Our view / endorsement: Pick Anzelc’s focus on education, taxes
Imagining Rep. Tom Anzelc as the Hibbing High School teacher he used to be isn't all that difficult: There's the point-by-point assertions he makes when he talks; his consistent, unwavering confidence; his clear knowledge and intelligence; and ev...
Imagining Rep. Tom Anzelc as the Hibbing High School teacher he used to be isn’t all that difficult: There’s the point-by-point assertions he makes when he talks; his consistent, unwavering confidence; his clear knowledge and intelligence; and even the sport coats that don’t quite fit right.
In Minnesota House District 5B, which covers Itasca and Cass counties, Anzelc remains voters’ best bet when they go to the polls on Nov. 4.
“I know northern Minnesota. I’m from northern Minnesota. I’ve represented a significant portion of northern Minnesota,” Anzelc, who was elected to the Minnesota Legislature in 2006 after also serving on the St. Louis County Board, said at a News Tribune-sponsored candidate forum on the Iron Range on Sept. 17. “People in northern Minnesota believe in fairness. They believe in equity. They believe in the value of a good job. And they believe in the value of strong public services, in particular, a strong system of public education.”
True to his teaching roots, Anzelc has earned a reputation in St. Paul as an advocate for education and for tax fairness.
“I am one who doesn’t feel it’s appropriate to suggest programs unless you’re willing to come up with ways of paying for them,” the DFLer from Balsam Township said at the forum.
Recognizing the importance of tourism in Northeastern Minnesota, Anzelc authored legislation to alter the school year to help the industry.
Just as encouraging to residents of his district and this part of the state, Anzelc is a strong supporter of mining, including PolyMet’s proposal to begin mining precious metals.
“I was born in a mining company house in a mining company location. Iron ore and taconite mining are responsible for a large part (of) who I am. Most of the members of my family worked in the mines at one time or another,” he said. “As chair of the Iron Range Legislative Delegation, I am happy to communicate to you that our delegation is eight for eight in support of the reasonable (and) responsible permitting of copper-nickel mining, beginning with the PolyMet project at (the former) LTV (site). We believe that science, not politics, should determine the future of copper-nickel mining.”
Agree with it or don’t, but Anzelc’s position on health reform is just as clear.
“I support universal, single-payer health care for every American, period,” he said. “The Affordable Care Act takes a crack at that but of course does not accomplish universal, single-payer health care. But it is progress.”
Anzelc’s Republican challenger is Justin Eichorn of Grand Rapids. He works in his family’s outdoors store. He didn’t respond to News Tribune requests made by email and by telephone to participate in this month’s forum and to share information about himself and his candidacy.
At his website, justin4house.com, he stated: “Traveling the district, I hear the same things, and the message is very clear - get government out of the way of business and families, lower taxes and fees, restore the local economy, and make sure our schools stay great and treated equally compared to Twin Cities districts. I will work very hard to ensure that we can lower taxes, get our business community thriving once again, and fight for our kids’ education.”
Pretty well-written. But voters can still pick the guy in the ill-fitting sport coat who was willing to publicly answer questions and to share information.
About this endorsement
This endorsement was determined by the News Tribuneeditorial board and is the opinion of the News Tribune.