District 62 house race may pit DFL incumbents against each other

Candidates consider run for open senate seat

The upcoming District 62 DFL endorsing convention promises to be unpredictable.

After redistricting, Rep. Jean Wagenius, current incumbent in District 63A, now finds herself in District 62B--the district served by Rep. Wes Skoglund. 62B includes a small portion of southwest Minneapolis south of 54th St.

Skoglund is serving his 13th (non-consecutive) term--he was first elected in 1974. Wagenius is in her 8th term, having been first elected in 1986.

The two incumbents may not have to face off at the May 18th convention if one decides to run for the District 62 senate seat, which recently opened after Sen. Julie Sabo announced her bid for Lieutenant Governor.

"This opens a possibility that one of them may choose to run for Minnesota Senate," said Wil Nynas, chair of Senate District 62 DFL. "But we haven't heard anything yet."

Skoglund said he is considering a campaign for the senate, but he has not decided yet.

Nynas says no one can foresee the number of candidate nominations for each race, but he expects that the delegates will have some tough decisions to make.

"I suspect there's a good possibility that this convention will run for quite awhile," he said.

Wes Skoglund Skoglund said that no matter which seat--house or senate--he decides to pursue, he wants to boost education funding, continue the noise insulation program at the airport, work for proper sentencing for all criminal sexual offenders, increase transportation funding and bring about greater public safety.

He said many of the policies he promotes while in office depend on which party is in the majority.

While Republicans have held the majority in the house, Skoglund said he has had to work against "regressive" actions.

"These are efforts to rush back to 1910 or so," he said. "This group of Republicans in charge are not like the Republicans of old. This is a very right-wing extremist bunch that makes up the leadership of the house. For example, they are trying to stop light rail even though the thing is half done."

If Democrats were to gain power, Skoglund said he could work to increase funding to help the sick and elderly, nursing homes and prescription drug pricing programs.

He said he plans to abide by the endorsement process.

Jean Wagenius Wagenius, seeking the DFL endorsement for 62B, cites education, environmental protection and transit as top priorities.

She would like to implement all-day kindergarten, as well as a goal that all children read by the end of second grade. She hopes to mandate basic water and air quality monitoring in the area because she is appalled by the lack of base data and protection.

"We have taken quantum leaps backward in the Ventura Administration with protecting our water," she said. "We aren't even monitoring our waters as well as most states are."

And as far as transit issues, she wants to get more people on buses by increasing funding for mass transit.

"I have loved representing South central and Southwest Minneapolis," she said. "This is probably the group of citizens that are acutely aware of what is going on and that makes it more fun."

She said she plans to abide by the endorsement process.

Calling all delegates DFL delegates who were elected at their precinct caucuses will participate in the DFL endorsing convention.

The convention is Sat., May 18. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the convention starts at 10 a.m.

It will be held at Roosevelt High School, 4029 28th Ave. S.

For more information, call Wil Nynas at (612) 729-0709 or visit www.sd62.dfl.org.