U student runs for Ramsey County office

by Tatum Fjerstad

First-year University student Nic Buron said he is working to make government officials more accessible by running for Ramsey County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor.

“We need to raise the bar for this position,” said Buron, a political science student and member of the League of Pissed Off Voters in Minneapolis, a group that creates voters’ guides for progressive voters.

Buron said he and the league decided he should run for the position when researching whom to endorse.

They ran into a roadblock while searching for a candidate, he said.

“We couldn’t find any information on incumbent Marj Ebensteiner, and candidate Jill Wilkinson was too conservative,” Buron said. “We weren’t comfortable endorsing a conservative or someone we didn’t know.”

Campaign manager Charles McDonald said Ebensteiner had the opportunity to contact them.

“We sent e-mails and left voicemails, and she never got back to us,” McDonald said.

Frustrated, the league decided it wanted one of its own to run for the position so it could endorse someone it supports, Buron said.

As a write-in candidate, Buron said, he supports the fight against water privatization and the preservation of the beauty of St. Paul and Ramsey County.

McDonald said, “We are doing a grassroots campaign with people our age in Ramsey Country.”

If Buron doesn’t win, he said, he wants the winner to be more accountable.

“It’s a public position, so you should be able to be reached by the public,” Buron said.

Ebensteiner said she is very accessible.

“If you have questions, you can always call our office and we have a Web site for the Ramsey County Conservation District that lists our telephone numbers,” Ebensteiner said. “I’m just like everyone else who leads an active life.”

Jill Wilkinson, another candidate for the position, could not be reached for comment.

Ebensteiner said she would like to meet with the League of Pissed Off Voters.

“(Young people) are the leaders of the future, and it’s important that they care enough to do something,” she said.

When Buron heard that, he smiled.

“This is exactly what I wanted to happen by running,” he said.