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Bye seeks 9A state House seat

When Dan Bye of rural Pequot Lakes considered that no DFL candidate had yet surfaced for the House District 9A seat he figured it was time to step up.

“Somebody’s got to,” he said of his challenge to first-term Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Lake Shore. “If I don’t at least make the effort then it’s pretty hard to complain against the status quo.

Bye, 30, who currently splits time between Duluth and the Pequot Lakes area, filed for office and was endorsed by DFLers Monday at a convention conducted in Browerville.

He said he had considered a race for about a month or so.

Environmental issues and making the world a better place for future generations will be a part of his campaign, he said Tuesday. He said there were positive steps taken on these issues in the last legislative session. He said it’s not good to allow manufacturers and businesses to get by without any accountability but it’s also unwise to bury one’s head in the sand and assume there won’t be any development.

His philosophy, he said, will be to listen first and talk second when he meets voters.

Bye comes by an interest in politics naturally. He is son of the late Meg Bye, who was a DFL legislative candidate and was involved for many years in Duluth politics, and Don Bye, longtime DFL 8th Congressional District chair.

Bye earned an associate of arts degree from Central Lakes College and would like to return to school one day. He spent a year working for Americorps in Duluth. He serves on the board of directors of the Pine River-based Rural Renewal Energy Alliance, which helps provide solar panels for low income housing.

“That’s been a good experience,” he said.

Most of his work experience, he said, has been the service industry — in restaurants and coffee shops.

“I guess I come from a similar walk of life of a lot of people in the district,” he said.

He lives with his wife, Vanessa; his stepson, Ayden, 10; and daughter, Gena, 4.

“Hopefully, I’m up to it,” he said of the campaign. “It will be a fun project.”

He said he hopes to win the seat in 2014 but would consider a second bid for post if he’s not successful.

Bye said he and his family struggle economically, just as many others in the district do.

“It’s unfortunate to see people in my own economic bracket vote against their own economic interests,” Bye said. “I think most people in my district tend not to be super wealthy with the obvious exception of one city (Lake Shore).”

He said Lake Shore was an enigma in the district in that sense.

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