have access to clean water, modernizing our local public-safety buildings, improving higher-education facilities, preserving our natural resources, providing outdoor recreational opportunities, improving access to regional mental health services, facilitating expanded job training, and paving the way for economic development and growth, among many other things.

But there’s still so much left to do.

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Our communities have not only a proud past but a promising future. I will continue to champion initiatives to help us move forward together. I support eliminating state taxes on Social Security income, increasing student mental health resources, ferrous and non-ferrous mining projects that have cleared proper environmental review, investing in our district’s strong tradition of outdoor recreation, ensuring that any ongoing declared peacetime emergency allows for proper legislative input, providing workers access to paid family and medical leave, and expanding the availability of rural child care.

Serving in elected office isn’t about making a name for yourself; it’s about making our communities better. That’s what I’ve always done and will continue to do. Vilifying our neighbors and pointing fingers doesn’t serve anyone well. People will always matter more than politics. Now more than ever we need hard-working, common-sense elected officials who can cut through the political rhetoric and partisanship.

I truly believe the best thing a state representative can do is listen when they are in their district so they can speak up in St. Paul. In the end, what matters most isn’t rhetoric but results.

I’ve done that for the past six years and would be honored to continue that work on your behalf with your support this November.

Rep. Julie Sandstede of Hibbing is the DFL candidate for Minnesota House District 7A. She wrote this for the News Tribune at the request of the Opinion page.

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