Two more candidates, including former state Rep. Allen Quist have announced they are entering the race for the soon-to-be-open 19A House seat being vacated by Terry Morrow.
Quist said he brings a wealth of experience to the post, and if elected he believes he can make an almost immediate difference in Minnesota government even though he would join the House part way through its 2013 session.
Because Quist served three terms in the Minnesota House in the 1980s, Quist would enter the Legislature with three terms of seniority. “Both experience and seniority are major factors in being effective,” Quist said.
Quist also said that his record of being bi-partisan is a significant asset in promoting good government. “Good legislation is almost always bipartisan,” he said. Quist was chief author of the bill that created what was then called Minnesota’s Department of Jobs and Training. Quist said he worked closely with then DFL Governor Rudy Perpich in drafting and passing that bill. Quist said the purpose of the bill was helping people become self-sufficient as opposed to keeping them on welfare.
Repeal of the controversial education policy known as the “Profile of Learning” was another of Quist’s accomplishments. Quist said he won the support of Education Minnesota in that successful repeal effort.
Quist said that protecting and promoting the interests of small business and agriculture are his primary legislative priorities. “Agriculture and small business are the economic mainstay of Southern Minnesota,” said Quist. “Whatever is good for agriculture and small business is good for everyone in this community,” Quist added.
Other concerns of Quist include education—where Quist wants to ensure that the new education standards are academic and non-political, and welfare policy—where Quist will work to promote a system that is sustainable and properly administered.
Quist said his bottom line is having government work the way it is supposed to. “My bottom line is I am a good government guy,” said Quist. “My goal will be to have state government function as well as possible for the best interests of St. Peter, Mankato and the surrounding community,” he said.
DFL jumps in
Clark Johnson, longtime resident of lower North Mankato, announced Thursday that he is seeking DFL endorsement for the seat.
Johnson explained that he is running because “Minnesota needs to create a long term, stable approach to the budget. We have had enough of the gimmicks, borrowing from school districts and pushing the burden on property taxes. I want to work as part of the DFL majority in the legislature and with the Governor to develop a rational, measured, sound, forward-thinking solution to the budget instability that we have experienced for a long time.”
Johnson has worked at Minnesota State University, Mankato for 27 years. He coordinates academic advising for about 2,200 undergraduate students in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He also coordinates the preparation of future secondary social studies teachers.
Whoever wins the race will enter the Legislature after it has convened and will need to be a quick study to begin representing the citizens of District 19A from the start. Johnson stressed the value of his past experience in politics having worked as a Legislative Assistant for a U.S. Senator, served multiple terms on the government relations committee for his union and being active in the DFL for more than 30 years.
“I am a hard worker and I am a natural optimist. I believe that we can create opportunity for all in this society and that state government has a role to help assure that everyone has access to high quality public education, owning a home, and working at a job that can support a family,” Johnson said.
Johnson is married to April Moen Johnson, a social worker at Waseca Junior and Senior High School. They have two adult daughters.
Reach Regional Managing Editor Suzanne Rook at 507-931-8567. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy