DFLer Mike Thompson joins crowded 6A race

Mike Thompson

Mike Thompson

Mike Thompson, a DFLer from Cherry, announced in today’s Hibbing Daily Tribune that he will run for the House 6A seat being vacated by State Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) this fall. Thompson is a car salesman who works at the Hibbing Chrysler Center.

Though it’s not clear how many candidates plan to honor the DFL endorsement this spring, Thompson was explicit in his announcement that he would be running in the primary.

“The reason I’m running now is the simple fact that the Iron Range is hurting economically,” he said. “… I know I’m not the only one frustrated that nothing seems to be getting done. We should focus on coming to a consensus and focus less on demonizing each political party.”

Thompson, 27, said interacting with people on the job has given him a unique view of the economic challenges facing the Iron Range. He sees a need for more urgency.

“We need to be producing results back home in the form of enticing new industry to move up here, and focusing on keeping the doors open and incentivizing current small businesses to expand,” he said. “The only way to keep the youth from running away from here in droves is to foster economic diversity to produce other secure high paying jobs. There are so many up and coming industries, such as clean energy or medical device manufacturers, that we should be trying to entice to call the Iron Range home.”

This area’s infrastructure needs to be modernized, jobs need to be retained and created, small businesses need help staying open and workers rights need a champion, opined Thompson. There needs to be a concerted effort and compromise to identify and implement real-world solutions, he added.

That being said, Thompson also strongly backs policies to shore up iron ore mining and advance new forms of mining. He names the PolyMet and Twin Metals projects in Hoyt Lakes and Ely, respectively.

Thompson appears to be running as a moderate. In his announcement, he criticizes DFL Gov. Mark Dayton for what he calls delays to the PolyMet permitting process. He also said both parties are to blame for gridlock in St. Paul and that he plans to work across the aisle if elected.

“I want to be a fresh voice that helps remind the people at the Capitol that the Iron Range won’t be put on the back burner anymore,” he said. “I want to be elected and be responsible to the people first and the party second.”

Like many candidates, Thompson cites family ties to the mining industry. His mother Paula was a 37 year worker at Minntac while his father Curt is still a 49er crane operator for Lakehead Construction.

Teacher Julie Sandstede of Hibbing, Steelworker Mark Larson of Chisholm, and Nashwauk Mayor and business owner Ben DeNucci are also running for the DFL nod. Teacher Rob Farnsworth of Hibbing was endorsed by the Republican Party last week.

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