DFLer Carly Melin will vie for 5B House seat

Carly Melin of Hibbing, an Iron Range attorney, is filing today for the open District 5B House of Representatives seat vacated by Rep. Tony Sertich, now Commissioner of the Iron Range Resources agency. Melin (pronounced Meh-leen) recently graduated from Hamline Law and now works for the Minnesota State Judiciary on the Range. She once worked as an intern for Sertich. Here are some highlights from her statement:

“I know the importance of elected office,” Melin said, “and I’m dedicated to a fiscally responsible solution to our budget problems that will be fair to our local schools and cities and that doesn’t further burden our homeowners with major property tax increases.”

Melin added “I know the Republicans now control the Minnesota Legislature, but I will fight to preserve the rights of our working people to join unions, and to have good and protected pensions. Also, it’s important that our seniors have a good retirement, and access to the best health care. I will support Governor Dayton’s initiatives to strengthen rural hospitals. Further, I strongly support our local mining initiatives — Polymet Mining and Essar Steel — as the foundation for our future economy.”

Also, hunting and fishing. She is for those. Anyway, Melin stopped by to see me today on her way to Duluth to file. Though this was my first time meeting her, I used to work with her dad Mike, a retired law enforcement instructor at Hibbing Community College. Mike is the guy who once told me that he heard that a desk that G. Gordon Liddy made in prison might be inside the Nashwauk Radar Ball. (Editor’s note: I am a big fan of Mike, who is an excellent storyteller.)

Melin is the second DFL candidate to announce. Shelley Robinson filed this morning.  If Robinson is running as a community leader with an impressive resume, Melin is running on “next generation” optimism, energy and campaign organization.

Notable facts include Melin’s campaign chairs, former State Sen./bar owner Jerry Janezich and his wife Patty. Tom and Jerry’s Bar in Chisholm remains a political headquarters of sort for the region. Iron Range power brokers Gary Cerkvenik and Ron Dicklich have also signed on to aid Melin’s campaign. Further, the active involvement of well known Iron Range political hand Jason Metsa, who accompanied her today on a whirlwind tour of the district, implies a campaign that will make generous use of modern voter ID and persuasion techniques.

The Iron Range Labor Assembly (AFL-CIO) will be screening candidates on Wednesday, Jan. 19 for what might be this race’s most important endorsement. Filing remains open until Tuesday afternoon and more candidates are possible. Regardless, the DFL Primary in this 5B special has all the makings of a fascinating, historic showdown.


  1. Did I read this correctly?? Three out-of-district lobbyists trying to groom a candidate for their “clubhouse”? Talk about backroom politics! Janezich, Cerkvenik and Dicklich need an office at the capitol, so they are pushing her down the throats of DFLers of the iron range. Do they think we won’t notice this candidate has NO experience except clerking for Tony Sertich’s staff last session? Come on, Aaron, you can’t let this one go by without a comment….

  2. Comments will come. Right now I’m letting everyone explain themselves. It’s incumbent on the candidates to explain their reasons for being in the race. You raise some important questions.

  3. To assume that this young women doesn’t have a brain of her own is a bit offensive.

  4. Yes, I think the “how well do they think for themselves?” question is fair, but only if applied to all the candidates. That’s what I really want to hear. I think an comment like this is a good opportunity for Carly Melin to explain what makes her different and how independent she can be when pressed on her convictions. Frankly, that’s what we need from the next representative, that and some new ideas and perspective.

    But that’s just my humble opinion, one longtime readers are surely tired of hearing.

  5. I feel quite differently about Carly Melin having the support of the Jerry Janezich, Ron Dicklich, and Gary Cerkvenik.
    Ron Dicklich served our area as a State Senator, he currently works for for Range Association of Municipalities and Schools (RAMS). Ron has been a public servant and in my opinion, still is. Our principal’s, teachers, and students in the area need someone like him down at the capital to make sure that other legislatures are treating Greater Minnesota fairly. Besides, who better to ask advice than Ron Dicklich for our public schools, local municipality issues in House District 5B?
    Jerry Janezich served our area as a State Senator, he is currently, actually, is not a lobbyist. Jerry was appointed by Chancellor Anderson of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) to be the liason between MNSCU and the local, state, and federal government. Jerry has a great understanding (and fights for funding) of Hibbing Community & Technical College, something I think that we all can agree is an integral asset to 5B.
    Gary Cerkvenik was a former chairmen of the St. Louis County Board he is currently an economic development specialist responsible for landing the new solar modual manufacuring plant in Mountain Iron and creating over 300 jobs at Blue Cross Blue Shield on the Iron Range. He works with the legislature promoting the Mesabi Trail, Renewable Energy, and bonding projects for our local communities. He worked for worked for both Rudy Perpich and Paul Wellstone, two politicians that I love and respect.
    If I were Carly Melin I would feel very fortunate to have people like this reaching out to me to help with my first run for office. Being a leader requires you to work with a variety of different people who care about a magnetude of different issues, each as passionate about theirs as the rest.
    Leadership is knowing how to draw from other peoples experience and wisdom. To close any doors would be a mistake. I commend Carly Melin for reaching out to these people and not only asking them for guidance, but igniting their interest enough to sweep them into her corner.
    I will be supporting Carly Melin in the DFL Primary on Febrary 1st and I hope you consider her as well. She is the best progressive DFLer in the race and has a vision for the future of our community that she isn’t afraid to fight for.
    Karen Olsen
    Consitutuent of 5B and DFL Activist

  6. Smells like the good ‘ol boys (or girls) club to me.

  7. Who said anything about this woman not having a brain of her own?

  8. Anyone know how old Rep. Sertich was when he won his first election? I thought he was an excellent Rep. I don’t know why Ms. Melin couldn’t run and do a good job as well. If your not going to vote for someone do it on the basis of the issues.

  9. I’m unimpressed by Carly. She’s been gone at college, and doesn’t know the area. I understand your point about Sertich, but with all respect to Carly…she’s no Tony Sertich. She tells us she’s going to balance the budget while keeping taxes low and spending high. I for one don’t believe it for second. As far as those lobbyists go, one of them got in trouble for embezzlment and taking kickbacks.

    Those aren’t the kind of people I’d sorround myself with. You say vote on the basis of issues, but I take issue with these issues.

  10. Agree to disagree I guess. I believe Ms. Melin is a great candidate and would do a great job representing the area.

  11. If you call a DFL wolf’s den a meeting place then Tom & Jerry’s bar qualifies as a political meeting place. When Tommy V is there it’s at least tolerable, when Jerry J comes it’s full blown liberal madness.

  12. I went to high school with Carly, and from what I know, she is a very smart woman. I feel she will represent our area very well and fight for what the iron range needs….JOBS. As far as being away at college…GREAT! She experienced something more than the “iron range mentality.” GOOD LUCK CARLY!

  13. How refreshing–a native of the area with integrity, character and wisdom! She knows the issues facing all Minnesotans. She will fight for all and do what is right and fair!

  14. If you can, check out the results of the DFL candidate debate at HCC (it was held on Wednesday January 26th). The local media covered it. Shelley Robinson and Jeff Kletscher were prepared with answers. The DFL candidate Ms. Melin puttered through same old same old, with few specifics on how she would improve education, bring jobs to the Range, or balance the budget. Platitudes are great, but we need action, not same old same old.

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