Our aims in political activism are not, and should not be, to create a perfect utopia. What we seek is more simply to improve the quality of human life while at the same time respecting the natural environment which sustains it: ‘Not a heaven on earth but a better earth on earth.’ This is not at all a timid agenda, far from it. The work ahead of us is enormous!” Paul Wellstone


For Immediate Release

Stillwater – 

Today I’m announcing my candidacy for the Minnesota House of Representatives in the newly drawn Legislative District, 33B. I would like to thank Reps. Shelly Christensen and Bob Dettmer for their service and wish them well in retirement. 

Our new district requires a representative that will transcend the brawls of the past and cast a wide net when looking for solutions. We need a leader who will export the optimism, professionalism, and entrepreneurial spirit of the valley to the Capitol halls in St. Paul. To do this, 33B will need a Happy Warrior.

I am running a positive campaign focused on the Economy, Education, and the Environment. I am a progressive and a DFLer, however I will not fall into the partisan trap that has ensnared so many at the Legislature. On every one of these issues there are a plethora of solutions to consider, I’ll never ignore a good idea simply because of its source. 

On the economy we have the issue of inflation staring us down, understandably concerning all of us, but especially the working poor and our seniors on fixed incomes. At the Capitol there are two devices that we can readily deploy to combat this issue: Raise wages and lower taxes. The DFL has been mighty on the former, while we seem to have hesitated to utilize the latter. I will always consider both. Reforming healthcare and implementing a public option – with the eye on implementing Medicare For All – will need to be our focus to bring these runaway costs down.

Our education system is full of amazing professionals and bright students. We can’t let this important election become a referendum on ISD 834 and the challenges of the past. It’s time to unite and move forward.  I will work to stop the demonization that has seized the entrenched special interests. Groups need to accept that without buy-in from others, their plans need to be reworked. 

Our children spend so much time at school. I’ll work to ensure that they are staffed with well-paid teachers, have four safe walls, and offer students two free and nutritious meals every day, regardless of their  parent’s income. 

The St. Croix River is our gift to the state and the region. But the health of the river depends on factors well beyond the borders of 33B. I will join hands with the incredible stakeholders who protect our waterways and I’ll work hard to make sure they are well-funded, empowered, and heard. The St. Croix River will be in even better shape the day I leave than when I got there. I promise. 

We’re in a new district—I‘m betting that you agree it’s time for a fresh, optimistic start. I invite you to join me in creating the opening chapter. What do we want it to say? I look forward to writing it with you. 

Let’s get to work!

Joe Widmer