South St. Paul's Claflin makes House 54A bid
The race to represent this area in the state House of Representatives got another candidate this week.
Claflin said he was considering a run for office in South St. Paul, but when the House seat opened up he was encouraged to seek that spot.
Current District 54A Rep. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, announced earlier this month he is running for the District 54 Senate seat, replacing Sen. Katie Sieben of Cottage Grove. Sieben said Feb. 2 she will not run for re-election after her term ends this year.
Part of what spurred Claflin’s interest in the House race, he said, was “getting the communities in the district working together and that coalition building.”
“The district as a whole has a lot of similar issues,” he said.
District 54A includes the western half of Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Newport, Grey Cloud Island Township and part of South St. Paul.
Claflin said the race will be tough, but his experience in campaigns and organizing will help him gather support.
He used to work for the Minnesota DFL, including as a field director, field organizer and on campaigns including Sen. Al Franken’s.
Claflin is now a partner at a small business called Tall Grass Digital, which handles web development and online marketing for a number of organizations.
Small-business development is another focus for his campaign, Claflin said.
“I think the state needs to be focusing on economic development for small businesses,” he said, rather than tax breaks to large corporations. “We need to change the discussion at the Capitol of economic development.”
He also said he wants to make changes that help Minnesotans’ finances and quality of life.
“It’s making sure that working-class Minnesotans and residents in the district have an extra bit of money in their bank account at the end of the month,” Claflin said. That doesn’t necessarily come through changes in taxes, he said, but in addressing matters such as paid time off and affordable child care.
Cottage Grove City Council member Jen Peterson also is running as a DFL candidate for the House seat in District 54A, and Claflin said he will abide by the party endorsement.
“I think it’s going to be a tough year and I’m a big believer of whoever does get the endorsement we need to get behind,” he said, in order to keep the seat for the DFL.