Friday, October 30, 2020


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PAYNESVILLE — Katy Westlund determined to run on the DFL ticket for Home District 13A seat this summer season as a result of there’s a lot at stake, she mentioned. 

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Westlund has voted with the Republican, Independence and Inexperienced events, however the DFL Get together aligns greatest with her values, she mentioned. 

Westlund received the DFL endorsement and now faces Republican Rep. Lisa Demuth, the freshmen incumbent. 

“I am not the established order,” Westlund mentioned throughout an interview Thursday with the St. Cloud Instances outdoors the Paynesville Historic Museum. 

Westlund is an account supervisor for a cyber safety firm, and she or he travels and speaks on cyber safety points. She’s additionally on the town planning fee and owns two small companies. 

Demuth is a small enterprise proprietor as nicely. She was elected to the seat in 2018 with 61% of the vote. Demuth additionally served greater than a decade on the Rocori college board. 

It is an uncommon marketing campaign yr because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2 candidates haven’t met, nor do they know of any plans for election boards earlier than the Nov. three election.

District 13A stretches from Avon and St. Joseph south to Kimball and from Paynesville east to Lynden Township. 

RELATED: COVID-19 changed the 2020 election. Here’s what that looks like in Central Minnesota

Westlund signed as much as run this yr as a result of Demuth had no different challengers, Westlund mentioned. And Westlund desires to see extra motion on behalf of farmers and households and companies which are struggling within the district. 

“I am operating, as a result of the world is simply on fireplace,” Westlund mentioned.

The nation is at a crossroads, she mentioned. And the republic is dominated extra like an oligarchy, with firms shopping for elections and writing legal guidelines. Westlund desires that to cease and she or he desires time period limits for federal and state lawmakers. 

Westlund helps well being look after all. She desires to see broadband expanded and she or he desires secure markets and a stage enjoying subject for farmers, she mentioned.

Demuth doesn’t help government-run well being care, she mentioned on a Friday telephone name. 

RELATED: On the record: Read the back-to-school opinions of Central Minnesota legislative hopefuls

Earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, Demuth centered on the workforce scarcity and the necessity for extra inexpensive little one care and inexpensive housing within the district and the state, she mentioned. For the reason that pandemic, Demuth has been in contact with small companies and constituents. 

Demuth mentioned she’s been working to help a protected return to high school and been a line of communication between college districts and the state Division of Schooling. 

RELATED: Cold Spring Rep. Lisa Demuth will seek a 2nd term in state House

Demuth misses the face-to-face interactions of a standard marketing campaign yr, and she or he mentioned she has made connections by way of Zoom, electronic mail and telephone calls. 

She would not thoughts competitors within the election. 

“I feel it is all the time good to have a challenger,” Demuth mentioned. “Folks will really feel as if their voices may be heard.”

Westlund plans to marketing campaign with telephone calls and mailers and faucet into her community of household and pals unfold throughout District 13A. 

RELATED: Central Minnesota legislators reflect on how life experience, race, gender impact service

Household is essential to each candidates.

Demuth and her husband, Nick, stay within the Chilly Spring space and have 4 grownup youngsters and 4 grandchildren ranging in age from four months to 10 years. 

Westlund and her husband, Andy Gertken, stay in Paynesville and have three sons between 10 and 21, and so they misplaced one little one on the age of 18 months within the early 2000s. Two of Westlund’s youngsters have epilepsy, and she or he has labored with the Epilepsy Basis of Minnesota in addition to the Neighborhood Coalition and Downtown Council in St. Cloud, she mentioned.

Her political expertise has been ground-level and behind-the-scenes in comparison with this run for workplace.

“I could not let the poll be empty,” Westlund mentioned. “There’s too many issues at stake. There’s too many individuals that want well being care. There’s too many individuals which are dying. There’s too many farmers which are dropping their farms. There’s too many faculties that aren’t funded the best way they have to be funded. There’s too many nursing houses which are inadequately staffed and funded. We’re at a boiling level, and we have to ensure that we safe hope for our future, for everyone in our neighborhood.”

Election Day is Nov. three. Early and absentee voting begin Sept. 18. 

Nora Hertel is the government watchdog reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Reach her at 320-255-8746 or nhertel@stcloudtimes.com. Comply with her on Twitter @nghertel.

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