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Nystrom announces run for Minnesota House

Baxter City Council Member Quinn Nystrom speaks to a crowd of about 40 people at the announcement event for her candidacy for Minnesota House of Representatives Thursday. Nystrom announced she was running for House District 10A inside the library at Baxter Elementary. Zach Kayser/Brainerd Dispatch.

BAXTER—Baxter City Council member Quinn Nystrom on Thursday announced her candidacy for Minnesota House of Representatives, District 10A.

Nystrom, 30, works in public relations at the National Joint Powers Alliance in Staples and is seeking the DFL endorsement. She was first elected to the city council in 2014.

She made her candidacy announcement in the library at Baxter Elementary School, amid an audience of about 40 people.

The site of the announcement held symbolic value, as Nystrom said she began her stint as a diabetes advocate in the same library 20 years earlier when her younger brother Will was diagnosed with the disease. Nystrom's own struggle with diabetes and that of her brother put her on a journey of advocacy that took her to Washington D.C., she said.

"Twenty years ago, I promised my little brother Willie that I would stand up for those who wouldn't or couldn't speak out for themselves," she said. "Today, I am keeping that promise, and announcing my candidacy for the 10A seat in the Minnesota Legislature."

House District 10A includes Brainerd, Baxter, Nisswa and Jenkins. The incumbent legislator is Republican Rep. Josh Heintzeman, who won the seat from DFLer John Ward in the 2014 election. Heintzeman said in September he planned to run again for the seat.

In an interview following the announcement, Nystrom said issues important to her include public schools, health care and health care costs, access to child care, and rural Minnesota issues such as broadband Internet access.

Although the DFL aims to take back control of the House, Nystrom said she was not recruited by the party. Rather, she began receiving requests to run following Ward's loss to Heintzeman. It wasn't until October that Ward said he wouldn't run to try and take back the seat.

Nystrom said she had not yet registered a campaign committee with the state's Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, but would do so within a week. Misty Myers serves as manager for Nystrom's campaign.

To Nystrom, the most important part in campaigning is letting her friends know why she's running and allowing them to participate in the campaign. Each of the audience members Thursday had gotten a personal call from her beforehand, she said.

"Even though it's one person's name on the ballot, you don't make it to November without a lot of people around you volunteering and who are passionate about what you stand for," she said.

She said she'd work to be organized and delegate responsibilities in order to balance her day job with campaigning.

Sitting in the front row during the announcement was former longtime DFL legislator Don Samuelson, who served in the House from 1969 to 1982 and the Senate from 1983 to 2002.

Nystrom relayed a story about how for his first campaign, Samuelson found time for campaigning even after a day on the job as a bricklayer.

"When the last porch lights turned off, he would stop, and then go back to work in the morning," she said. "I think people respect when you have to work and you have to pay the bills, and have health insurance."

ZACH KAYSER may be reached at 218-855-5860 or Zach.Kayser@brainerddispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ZWKayser.

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