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DFLer Barrows to run for Senate District 10

Steve Barrows of Baxter, a late entry into the race for the DFL endorsement for Senate District 10, announced his candidacy Friday afternoon and said he favored a postponement in the endorsement process.

The retired state employee said he’ll make an assessment about whether to abide by the March 24 convention’s endorsement after Democrats decide whether to proceed with their scheduled endorsement. He said some delegates may seek a postponement.

Both Sluss and Stevenson have said they’ll abide by the decision of the endorsing convention.

Barrows, 63, said the condensed time line between the announcement of legislative district lines and the March 24 endorsing convention was the reason he favored a delay.

Barrows said his top priorities are jobs, education, health care and working on a long-term budget fix.

He said he favored taxing Internet sales so there’s a level playing field between those firms and Main Street businesses. The DFLer also said he wants to close unintended loopholes, an action which he did not consider to be a tax increase.

“Withholding funding from our schools and forcing higher property taxes are not acceptable long-term budget solutions,” Barrows said in a statement. “Our legislators need to focus on real solutions, for the people of our area and Minnesota.”

Barrows said he was reluctant to talk about state surpluses when money is still owed to schools.

“Until everything is paid, there’s no surplus,” he said in a phone interview Friday.

Barrows, currently Crow Wing County DFL treasurer, retired from his state job in September after 24 years of service. He started as a human services technician, at what was then the Brainerd State Hospital. After 14 years at that location, he spent the last 14 years in the Finance Department of State Operated Services within the Minnesota Department of Human Services. During the latter part of his career he has worked at Roseville, St. Paul, St. Peter and Moose Lake.

He has been a union steward, a negotiator for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees and a member of Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, retiring as a mid-level manager.

“I’ve been on both sides of it (management and labor perspectives), and I can appreciate both viewpoints,” he said.

Barrows, a former Crow Wing County chair, has lived in the district for about 53 years. He and his wife, Lexy, sent all four of their children through the Brainerd area schools.

He said the decision to run was a difficult one but felt that his experience in state government and his ability to devote time to the endeavor made him a good candidate.

The Democrats will meet at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at Crosby-Ironton High School in Crosby.

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at or 855-5860. Follow me on Twitter at

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