Northern Dakota County voters stick to who they know in state House race

Rick Hansen

Joe Atkins

Dan Schoen

Incumbents representing northern Dakota County cities in the Minnesota House of Representatives will stay in their seats come January, thanks to overwhelming support from area voters Nov. 4.

District 52A

Incumbent Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, led the race for House District 52A by more than 3,000 votes. Challenger Joe Blum, of West St. Paul, garnered about 40.5 percent of the vote, whereas Hansen nabbed more than 59 percent.

District 52A includes Lilydale, Mendota, the northern portion of Mendota Heights, West St. Paul and the bulk of South St. Paul.

Hansen has represented the district since 2004. He has said that MNsure's launch was rocky and he hopes to continue to improve the state health insurance program. Hansen's priorities include fixing roads and bridges, as well as expanding public transit. As he has in the past, he said he would raise gas taxes in order to pay for infrastructure.

In his next term, he has said he will focus on expanding early childhood education, tamping tuition and reducing student loan debt, as well as water quality protection, property-tax relief and job creation measures.

District 52B

Republican candidate Don Lee, who tried to unseat longtime legislator Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, won only 35.5 percent of the vote, 4,426 votes behind the incumbent. Atkins garnered 64.5 percent.

District 52B encompasses Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, south Mendota Heights, a portion of South St. Paul and Sunfish Lake.

Atkins, who has represented the area for 12 years, has said he would like to see a fairer formula for how transportation is paid for, as the current approach "gouges" suburban taxpayers. In his next term, he has said he hopes to focus on balancing the state budget, property tax relief and continuing the freeze on raising state college tuition — all while working in a bipartisan fashion.

District 54A

DFL Rep. Dan Schoen, of Cottage Grove, won 55.5 percent of the vote to keep the District 54A seat. Republican challenger Matthew Kowalski came out with over 44 percent (5,628 votes, compared to Schoen's 7,047 votes).

District 54A includes Cottage Grove, Grey Cloud Island Township, Newport, the southern chunk of South St. Paul and St. Paul Park.

Schoen has said his top priorities for his next term include transportation, education for early learners and addressing the massive debt college graduates face. He hopes to find policies to continue economic growth, as well as fill vacant businesses.

— Kaitlyn Roby


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