Legislative debate season arrives on the Range

I’ll try to pass along news of northern Minnesota legislative forums as I see them. Unlike federal election debates, where candidates are usually fairly polished, legislative debates are often loads of madcap fun. Unfortunately almost no one sees them. They’re like indy bands. Anyway, you should catch some of these and huzzah to anyone who can record them and get them online.

The Duluth News Tribune is hosting a series of Iron Range area debates on Wednesday. They’ll take place in the Iroquois Room of the Mountain Iron Community Center, 8586 Enterprise Drive South, and the public is invited. Some of the candidates can’t make it, so they’re pairing their opponents in some sort of exhibition. Why not?

Here’s Wednesday’s lineup:

10 a.m. — From Senate District 6, Sen. Dave Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, and Republican Brandon Anderson of Chisholm; and from Senate District 3, Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Tower, and Republican Jennifer Havlick of Two Harbors

10:45 a.m. — From House District 3A, DFLer Jim Tuomala of Babbitt; and from House District 6B, DFLer Jason Metsa of Virginia

11:30 a.m. — From House District 6A, Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, and Republican Roger Weber of Nashwauk

I don’t know if the DNT planned this but they’ve set this bill up exactly like a good prizefight, in order of which events will probably be the most interesting.

Jesse Colangelo, the Republican in 6B, and Rep. David Dill, the DFLer in 3A, can’t be there because of conflicts. The first Metsa/Colangelo debate ought to be good. And I’ll be passing along word of the SD5/HD5A and 5B debates here on the western Mesabi and Lakes Country. These three races are all highly competitive and feature quality candidates. (Disclosure: I manage one of the campaigns in this area, for State. Rep. Tom Anzelc of 5B).

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