Minnesota House District 5B

Tom Anzelc

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Age: 69.

Current employment: Lawmaker, former teacher and labor official.

Public office experience: County commissioner, public administrator for state of Minnesota, elected five times as Minnesota State Representative, 2006-present.

Party affiliation: Democratic-Farmer-Labor.

What do you want to accomplish if elected? "Cass and Itasca counties are great places to live. Rural Minnesota faces a shortage of living-wage jobs, declining school enrollments, and transportation needs. Our abundant natural resources which make us a tourist destination, our forest products and our minerals have served us well, but we must diversify our economy."

Specifically, how would you accomplish your goals? "Good paying jobs that enable young people to return, remain, and establish families are not being developed fast enough. Although there is no magic formula to reignite our rural northern Minnesota economy, it is clear that our dependence on commodities is not the solution. We need creative, inspired leadership in our communities to develop ideas from within while attracting outside enterprise. We can accomplish this through world-class public education and job training efforts. No matter how dire the economic situation may seem, we must not abandon the northern Minnesota value of good schools for all students, no matter who their parents are."

What abilities or qualifications separate you from your competition? Why are you the best candidate for the job? "Our representative needs to be dedicated, well-spoken, and bipartisan. I have those qualities and I am effective at the Capitol. A June 24, 2016, analysis by the St. Paul Pioneer Press showed that I am among the top five most bipartisan members of the Minnesota House. I work with members of both parties to get things done. Yet, I remain true to my core mission, which is to stand up for working people, seniors, veterans, and students. I have spent my life's work in classrooms, union halls and the woods. I fight for people who don't have connections."


Dennis Barsness

Age: 48.

Current occupation: Pastor/PCA/Entrepreneur.

Public office experience: N/A.

Party affiliation: Green Party.

What do you want to accomplish if elected? "It is my goal to bring equal representation for middle and lesser class citizens and work toward more local economies."

Specifically, how would you accomplish your goals? "By working with local business owners and farmers, along with the working force, to bring the needs of greater Minnesota's economy first."

What abilities or qualifications separate you from your competition? Why are you the best candidate for the job? "I refuse corporate and PAC contributions, allowing me to put the citizens' needs above corporate profits or political strong-arming."


Sandy Layman

Age: 65.

Current employment: Retired.

Public Office Experience: Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board-first citizen board member appointed by Minnesota's Speaker of the House in 1999, served two, two-year terms.

Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board-commissioner, appointed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2003, served two, four-year terms.

Party Affiliation: Republican.

What do you want to accomplish if elected? "I will be a new, effective voice for northern Minnesotans. Across the district, we share a challenge: Jobs and a sustainable economic base for the future of our communities. We need to regain a sensible balance between protecting and utilizing our resources for the greater good and we need to diversify our economic base."

Specifically, how would you accomplish your goals? At the Legislature, I will prioritize education to ensure our workforce is trained for emerging jobs. I will support common sense oversight that satisfies environmental concerns without interfering with rural economic growth or our way of life. I will work to reduce regulations that burden farmers, small business, and rural economies and allow them to grow free of unnecessary government red tape. Finally, I will fight to reduce health care costs that have been skyrocketing on our families and small businesses and will stop wasting money on fixing the MNsure website."

What abilities or qualifications separate you from your competition? Why are you the best candidate for the job? "Throughout my 30 years of leadership in the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, the Itasca Development Corporation, the Iron Range Resources Board, as adjunct College of St. Scholastica faculty member, and as a consultant to entrepreneurs and small businesses, I have worked to grow jobs and address some of the most pressing needs in our area. As a board member of many nonprofits, including the Blandin Foundation, I have identified and built the key components of rural economic well-being to ensure healthy communities. As a wife and mother, I know what it takes to successfully raise a family here."