Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht announced her candidacy for the Minnesota Senate District 5 seat currently held by Sen. Justin Eichorn, R-Grand Rapids.

Senate District 5 includes the northern half of Cass and parts of Itasca and Beltrami counties, including Pine River, Backus and Hackensack and surrounding townships.

Albrecht has served as Bemidji's mayor for seven years.

“I’m running because we need a leader who will work for a brighter future for our region - for our children, our environment, our employers and workers, and those who feel marginalized,” Albrecht said in a news release. “I want to use my experience as mayor to stand up for greater economic security for our families, neighbors and communities in Senate District 5.”

In the coming months, Albrecht plans to travel the district to hear from residents and businesses and discuss the issues that matter to them.

“Friends and neighbors across the district have asked me to run for Senate because they know I will bring an experienced, commonsense voice to the issues they care about,” Albrecht said in the news release. “The Senate needs leaders who are willing to work at finding common ground and make difficult decisions; that’s what I’ve done as mayor.”

Albrecht said she has been at the forefront of working on issues that are important to communities - assuring clean water and safe streets, saving tax dollars by reducing energy use, investing in parks and infrastructure, and promoting the local economy to add jobs and grow the tax base.

Albrecht grew up in northern Minnesota and together with Mike, her husband of 38 years, raised two kids in Bemidji. She is a graduate of Bemidji State University with degrees in geography and education. Albrecht has been involved in her community as an elected official, a business owner, state agency regional director and a dedicated community volunteer. She was first elected mayor of Bemidji in 2012.