University alumnus to run for state representative

Green Party member and University of Minnesota alumnus Dan Craigie announced his bid in the state representative race for District 59B.

Andrew Penkalski

Green Party member and University of Minnesota alumnus Dan Craigie announced his bid in the state representative race for District 59B on Friday evening at the Oak Street Theatre. Craigie, who graduated from the University in the fall of 2009 with a masterâÄôs degree in public policy, will be running against longtime DFL Rep. Phyllis Kahn as well as Republican candidate and fellow University graduate Ole Hovde. A key focal point throughout CraigieâÄôs campaign will be regular engagement of the communityâÄôs leaders and small businesses, something he said he sees as lacking within the district. âÄúMy world experience is mine and mine alone,âÄù Craigie said, âÄúand thatâÄôs not a good representative. You need to have the community telling you.âÄù According to Craigie, who has worked as a special education assistant in Minneapolis public schools, education reform will be a primary focus of his campaign as well. âÄúTeaching is pretty much the most important job anyone will ever have,âÄù he said, âÄúso itâÄôs important to fund these programs.âÄù As a recent University graduate attempting to serve a community comprised largely of students, the 28-year-old Craigie may have youthfulness on his side in the election. However, it is a factor that does not seem to worry Kahn. âÄúI run on my record, and I also run on my experience,âÄù she said. Kahn was the chief author of a small but significant bill this year that allows bicyclists to ride through red lights where riders are not able to trigger the traffic signal sensors. âÄúOne of the reasons why you might argue against an older person is that their ideas might be old,âÄù Kahn said, âÄúI think that I have consistently more creative legislative issues.âÄù Transportation has been a significant point of CraigieâÄôs platform as well. He has supported the development of a more robust light-rail system in the area. âÄúTaking people out of their cars and putting them into mass transit is important,âÄù Craigie said, âÄúbut you need to do it in collaboration with local neighborhoods.âÄù A win for Craigie would allow for collaboration with the districtâÄôs city councilman and Green Party member Cam Gordon, who supports his fellow party memberâÄôs campaign. âÄúI would be very excited to see the state Legislature open enough so that the Green Party person could be there to represent our platform,âÄù Gordon said. However, Kahn has demonstrated a significant staying power within the district. She has held the state representative seat since she was first elected in 1972. While odds of victory may be against Craigie, Gordon still seems interested in the dialogue that the campaign will stir. âÄúIt will encourage Phyllis to work harder in looking at the issues that he brings up,âÄù Gordon said. Elections will take place Nov. 2.