House 5B Primary Candidate Commentary: Ray Pierce Jr.

MinnesotaBrown offered a 600-word guest post to all the candidates in the House District 5B Special Election. The second in the series runs today with Ray Pierce Jr.

I am a lifelong resident of Hibbing MN.  I graduated from Hibbing High School and attended classes in Business Management at HCC.  I have grown up on Iron Range values and continue to live and raise my family here.  I work at ArcelorMittal Minorca mine in Virginia as a Millwright.  I have been an active voice for workers rights in Washington D.C. and St. Paul over the past two years.  I have entertained the Iron Range with my music.  I coach our kids in wrestling, attend the Blessed Sacrament Church and am an active member of our community.  I am married to Anna and have three sons, all involved in various sports and activities on the range.  I know the struggles working families face.  I understand what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck because I do it everyday. 

My message is clear.  We need to balance the budget FAIRLY not SQUARELY on the backs of our working families.  I support Mark Dayton’s plan to increase revenue by raising taxes to an equitable level on the wealthiest Minnesotans.

We need to create jobs.  I support a bonding bill to continue work on our infrastructure putting hundreds of trade workers back to work.  I support the Essar Steel project, the Keetac line expansion project, and Polymet.  We need to be mindful of our environment for our future generations, and our policies are effective, they just need to be streamlined to promote economic development not discourage it.

I stand behind workers rights to form unions and bargain collectively for wages and benefits.  I support P.L.A.s when local tax dollars are used for Iron Range Projects. 

I feel tax cuts and tax loopholes for big corporations do little to grow the economy or create jobs.  Can we trust a company will expand or employ with this extra revenue or will it be given out as bonuses or CEO pay raises.  Most businesses look at three important things when they decide to locate in a community.  1.  A good education system for their children and for future employees.  2.  A high quality of life in which to raise their families.  3.  A market with consumers who can afford their products.

I feel directing our attention to the workforce by allowing them to form unions and by legislating laws that protect workers safety we can accomplish all three of the above mentioned things.  Unions help increase wages and benefits not just for union employees but for the entire area, creating a higher standard of living with a larger tax base. 

I feel our seniors deserve a dignified retirement and help that allows them to remain in their homes as long as they can, and a system for assisted living and nursing home care that will not drain their life savings. 

I applaud Governor Dayton’s actions when he signed the executive order implementing Minnesotans early Medicaid enrollment bringing 95,000 Minnesotans onto health coverage and saving an estimated 20,000 health care jobs.  

I am not a candidate backed by big business or high profile people, but one supported by my peers, friends and neighbors.  I understand our community issues because I live and work here.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I will work hard representing District 5B, from Hibbing to Cotton, to Fredenburg and Meadowlands and everywhere in between.  I built my house here because I love this community and this will always be my home. 

Other DFL candidates include Jeff Kletscher, Carly Melin, Shelley Robinson and John Spanish. The Feb. 1 DFL primary winner will face Republican Paul Jacobson and IP candidate Cynthia Kafut Hagen in the Feb. 15 general election.

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