Don Samuelson, who previously represented the Brainerd area in both houses of the Legislature, filed Friday to seek the District 12A House seat.
Samuelson, 71, was first elected to the Legislature in 1968.
He'll seek the spot being vacated by Rep. Dale Walz, R-Brainerd, who decided not to run for re-election. Samuelson, a former bricklayer and union official, served in the House for a dozen years before being elected to the Senate in 1982. He was elected as president of Senate in his final term but was narrowly defeated by Republican Paul Koering in 2002.
Samuelson, a Brainerd resident, will face off against Paul Gazelka of rural Brainerd, who has the Republican endorsement for the 12A House seat.
Citing what he termed as unfinished business in St. Paul, Samuelson said education, health care, jobs and public safety are among his top priorities.
He said the Brainerd Regional Human Services Center could be used as a state veterans nursing home, an expanded facility for traumatic brain injury unit and chemical dependency units or a site for multiple DWI offenders.
"The city, county and the lakes area chamber of commerce need to help save this valuable asset," Samuelson said in a statement Friday. "State jobs are being transferred out of this area to St. Paul and elsewhere. We need to stop this trend."
He also called for an end to cuts in education noting there has been more than a million dollars cut in aid to schools in Crow Wing, Morrison and Cass counties. Similarly, he said, higher education tuition increases of 10, 15 and 30 percent are not acceptable.
"I would also like to see an effort on the part of the federal, state and local governments to help young families purchase their own homes," he said. "Home ownership is the American dream, that we have somehow lost."
Samuelson said the experience the people of the district have given him will be benefit the district.
MIKE O'ROURKE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5860.
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