Wright endorsed by DFL in run against Kiscaden
By Lenora Chu
Rochester resident and attorney Rich Wright received the DFL endorsement last week for Minnesota Senate District 30, which encircles southern Rochester and stretches east into Olmsted County and into Wabasha County.
"The time is right," Wright said. "(Running for election) is something that I've always felt in my heart is the right thing to do, and it's something that people have always encouraged me to do."
On election day Wright, 33, will face Sen. Sheila Kiscaden, the Republican incumbent who has represented the city of Rochester for 10 years.
Both Kiscaden and Wright will confront new challenges. Wright is embarking on his first election bid, and Kiscaden must familiarize herself with new constituents and territory -- that of rural areas and townships. The new District 30, re-configured in March with the release of Minnesota's new redistricting plans, includes only half of Kiscaden's old constituency.
Born and raised in Rochester, Wright said that as a legislator he would work to get Rochester the attention it deserves.
"Rochester is a first-class city," he said, "and I see the Legislature treats us like a third-class city. I see Rochester sending people up there who can't get the job done."
Wright's top priorities are education, the environment, agriculture and health and human services. He said he will also fight for the "huge" transportation needs in the area.
"We need road upgrading in rural communities and in addition we have Highways 52 and 63," he said. "I'll be able to get myself in a position so we can get the funds down here to do it right."
Wright, who attended Lourdes High School and now lives in the Century Hills area, also said he is uniquely positioned to represent the townships of District 30.
"Growing up here and going to a small school, we spent a lot of time in the rural communities," he said. "And I plan to be knocking on doors. I will be in Elgin, Plainview, Stewartville and Chatfield."
Wright received degrees from St. Olaf University in Northfield and Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wis. He worked as an attorney in Seattle for almost five years, practicing primarily Internet and privacy law. He also worked pro bono, representing public-housing tenants facing eviction and volunteering at a legal counseling clinic for the indigent.
Wright and his wife, Dr. Lotte Dyrbye, a Mayo Clinic physician, moved from Seattle back to Minnesota last year. Since coming back to Rochester, Wright has taken time off from legal work to spend time with Isabell and Celeste, the couple's twin 23-month-old daughters.