political candidates

District 64 voters head to the polls November 3 to choose among candidates for state Legislature

By Dale Mischke

The party in control of the Minnesota Legislature hangs in the balance this November 3 when voters head to the polls to elect their state senators and representatives. Every one of the 67 state Senate and 134 state House seats are up for election. In District 64—the western third of Saint Paul—Erin Murphy is hoping to return to the Capitol as the successor to Senator Richard Cohen, who after 33 years will be stepping down in January. (See this link for the story on the District 63 races.)

Senate District 64
The DFL-endorsee, Murphy, 60, served in the Minnesota House from 2007-19 and was House majority leader from 2013-15. A registered nurse and former executive director of the Minnesota Nurses Association, she was the DFL-endorsed candidate for governor in 2018, but lost to Tim Walz in the primary.

“Twelve years in the House prepared me to engage in the urgent work of Minnesota’s future,” Murphy said. “Nursing taught me that you can’t quit in the face of a tough challenge. I won’t. From COVID-19 to George Floyd’s murder, 2020 has made it clear: Inequity and disparities are the toughest challenges we face as a state. We’ll continue to struggle to find our way forward until we find a path that leaves no Minnesotan behind.”

Murphy is being opposed by Sharon Anderson, an unendorsed Republican, and Patricia Jirovec-McArdell of the Legal Marijuana Now Party.

Anderson, 81, has run unsuccessfully for numerous political offices over the past two decades. A former waitress and real estate investor, she said she is running for the Senate to work for law and order, fair housing and ethics in government. Her top priority in the coming term would be to enforce the separation of powers in state government and balance the state budgets.

Jirovec-McArdell, 57, chair of the Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, is self-employed as a transcriptionist and photographer. A former emergency medical technician and chaplain, she is running for office to keep the legalization of marijuana in the forefront at the Capitol.


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House District 64A
DFL incumbent Kaohly Her, 47, is seeking her second term in the House. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Business Administration, she earned an MBA in International Management at Northeastern University in Boston.

“My education and work experience have enabled me to hold leadership positions in the private, public and nonprofit sectors,” Her said. “I’ve been extremely blessed to have the experience and skills to dive deeply into policy work. My life experiences provide me with a lens that many legislators do not have. I am able to share views and perspectives that have long been missing from the legislative process. (If re-elected) I will continue to work on education, housing, jobs and the environment as I did in my first term, but I will also work on the reform of health care, public safety and criminal justice.”

Sherry Shack, a Republican from Merriam Park, will appear on the ballot, but since filing as a candidate, she has withdrawn from the race.

House District 64B
DFL incumbent Dave Pinto’s bid for a fourth term in the House is being challenged by Republican Georgia Dietz.

Dietz, 59, is retired after years of operating her own cleaning service. She served as chair of the District 64B Republican Party from 2001-07 and as a Highland District Council board member from 2007-09. A graduate of Saint Catherine University with a degree in social work, Dietz said she is running for office because “we need leaders at the Capitol who will uphold the rule of law in our state. Our DFL leaders are fiddling while our cities burn. They’ve abdicated their responsibility to keep us safe. No reasonable person can believe that we don’t need policemen and policewomen. They are our heroes, not the enemy.

“As a former small-business owner, I know how vital it is to live within one’s means,” Dietz said. “Taxpayers deserve a representative who will act as a steward of their money and of their trust. I’m committed to reining in state spending and reducing the regulatory burden on small businesses.”

Among Dietz’s priorities for the coming term are solving the state budget deficit, protecting the lives of unborn children and defending the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, “including the right to self-defense,” she said. “Now more than ever, citizens need advocates in the Legislature to defend their constitutional rights.”

Pinto, 48, a prosecutor in the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, graduated from Harvard University and earned a juris doctorate and MBA from the University of Virginia.

“I’ve dedicated my life to public service,” Pinto said. “At the Capitol, I’ve led in the fight for gun safety, among many other issues. I’ll continue to lead for an agenda that lifts up families and communities. My top priority continues to be helping every child in Minnesota get off to a great start. When we do that, we all benefit. The best way to help young kids thrive is to support their families and communities with paid leave, affordable housing, living-wage jobs, clean water and air, and racial equity.

“The upcoming legislative term will be challenging,” Pinto said. “It will also present an incredible opportunity to build a better Minnesota—one that allows every person in the state to thrive. I’m eager to continue to contribute to this work on behalf of our community.”


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