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Incumbent's View: There's no fiercer defender of our way of life, mining jobs

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.

Dave Lislegard.jpg
Rep. David Lislegard
We are part of The Trust Project.

Greetings, fellow citizens! I am a state representative of and for the Iron Range. It is an honor to be your independent, trusted voice in St.Paul. Protecting and promoting our mining, logging, tourism, and health care-based economy remains my focus, because when people have good jobs, a lot of problems go away.

Let me tell you about myself: I graduated from Babbitt-Embarrass schools and, like so many Iron Rangers, went to work at LTV in Hoyt Lakes as a Steelworker for Local 4108. Lisa and I have been married for 27 years and have two adult daughters. Unfortunately, LTV Mining shut down in 2001. I went back to school at Mesabi Community College and graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

From the column by Matt Norri: "I will be a champion for mining, timber, and jobs for our laborers across the Range."

When I am not in St.Paul, I work at Lakehead Constructors. Work is important to me, and I do not shy away from it. I am proud that I stayed on the Iron Range with my family after being laid off from the mines.

I served 14 years on the Aurora City Council and became its mayor and president of the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools, or RAMS. I learned the importance of taconite taxes, economic development, education funding, and keeping property taxes down for residents.

As your legislator, I am particularly proud of the state and taconite tax funding I helped secure for new schools in Mountain Iron-Buhl, Virginia-Eveleth-Gilbert-Rock Ridge, Mesabi East, and St.Louis County schools. 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.

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As vice chair of the House Tax Committee, I led the effort to pass a bipartisan tax bill that would have sent back more than $4 billion in tax relief to our citizens and businesses while providing new funding for Iron Range schools. I led the fight to increase local government aid, and, for the first time, I passed legislation to index taconite municipal aid for our cities and towns to protect against inflation.

Most importantly, I was the chief author in the House, along with Sen. Tom Bakk in the Senate, to eliminate Minnesota state taxes on Social Security. No senior citizen should have to pay taxes on their Social Security benefits! This, along with getting the iron ore leases to keep Hibbing Taconite open, will be top priorities during the next legislative session if you trust me once again with your vote.

I strongly support mining. I have earned the endorsements of our local steelworkers and building trades unions. They know there is no fiercer defender of our way of life and mining jobs than me. I will continue to work tirelessly to get PolyMet and Twin Metals started. They will complement our future in mining for the next generation.

Folks, safety is important, and I am humbled by the work of our local public-safety professionals. I have their backs in St. Paul, and that is why I’m endorsed by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.

We value recreation, and that is why I passed legislation to fund local ATV trails, snowmobile trails, and biking and hiking trails. I authored legislation that built the Regional Public Safety Center in Virginia and the new solar plant in Mountain Iron, with hundreds of new jobs. It’s America’s second-largest solar plant. My legislation also helped win millions for the new Tom Rukavina Memorial Bridge.

I ask for your support. I pledge to be diligent and careful with your tax money, get the surplus back into your pockets, and promote jobs and our way of life!

Dave Lislegard of Aurora is the DFL representative of Minnesota House District 7B. He wrote this exclusively for the News Tribune at the request of the Opinion page.

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