Marty wins in the new district

Jessica Lee

 

Sen. John Marty was re-elected to the Minnesota state Senate on Tuesday night for the ninth time.

With 23 of 24 precincts reporting, Marty defeated Republican candidate Wayde Brooks with 74 percent of the vote to represent District 66, which includes the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus.

“I’m very optimistic that I can move this district forward,” Marty said after hearing the results. “I’m excited to see more progress.”

Marty, the DFL candidate, said Brooks didn’t run an aggressive campaign, so he felt confident that he was going to win his race going into the election.

“We didn’t do anything earth-shattering to get the vote out,” Marty said.

Brooks received 26 percent of the vote Tuesday with one precinct remaining to report.

Earlier this week, Marty said his first order of business in the district will be balancing the budget and stopping unnecessary cuts to higher education.

“I think we’re making higher education unaffordable for a lot of people,” Marty said. “I want to make sure we reverse the trend of the last few years in those areas.”

He said he also plans to address a lack of employment opportunities and ways he can make improvements for recent University graduates.

“One of the key things is making sure people have jobs when they graduate,” Marty said. “I don’t think that’s an easy thing, but it’s something we can work for.”

He said candidates shouldn’t make unachievable promises regarding unemployment and job opportunity. He and his colleagues should shift policies to make necessary improvements, he said.

“There are things the state can do that will make students coming out of college have decent jobs available,” Marty said.

Brooks estimated that a Republican had never received more than 28 percent of the vote in the area.

Brooks didn’t meet his goal, but he felt his message came across.

 “I knew I wasn’t going to win, but the fact that I made my point is what’s important.”

As a Republican candidate in a Democratic-leaning district, he said he was “just looking for people to be aware of the other options out there.”

Marty said his greatest achievement during his 25 years in the Senate was authoring the Minnesota Health Plan — a statewide proposal that would cover the medical needs of all Minnesotans.

“I think health care ought to be a right for people,” Marty said. “Just like public safety — cops and firemen.”

Marty said he wants health care issues to become less of a hassle for Minnesotans.

“If you go home and you find your home being burglarized and you call the cops, they don’t ask if your insurance covers home burglaries,” Marty said. “They don’t ask how you’re going to pay the deductible.”

It’s time to make a “bad thing less of a problem for people” by taking federal health care reform “to the top,” he said.

Marty said providing everybody with health care is the best thing the district can do for job creation.

Many young people don’t “explore fields” and pursue jobs that they don’t want because they fear not having health care benefits, Marty said.

Marty said he previously worked on environmental issues, like sustainable energy, transportation and land use, in addition to his work on “big picture” economic issues like addressing the “state’s budget crisis.”

Marty formerly chaired the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.