‘Blue dog’ DFLer in House 2B race
Fresh off his recent DLF endorsement, David Sobieski says he is “hitting the ground running” in his attempt to win over District 2B from Republican incumbent Steve Green.
The district Sobieski is campaigning to represent goes from the Lake Park area, up to Bejou, over to Moose Creek, curls around Nevis and around to Frazee. It does not include Detroit Lakes.
Sobieski has lived in Butler Township (rural Perham) for about eight years — a move he and his wife, Amy, decided to make in order to be closer to her family and to raise their own.
“This is a great place to raise kids,” said Sobieski, who has two sons — John, who is 11 and Henry, who is nine.
“And their education is the most important thing to me,” he said, adding that education is one of his top priorities as he goes through this campaign.
“I look at the funding disparities and the student-teacher ratios that are kind of off-kilter, and over the last 10 years we’ve been watching the funding formulas for schools go all over the place, and that concerns me,” said Sobieski, who says with a recent budget surplus in Minnesota, that funding formula for schools can and should be “smoothed out.”
“I know what has happened with school funding over the last 10 years; I know what my property taxes as a small business owner have done over the last 10 years, and now it’s time when we have this extra money to talk to people in the banking industry and talk to the people in the schools. Now might be the time to make those basic investments… to take the roller coaster out of the formulas.”
Sobieski, who is a graduate of the University Minnesota- Twin Cities in adult education and creative writing, also served in the U.S. Air Force from 1987-1990.
“I was a parachute fabrication specialist,” he said. “It was my job to make sure that pilots and flight crews went up with good survival equipment, and that notion has continued on with my idea of public service. It would be an honor to serve my community.”
Sobieski says veterans’ issues are also a priority for him, especially given the fact that the district he wants to represent is rural and does not have the veterans’ services readily available like other areas of Minnesota.
“We have about 30,000 veterans in this district, and most of them are elderly who are in great need of VA care,” said Sobieski, “and they have to find transportation and drive long distances to find a VA facility.” Sobieski says not only would he like to see those veterans better supported as they do this, but ideally would like to see a VA facility go up in Bemidji.
Sobieski is also focused on helping small businesses grow, and is doing that from the point of view of a small business owner.
He and his wife own and operate an industrial sewing shop in New York Mills that provides work on canvas materials and employs seven workers.
He says having good broadband and Internet availability is what makes it possible for him to thrive as a business owner, as half of his businesses is done online.
Sobieski says he’d like to see that same, effective broadband across the district he serves, as he believes it opens up economic opportunities for small, rural communities.
“Logistically it’s great to have those resources; it’s great to have a better broadband because it al-lows you to use UPS and the postal system and be online and be able to participate in the world wide commerce,” said Sobieski, who believes that “everybody has a place at the table” when it comes to finding their skill and contributing to their communities.
Creating more of an opportunity to hone in on skill trades is another concept Sobieski says he would like to see, commending programs that partner high schools with tradesmen to create apprenticeship opportunities and giving students the chance to earn money while learning a skill.
He also says law makers need to talk more with area lakes associations and experts on aquatic invasive species as to how to “best move forward in a safe manner” in the fight to keep area lakes healthy.
Sobieski says if elected, he’d also fight to get more financial support for health care workers taking care of the elderly.
The self-proclaimed “blue-dog moderate, middle-of-the-road Democrat” says he likes U.S. Rep. Colin Peterson’s style of being able to put partisan politics aside and simply advocating for the people here.
“What I don’t like is the narrow extreme that we see in politics,” said Sobieski, who says he sees the same exact thing in the way current 2B Rep. Steve Green does business.
“I don’t want to be too sharp-elbowed when talking about Steve, but I will say the political spectrum is this big,” he says, holding his hands far apart, “and he (Green) will only occupy this little part of it… maybe two or three inches on the right side of it and it’s left everybody else in the middle open.”
Sobieski says he wants to breach the partisan divide and work together for the communities he’d serve — the churches, the schools, the small businesses.
“What concerns me is that the partisan divide is so great and the well is so poisoned that we come at it from this national point of view,” said Sobieski. “We identify ourselves as a party… a Democrat or Republican… left or right, and what happens is that the district gets left behind.”
Sobieski says not only will he reach across those aisles to get things done, but he’ll get up, walk across it and talk to chamber Republicans who he says feel as if they “have nowhere to go.”
“We work for the betterment of all,” said Sobieski, “and if that isn’t what’s happening, then we’d better look long, hard at ourselves.”