Health care expert Jennifer Schultz makes 7A DFL bid

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).

Today I’ll share each 7A candidate’s press release with some analysis. First to declare candidacy was DFLer Jennifer Schultz:

Jennifer Schultz

Univ. of Minn.-Duluth professor Jennifer Schultz is running for State House District 7A in east Duluth. PHOTO: UMD

University of Minnesota professor Jennifer Schultz announced Tuesday that she is launching her campaign for State Representative to fill House District 7A seat that Representative Tom Huntley held for the past 22 years. Schultz will be seeking the DFL and labor endorsements.

Schultz is a professor of economics and director of the health care management program in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics, University of Minnesota Duluth. She is a strong advocate for healthcare reform and is a former delegate to the Duluth Central Labor Body. She currently serves on the Northeast Area Labor Council.

“I plan to put my knowledge and resources to work for Duluthians and Minnesotans to support social and environmental justice, labor rights, and progressive agendas. I will continue the important work on health care reform that Representative Tom Huntley championed during his tenure in the legislature and will fight for continued funding for public education, health care, infrastructure, and social programs.”

“Jennifer Schultz running for the state legislature is great news for Duluth and Minnesota,” notes John Schwetman, former Senate District 7 DFL Chairman. “Jen is an expert on health-care policy and a staunch advocate of a fairer health care system that provides access to all Americans. Her professional training in economics, her background in health care policy, and her understanding of critical issues involving opportunity, education, and the evolution of the American economic system make her an invaluable resource for the development of laws and regulations that would address the needs of the people of this state.”

“Her work has benefited both state officials and the public. The retirement of Tom Huntley will mean that Duluthians and Minnesotans will lose a public servant who brought tremendous skill and ability to the legislature. Replacing Representative Huntley with Representative Schultz would mean that we would continue that quality of representation without missing a beat” explains Patrick Schoenfelder, M.D. and Duluth resident. Al Peterson, M.D. agrees. “She combines knowledge of the most important issues we face with relentless energy and a genuine, serious, warm personal style. In these times, especially, she is uniquely qualified to represent us.”

“I am running because I’m concerned about losing the middle class, which is the driver and engine of our economy”, states Schultz. “I am also concerned about those who are working multiple jobs to support their families. I will welcome debates in the legislature about the value of unions, public education and subsidized health care and to refute policies relying on trickle-down economics and tax codes that subsidize corporations and the wealthiest Americans.”

Schultz is an active member of Education Minnesota and the University Education Association, Duluth where she serves on the Executive Board as the Benefits Advisory Representative. She is also a general board member of the MN AFL-CIO. She has served on several boards for non-profit organizations and enjoys working for community organizations such as Generations Healthcare Initiatives, Citizens Federation and the Duluth-Superior Community Foundation. She has been elected to several governance committees at UMD and is currently chairing the Strategic Planning and Budget Committee.

Schultz holds a graduate degree from the University of Minnesota and resides in the Congdon neighborhood with her husband and two sons. She has benefited from public education and comes from a middle-class background. Her mother is a retired teacher and her late father was a firefighter. Prior to her academic appointment at UMD she worked for UnitedHealth Group.

ANALYSIS: Schultz was out the door with her candidacy almost immediately after the Huntley retirement was announced. As a colleague of Huntley’s at UMD, or perhaps because of other advanced knowledge, she appeared quite organized in her strategy. Her biography would indicate she plans to follow in Huntley’s footsteps as a leading liberal advocate on health care issues. She’s a first time candidate, but obviously has connections with the Duluth DFL and labor communities. If her campaign continues to be as well organized as her announcement, she’ll be one to watch.

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