Schwartz to seek DFL bid to challenge Rep. KrieselKatie Schwartz said her unsuccessful bid for school board opened her eyes to a different possibility: running for the Legislature. Schwartz said Thursday she will seek the DFL endorsement to challenge Rep. John Kriesel this fall.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
Katie Schwartz said her unsuccessful bid for school board opened her eyes to a different possibility: running for the Legislature.
Schwartz said Thursday she will seek the DFL endorsement to challenge Rep. John Kriesel this fall.
Schwartz, of St. Paul Park, said a key reason she wants a Minnesota House seat is so that she can help get money that school districts were promised but not yet given.
"Basically a big reason was the borrowing of the funds from education to balance the (state) budget,” Schwartz said.
That problem -- a budget deal that relied on borrowing school dollars to erase a state deficit -- became clearer to her as she campaigned for the South Washington County School Board last year, she said. She lost that race, but said she may be able to do more for local schools at the Legislature. In addition to K-12 education issues such as special education funding, Schwartz said she also is concerned about rising college tuition.
“There’s a lot of things that can be done” as a legislator, Schwartz said. “At the school board level, I would have to balance what we have. At the House level, I would be able to change what the school district (receives).”
Schwartz, 33, is a married mother of four. Her kids range from 18 months old to 17 years old, including a son with autism. If elected to the state House, Schwartz said she would support efforts to require that Minnesota insurance companies cover autism therapy and treatment. She said her family’s own experience has been that some services are covered but others are not, even though help her son develop basic living skills.
Kriesel has said he plans to seek re-election in the slightly redrawn House District 54A. Democrats meet March 31 to endorse legislative candidates. Schwartz said she has not decided whether she would force a primary election if she is not endorsed. She did say that after talking with local Democrats at a recent meeting, she was encouraged to run by House Democrats’ chief candidate recruiter.
In her announcement, Schwartz said that she wants to see more jobs created and “keep taxes down for the middle class.” She supports unions and collective bargaining rights.
Schwartz said Kriesel, a Cottage Grove Republican, hasn’t gotten results for his district and he lacks a community presence.
“Basically I have looked at what he’s done and I don’t see a lot that he’s done for the actual district,” she said, adding that she is involved in community events. “I’ve never seen him at anything and I think to be an effective leader you have to be out in the public so people can come up to you and address their issues.”
Kriesel has said he believes he is representing his district and takes votes that reflect his district.