Tuesday, May 15, 2012 By Aaron Brown
Metsa, 31, is a fifth-generation Iron Ranger with roots in the Angora and Nashwauk area. His family moved to Rochester for part of his childhood during the economic collapse in the '80s, but he returned to graduate from Babbitt-Embarrass in the late '90s.
Metsa began organizing a slew of Range political campaigns in 2006, working for various candidates and the DFL before being hired to coordinate political operations for the influential Labor Council last year.
"A lot of young people have had to move away [from the Range] to find jobs," said Metsa. "We need to create jobs for them here."
He told me he'll focus on helping advance nonferrous mining development in the area. He said he believes that the future of the Range depends on people getting involved in their communities.
"Local politics is where stuff happens," said Metsa. "City councils, school boards, county boards, state House and Senate; these are the offices where people can make a difference."
Metsa was campaign manager for Rep. Carly Melin's successful bid in the 2011 special election to replace former Rep. and current IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich. That was a well-run, expensive (by Range standards) campaign against quality candidates in both the primary and general election.
Metsa will compete against DFLer Lorrie Janatopoulos in Saturday's endorsement contest in Hibbing. I disclose that I've worked with both of them on past campaigns and community activities. Plans to cover this race were detailed here earlier this week. More candidates could yet emerge, though Metsa vs. Janatopoulos would be a very interesting, likely very competitive endorsement and/or primary race.