Perham’s David Sobieski and Baudette’s Roger Erickson are endorsed
By Ted Fiskevold
David Sobieski of rural Perham for 2B and Roger Erickson of rural Baudette for 2A were endorsed as state representative candidates by Democractic-Farmer-Labor Party members from Senate District 2 during its endorsing convention on Friday.
Sobieski, a small businessman from rural Perham —Butler Township in Otter Tail County—is running for public office for the first time as he vows to upset Freshman HD 2B Republican Steve Green in this fall’s general election.
Rep. Erickson entered the legislature in the same freshman class of 2012 as Green. This was the second DFL endorsement for the retired teacher. Erickson does not yet have a Republican opponent.
Rod Skoe (DFL, Clearbrook) has held the Senate seat since the redistricting of 2002, when former SD 2 DFL Sen. Roger Moe ran for governor and woke up one morning to find himself living in SD 1.
Former Sen. Tony Kinkel (DFL, Park Rapids) woke up the same morning living in SD 2 instead of what was then SD 4.
No longer Bemidji’s senator and not interested in running in what was almost an entirely new senate district, Kinkel left the Minnesota legislature to pursue a career in education administration, and Skoe moved up from State Rep. 2B to State Senator SD 2.
Skoe was last elected in 2012 and does not stand for re-election again until 2016.
Minnesota has 67 state senators and each Senate District has an average population of just over 79,000 determined by dividing the population of our state by 67.
To reach that number of folks, the geographically huge SD 2 must stretch from the Northwest Angle all the way down to Menahga and encompass the entire White Earth Nation, the entire Red Lake Nation and include eight counties: all of Mahnomen, Clearwater and Lake of the Woods, most of Beltrami (but not Bemidji), Becker (but not Detroit Lakes), and Hubbard (but not some northwest precincts), and some precincts in the northern tips of Wadena and Otter Tail.
The SD 2 DFL held its biennial endorsing convention in Park Rapids where 41 delegates were welcomed by SD 2 DFL Chairman Ted Fiskevold from rural Detroit Lakes —Erie Township in Becker County.
A memorial was held for Virgil Gunnarson of Lake Park who served as SD 2 DFL Treasurer from 2002-2012 and Gary Fuller from Red Lake who was serving as SD 2 DFL Outreach and Inclusion Officer and ran the DFL Political Action Committee for the Red Lake Nation. Both DFLers died since the SD 2 DFL Endorsing Convention of 2012. The conventioneers stood for a moment of silence to remember the two.
Fiskevold was nominated and elected to chair the convention, and appointed Becky Colebank from Clearbrook in Clearwater County as convention secretary,
Roger Winter of rural Callaway north of Richwood in Becker County as sergeant-at-arms, and Lon Engberg also from Erie Township as parliamentarian.
The 41 delegates next elected officers for the entire SD 2. Sen. Skoe nominated all five of the elected officers and when there were no other nominations heard, the convention elected the following with a move for “a white card ballot” or slate that resulted in unanimous acclamation: Ted Fiskevold, chairman; Sandy Eaton (Baudette in Lake of the Woods County), vice chair; Lon Engberg, treasurer; Becky Colebank, secretary; and Monaya Lund (rural Frazee in Becker County), Outreach and Inclusion Officer.
Chairman Fiskevold and Vice Chair Eaton will serve as delegates on the State DFL Central Committee.
The 41 SD 2 DFL delegates are separated and counted by seating and badges —15 from HD 2A and 26 from HD 2B—and next they endorsed DFL candidates for the MN House of Representatives.
Mike Stillday from Redby in Beltrami County who serves as Outreach and Inclusion Officer for the Beltrami County DFL rose to nominate Rep. Roger Erickson for the HD 2A endorsement. There were no other nominations and Erickson was endorsed by unanimous acclamation when all 15 2A delegates declared “Aye!” in unison. Rep. Erickson addressed the convention.
Amy Sobieski rose to nominate her husband, Dave Sobieski, for the HD 2B endorsement. Tribal Council Secretary-Treasurer for the White Earth Band of Ojibwe Robert Durant gave a nomination speech on Sobieski’s behalf followed by Sobieski’s remarks.
Sobieski was also endorsed by unanimous acclamation from the 26 2B delegates, when no other nominations were heard. John Minge from rural Perham who lives in Otter Tail County just over the Becker County line made more remarks on Sobieski’s behalf and introduced Sobieski one more so the newly-endorsed candidate could make a thank you speech.
With two House Districts in each Senate District, Minnesota has 134 state representatives and each HD has a bit over 39,500 people.
Congressman Collin Peterson (DFL, CD 7) and Congressman Rick Nolan (DFL, CD 8) represent portions of SD 2. The line that separates the two congressional districts is not even close to the line that separates HD 2A and HD 2B.
Rep. John Persell (HD 5A, DFL, Bemidji) spoke on behalf of Congressman Rick Nolan (DFL, CD 8) and also stressed the importance of “keeping a majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives by re-electing Roger (Erickson) and replacing (Rep. Steve) Green with David (Sobieski).”
Sen. Skoe gave a rousing speech at the end of the convention. “It’s hard not to look back at 2011 and 2012 when Republicans controlled the Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate which resulted in a government shutdown,” Skoe reminded the DFL conventioneers.
“The hard work we put in—an election victory for DFLers —gave Governor Dayton a legislature he could work with. We made progress in balancing Minnesota’s budget! You —the SD 2 DFL officers, the county unit chairs and officers, the DFL committees from the precinct level to the state level and on to the DNC—you made this happen and I thank each and every one of you … Vote for DFL endorsed-candidates who care about working people and working families and all Minnesota families whether working, working poor or below poverty level—the DFL is going to raise the minimum wage! Thank you all for your help and support!”