Former Itasca County Sheriff challenges Layman

Pat Medure

Last week, retired Itasca County Sheriff and current Grand Rapids school board member Pat Medure, a Cohasset DFLer, announced he would run for State Representative in District 5B. He challenges incumbent State Rep. Sandy Layman (R-Cohasset).

District 5B covers western Itasca and northeastern Cass counties. Grand Rapids serves as its political and population center. This is a swing district that flipped from DFL to Republican in 2016, one of the best examples of the “Trump wave” in rural Minnesota. District 5B remains politically tied to the Iron Range but the district now more closely resembles the “lakes and woods” region closer to Brainerd.

Medure retired from a 33-year law enforcement career in 2010, capped by 16 years as the county’s elected sheriff. He volunteers for many community organizations and serves on the Grand Rapids District 318 School Board.

Medure had been campaigning hard in recent months for the Grand Rapids school referendum in his capacity as a board member. The referendum narrowly passed, so he enters the race with a recent victory under his belt.

Only the Minnesota House is up for election in 2018; the GOP-controlled Senate won’t be up until 2020. With Gov. Mark Dayton’s announced retirement, we’ll have a new governor as well. DFLers could make inroads by taking back the House. Alternatively, if Republicans keep the House and win the governor’s race, they will have achieved a remarkable but not implausible upset. The race will be determined in districts just like this one.

Here’s Medure’s press release:

Former Itasca County Sheriff Pat Medure announced today that he is a candidate for the District 5B seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives. House District 5B serves most of Itasca County and a portion of Cass County.

Born and raised on the east Iron Range and a resident of Itasca County for 40 years, Medure served over 33 years as a law enforcement officer in the county and retired after a 16 year career as Itasca County Sheriff. He currently serves as a member of the ISD 318 School Board and holds a leadership position in numerous civic and educational organizations in the region.

As Itasca County Sheriff, Medure was responsible for 14 different budgets totaling $6.5 million. He managed a staff of 68 employees and was responsible for a 107 bed correctional facility and the county’s emergency management system. “This financial and leadership experience with Itasca County has been extremely beneficial to my current community work in education, healthcare and nonprofit organizations,” he said, “and it will continue to assist me in work at the state level.”

While a current elected member of the ISD 318 School Board, Medure has been responsible for a $49 million budget and the work of over 500 employees. “As a board member, we set policy for the district and provide direction for the superintendent,” he said. “I am also on the district’s labor/management committee and active in the 318 Endowment Board, that raises funds for the district and its teachers and staff. Out of the regular classroom, I enjoy my role as a high school football official and a lunch buddy mentor at Cohasset Elementary School.”

Medure serves as a member of several regional and state boards, including the Range Association of Municipalities & Schools (RAMS), which provides problem solving leadership for communities, townships and school districts in northern Minnesota. The program promotes an efficient service delivery to the residents of the Taconite Relief Area. In the philanthropic area, Medure is a board member of both the Itasca Community College Foundation and the Mardag Foundation in the Twin Cities. The latter foundation makes grants to nonprofits to improve the quality of life for children, senior citizens and others at risk and for programs in education and the arts.

As a current board member and chair of the Arrowhead Procare Health Board, Medure works on joint powers agreements that provide group health, dental and life insurance services for a number of local governmental agencies in and outside of Itasca County. He plays or has played a leadership role in other organizations including the Itasca Area School Collaborative, the Grace House homeless shelter, Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids and Greenway, Advocates for Family Peace, Alliance Against Sexual Assault, Minnesota Sheriff’s Association, Grand Rapids Optimist Club, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Union Local 639 Sheriff’s Office Employees and the Western Mesabi Mine Planning Board.

Medure’s public service career has been honored by numerous regional and state organizations through the years. He is recipient of the Outstanding Service Award to Victims of Domestic Abuse and the Minnesota Sheriff’s President’s Leadership Award, which was presented to him in both 2000 and 2010, the only Minnesota sheriff to receive this award twice in the history of the organization.

“I believe in volunteering and giving back to our communities,” he said. “It is in honor of people that have given these services in the past.” He particularly recognized his parents for their support of education and the role that it has played in both his personal life and professional career.

Medure received his AA and Law Enforcement degrees from Hibbing Community College and served for 10 years as an instructor at this same college. He also completed training at the National FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, the National Sheriff’s Association Academy in Longmont, Colorado, and FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development training program in Minneapolis.

Medure said that his training and work with many different organizations has put him in touch with people and services all across the state. “My ability to network and work with people who hold many different ideas and opinions will be an asset at the state legislative level,” he said. Much of his work will focus on several major areas: education, job creation, broadband, transportation and infrastructure, healthcare and government transparency.

In education, he supports continued investment in K-12 and post secondary as well as technical education programs; universal pre-K investment and affordable day care; increased access to quality early childhood programs; education accessibility regardless of geography and sustainable future funding. Some of his ideas in terms of job creation are to work with main street businesses (local innovation programs); tie broadband efforts to job creation, especially in rural areas and sustainable funding for transportation. In the area of healthcare, Medure supports universal healthcare and single payer plans for all citizens. He also supports transparency in all facets of government, particularly in how tax dollars are spent at both local and state levels.

Medure will seek the DFL endorsement at the Party’s April 21st convention in Grand Rapids.

Medure and his wife Donna have two grown daughters, Leah Medure, Portland, Oregon; and Cara Scott, Cohasset.


  1. How do you like his chances? He seems like a real pillar of the community, do you think that will be enough to convince Layman voters? It really burned when Anzelc lost last time, since he seemed more authentically Ranger.

  2. David Gray says

    Cass County, at least to my mind, isn’t part of any of the Ranges. Presumably they deserve representation as well as the parts of the district that do hail from a Range, to varying degrees.

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