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Niles runs for 9A House seat

Wadena City Council member Don Niles has announced his candidacy for the DFL endorsement for the House District 9A seat.

There is no incumbent in the recently redrawn district. Announcing earlier as a candidate for the Republican endorsement for the seat was Mark Anderson of Lake Shore.

Niles, 56, an attorney, said in a news release that 80 to 90 percent of a legislator’s work is helping constituents and solving problems. He said his legal training will be an asset in crafting legislation and working to bridge different perspectives.

“I’d like to focus on education, especially for the long-term to return Minnesota to where it was when I was a kid with a high degree of performance and adequate funding for schools,” he said.

The Wadena lawyer said he’ll also concentrate on the creation of jobs and doing what the state can for the economy. He said he believes government has a role as a gap-filler that can help jump-start the economy.

He was elected to the Wadena City Council in 2008. He’s active in the community, with activities including vice chair of the Kitchigami Regional Library System, Wadena Library Board member, Rotary member, Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools Instructional and Curriculum Advisory Committee and Messiah Lutheran Church Council president.

He said in a news release that his work on the Wadena 2.0 committee following the 2010 tornado has shown that collaboration and working together for a common good is possible in the district.

A graduate of Macalester College with a degree in economics, Niles received his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law in 1984. He has been listed as a Minnesota Super Lawyer and has the Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent peer review, the highest possible rating of both legal ability and ethical standards.

Niles is married to Loni Niles, a teacher and media specialist for the Wadena-Deer Creek School District. Their two sons, Eliah and Danny, attend WDC schools. Niles has three daughters by a previous marriage and one granddaughter.

He described himself as a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. His personal interests include downhill skiing, hunting, fishing, flying, vintage motorcycles and reading.

“I’m just very excited about the candidacy,” he said.

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or He may be followed on Twitter at MikeORourkenews.

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860