As of Friday, Dec. 20, three candidates have announced their intention to run for the Minnesota House of Representatives in east Duluth’s District 7A after the announcement earlier this week that Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth) would not seek re-election in 2014. Among the candidates are DFLers Jennifer Schultz and Linda Krug and Republican Donna Bergstrom. DFLer Pete Johnson is also strongly considering a run, but has yet to officially announce. (UPDATE: He’s in, as is Gary Johnson). Also hearing that Becky Hall is planning another GOP run, ensuring competitions on both sides of the ballot.
Now we meet Donna Bergstrom, a retired U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer and community activist seeking the Republican nomination. Here’s her press release, followed by my analysis:
Today, Donna Bergstrom announced her intention to run for State Representative to fill the House District 7A seat being vacated by the retiring Representative Thomas Huntley. Bergstrom is a retired Marine Corps Reserve Intelligence Officer who served for twenty-two years, recently retiring in 2010. “Representative Huntley has a record as a strong public official who served with distinction. His commitment to public service is impressive,” Bergstrom stated. Bergstrom will run as a Republican.
Bergstrom served in a variety of assignments while in the U.S. Marine Corps, but looks to her time as a defense intern in the U. S. Senate as a highlight in her overall career. “That was an educational experience in both the overall aspect of politics and the combined legislative process.”
For the past six months, Bergstrom has worked as a Guardian ad Litem for the Sixth Judicial District and formerly served on the Duluth American Indian Commission. “I grew up in this area, my grandfather was born in Duluth, and I have extended family here – I consider this to be where my roots are. While my military and private-sector careers took me to many different places, I always knew I’d come back. I believe in our State, first and foremost, and I believe in the people who live here.” She is an enrolled member of Red Lake.
Bergstrom is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a degree in Political Science. She is currently pursuing her Master in Jurisprudence degree from Loyola University-Chicago School of Law. She and her family reside in the Lakeside community. She has been active in her son’s school in a variety of volunteer positions, and also volunteers her time with her church. In announcing for the District 7A seat, Bergstrom stated, “In this age of fiscal austerity and economic uncertainty, I will be a voice of reason in state government – someone able to study and understand the issues that come before us and to work with others to find the best solutions to problems that affect us.”
Donna Bergstrom’s experiences in government, business, as a mother, a Marine Corps officer, and as a school and church volunteer all provide the background needed to ensure that District 7A is well-represented in St. Paul. She will bring the knowledge of how government works and what are the requirements to attract and retain the kinds of businesses that will help northern Minnesota prosper.
ANALYSIS: Donna Bergstrom has been active in city politics for a few years and seems to be well respected in the community. Her biography seems genuinely rich and fascinating. However, any Republican faces an uphill battle in Duluth, typically a DFL fortress in state politics. She will be as competitive as possible for a GOPer in this district. If the DFL stumbles, or the electorate swings right for any reason, she’ll be a viable option.