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DFL District 7 Senate candidates discuss issues ahead of August primary

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DULUTH, MN-- As the August 11 primary election draws closer, all eyes on are on a tight democratic race for a Duluth senate seat.

Newcomer Jen McEwen is hoping to oust incumbent Erik Simonson at the Minnesota capital.

Lifelong Duluthian and attorney McEwen has been campaigning on issues she calls basic needs. Issues like affordable healthcare and the housing crisis.

She said, "We put as many pieces in place as we can to lift up people's security and lift up the care that we're able to give one another."

Sen. Erik Simonson, the incumbent, and two-term DFL state representative is also focusing on healthcare, police reform, and his top priority, "Our number one focus has to be on jobs. It's all going to be about jobs," said the Senator.

Simonson places jobs as a key issue while the pandemic ripples the economy while McEwen stresses the importance of addressing Climate Change and transitioning to renewable energies.

"It's critically important for our leadership here in Duluth and in the Northeast part of Minnesota to be moving actively toward that transition," said McEwen, the DFL Party endorsed candidate.

Simonson said he's not dismissing the environmental argument but wants to reach compromise. "We need to protect our environment going forward for our kids and at the same time we have to have jobs in this economy."

If elected, McEwen vows to put special interests aside. She said, "A senator who is operating from a sense of wanting to serve the public first and foremost, that they're not looking out for their own interests."

Simonson feels his track-record on the senate floor is needed at a time where the state is facing hard times.

He said, "Minnesota, as well as the rest of the nation, is going to be facing a recession and we've gotta find ways out of that. So I think having experienced leadership at the capital will be critically important for Duluth."

The winner of the democratic primary will take on Donna Bergstrom, who is running for the District 7 seat as a republican.

The Primary election is August 11.

Everyone is encouraged to vote by mail-in ballots but in-person voting is still an option in Minnesota.

Jessie Slater

Evening Anchor and Reporter

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