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Mantorville woman seeks to unseat Duane Quam

A retired Mantorville teacher is launching a bid to unseat Byron Republican Rep. Daune Quam in 2016.

A retired Mantorville teacher is launching a bid to unseat Byron Republican Rep. Daune Quam in 2016.

Democrat Linda Walbruch said that after having spent 40 years in the classroom, she wanted to focus her energies on advocating for children.

"I look at it as being a chance to go to the next step, to take what I can do for kids to the next step and be involved in those decisions that are made at the state level," Walbruch said.

The 64-year-old said she never envisioned herself getting into politics, but concern about recent decisions in St. Paul prompted her to run. She said she was disappointed lawmakers opted not to make bigger investments in education and support DFL Gov. Mark Dayton's proposal to fund universal preschool for 4-year-olds.

"The last session there was a $2 billion surplus, and I think we could have put it to better use," she said.


Walbruch also opposed the elimination of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Citizens Board.

"We need citizens to have a chance, to have a voice and appreciate their input and see what we can do to make it a better place," she said.

She is also disappointed that lawmakers failed to pass a comprehensive transportation bill with funding to upgrade railroad infrastructure in the state.

"With trains going through our community, we need to step up and make sure that our crossings are safe and our EMTs have access to those crossings," she said.

Quam has served three terms in the Minnesota Legislature. In 2014, he ran unopposed for his House seat.

Senate District 25 DFL Chairwoman Cyndi Bennett Lee said Democrats were a little complacent in 2014, but she is sensing renewed interest and excitement among DFLers heading into a presidential election year. In addition to Walbruch, one other individual has expressed interest in running against Quam.

"We like when Minnesota had a House and a Senate and governor that were all Democrats. We could get a lot of things done," Lee said.

Walbruch said she decided to jump into the race early so she would have two summers to campaign.


"The last time I voted, my opponent ran unopposed and, to me, that was just unacceptable," she said. "Let's give him a run for his money."

Meanwhile, Quam said he remains focused on serving his constituents. He is spending his summer working on bills for the upcoming legislative session.

"It was unusual to not have an opponent last time," Quam said. "We'll just continue doing the work."

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