Lessons learned from 15 years owning and operating a mom-and-pop real estate business in Moose Lake and Zimmerman promise to be a great benefit to Jeff Dotseth in a new role as a member of the Minnesota House.

Republican Dotseth is challenging the DFL incumbent to represent Minnesota House District 11A. He’s the responsive, accessible, and experienced-in-business-and-politics candidate that eligible voters in Carlton County, northern Pine County, and southern St. Louis County can support and elect in the Nov. 3 vote.

“One thing I learned early on being self-employed is that while we may not necessarily agree on certain things, (we can still) … put the deal together and work with all the parties and actually get a solution that works for everyone that’s involved. That's where I believe one of my strengths will be as a state representative,” Dotseth said in a mid-September interview, conducted virtually, with the News Tribune Editorial Board. “I’m willing to look at all avenues and listen to different perspectives. So I'm teachable. I’ll … do the best due diligence possible.”

An excellent example is from Dotseth’s 12 years as a township board supervisor in Sherburne County, Minnesota. Despite controversy, resistance, and strongly differing political views, he helped get built a fire hall, quite an undertaking and accomplishment for a small township. He helped bring together the differing factions and viewpoints in the name of making his township safer. Such skills promise to serve Dotseth well in St. Paul.

“We found that working with all individuals, it was a win-win,” he recalled this fall. “It became a positive thing.”

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In the same way, while he disagrees with Gov. Tim Walz’s executive actions during the COVID-19 pandemic (“I think there’s excessive abuse. … Let’s work and find out if there are some common solutions.”), he vows to be a Republican willing to work with the DFL governor.

“Absolutely. We have to,” he said.

After working in carpentry and construction, Dotseth has been a real estate agent since 1987. He and his family also raise beef cattle on land in Kettle River that once was farmed by his grandparents.

Dotseth is endorsed by law enforcement and is a long-time supporter of the processes leading to safe copper-nickel mining in Northeastern Minnesota and the Line 3 Replacement Project. He opposes raising the gas tax.

For an economic recovery following COVID-19, he said, “We can’t tax our way out. Bottom line, my goal is to bring common sense down to the capitol and to greater Minnesota. … I’m approachable. The people of my district will have an open door to communicate with me. I’m ngot going to have limited communications. What I foresee doing is having town halls and meeting with different communities and hearing their concerns and issues. Being a voice for all of our people in our district is my goal.”

Current 11A Rep. Mike Sundin of Esko didn’t schedule a meeting with the Editorial Board this fall, just like he didn’t respond to an invitation to meet in 2018. While his apparent reluctance to participate in the public process and his willingness to pass on an opportunity to connect with constituents remains a concern, he did submit a column in response to an invitation to do so from the News Tribune. The piece was published last week.

Dotseth, with relevant political and business experience and a strong record of each emerges as the approachable, accessible, and responsive choice for House District 11A.

“In the real estate industry, I’ve traveled all over the state, and I've seen what’s working and what’s not working,” said Dotseth. “We need to allow a friendly work environment for the business owners and for the employees. We can’t let businesses get taxed to death if they do set up in our district; that’s a huge concern. … We do not currently have a work-friendly, business-friendly environment. …

“I will be a strong voice for everyone in our district.”

ABOUT THIS ENDORSEMENT: This endorsement was determined solely by and was written by the News Tribune Editorial Board.


The News Tribune is sponsoring two more candidate forums this week, both being held virtually and both beginning at 11 a.m. Watch live, or afterward on-demand, at duluthnewstribune.com.

  • TUESDAY: St. Louis County Board, District 3 in western Duluth, Ashley Grimm and Joe Macor

  • THURSDAY: Minnesota Senate, District 11 in Carlton and Pine Counties, Republican Sen. Jason Rarick and DFLer Michelle Lee