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Incumbent's View: Continue the fight for healthy, joyful lives

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.

Rep. Liz Olson
Rep. Liz Olson
We are part of The Trust Project.

It’s been an honor to represent the people of Duluth at the state Capitol since 2016. When I think about the last six years and the work I hope to continue to do in my next term, I’m filled with gratitude. I’m grateful that my work, my experience, and my relationships in Duluth and at the Capitol allow me to deliver real and meaningful change in people’s lives.

Last session, I continued to lead on the fight against the opioid epidemic by authoring legislation to distribute new funds for education, treatment, and prevention. I worked to expand access to mental health beds for adults and youth, as well as mental health care for youth in our community experiencing homelessness. I championed legislation to modernize Minnesota’s liquor laws to benefit local breweries and distilleries across the state. I secured state resources to keep the paper mill in Duluth from permanently closing.

From the column by Art Johnston: "It is time we kick the Sierra Club, socialist carpetbaggers, and their DFL enablers out of Duluth."

And we are already seeing the positive impacts of each of these efforts in our community.

I’m grateful that I’m trusted to lead by my colleagues at the Capitol. I’m proud to serve as deputy majority leader and speaker pro tempore, as well as serve as the vice chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. In both my leadership role and in my committee work, I’m part of a team, not working alone but seeking out a diverse range of people to work with, listen to, and be guided by in my work.

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. As a state representative, I’m able to fight for health care and long-term care workers, teachers, and child care providers, because all of you make your voices heard on these important issues.

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I work to make sure our small businesses can weather the ever-changing landscape they face. Your voices allow me to advocate for access to safe and affordable housing so everyone in our city and state has a warm and safe roof over their heads. Your priorities are my priorities.

Together, we have our work cut out for us. We must focus on the most pressing issues of our day: protecting and strengthening our democracy, preventing gun violence in our communities, addressing the climate crisis with real solutions and bold ideas, protecting abortion rights in our state, and pursuing racial and gender equity in everything we do.

Obviously, there’s a lot at stake in this election. This work isn’t always easy, but not a day goes by when I don’t think about how lucky I am to be able to show my love for this city through my work.

And this November, I’d be grateful for your vote to continue to represent you in St. Paul and to keep fighting to make sure Duluth is a place where we all can thrive and live healthy and joyful lives.

Rep. Liz Olson is the DFL representative of Minnesota House District 8A. She wrote this for the News Tribune at the request of the Opinion page.

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