Chris Kellett of Brainerd Wednesday announced her candidacy for the Republican nod for House District 10A, setting up a race for the GOP endorsement.
Both Kellett, 45, and Kurt Martin, 54, of rural Brainerd, both said Wednesday they would abide by the endorsement and not challenge the choice of the Republicans in the newly created House district. The incumbent House member in the new district is Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, who has not officially announced his intentions.
The new House District 10A includes Brainerd and Baxter and much of the western edge of Crow Wing County.
Pledging to focus on jobs, education, seniors and fiscal responsibility, Kellett said she’s answering a call to listen to and serve district residents. She said her leadership skills and experience will help stimulate job growth and economic development. Kellett said providing tax incentives and reducing government red tape for businesses will help create jobs, spur economic development and help tourism.
Regarding tax incentives, she said she’d favor tax-increment financing to help businesses and would oppose raising business property taxes.
“I think that’s one of the heaviest tax burdens,” she said.
Kellett, owner of Bridge-Light Marketing and Web Design in Brainerd, proposed freezing property tax rates for low-income seniors who are struggling to stay in their homes for as long as they live there. The property taxes would return to market value once the senior citizen moves out of the home, she said.
The Brainerd woman said she would like to address the disparity in per-pupil payments between outstate and metro area schools. She said it was unfair that Minneapolis schools receive about $2,000 more per student than outstate districts.
She formerly worked as a corporate support representative for Lakeland Public Television. Previously she has worked as a counselor, helping adults, teens and veterans struggling with depression post-traumatic stress syndrome, alcohol and other addictions.
Kellett recently served as president of the Gordon Rosenmeier Center for State and Local Government and is a past president and lieutenant governor for the Kiwanis Club of Brainerd. She has also served as a Brainerd Lakes Chamber ambassador, Crossing Arts Alliance board member and Crisis Line volunteer. She said she is a strong supporter of sportsmens’ and gun owners’ rights.
Kellett said her grandfather, Fred Kellett, retired in the 1970s as the winningest coach in Brainerd High School basketball history. He took the high school basketball team to its only state championship in 1954.
“He taught me about integrity, determination and fairness,” she said in a statement.
Kellett is the mother of three children who all graduated from Brainerd High School. She has one granddaughter.
MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.