Wednesday, October 17, 2012 By Aaron Brown
Two incumbent senators were paired together by redistricting and four incumbent representatives were paired in the respective House districts. All three races sport local issues, unique candidates and a tight, "could-go-either-way" partisan index. Control and composition of the Minnesota legislature will be disproportionately affected by the vote here.
KAXE/KBXE Northern Community Radio, an independent public media organization spanning most of the northern third of the state, will host legislative forums for these districts starting this Thursday morning.
Candidates in three all-incumbent legislative races meet on community radioI'm told these forums will be free-flowing discussions, rather than timed debates. Candidates will join host Scott Hall in the intimate studios of KAXE on the Mississippi River in Grand Rapids and simply hash out a series of top issues.
Community radio stations 91.7 KAXE (Grand Rapids) and 90.5 KBXE (Bagley-Bemidji) will welcome the candidates in three unique and closely-watched Legislative contests. The District 5 candidates for Senate and House will meet in three forums on the next three consecutive Thursday mornings, moderated by Morning Show host Scott Hall.
“This election year, state legislative districts in northern Minnesota have some dramatically different new boundaries, and no district was more thoroughly reorganized than Senate District 5,” Hall said.
“This new district, running from Bemidji to the western Iron Range to Pine River, is unique in that all six candidates for three seats are incumbents are challenging each other: six incumbents in all, and only three will return to St. Paul.”
The Senate candidates will be first, with Republican John Carlson of Bemidji and DFLer Tom Saxhaug of Grand Rapids talking Thurs., Oct. 18.
House district 5B candidates, DFLer Tom Anzelc of Balsam Township and Republican Carolyn McElfatrick of Deer River meet Thurs., Oct. 25;
and House District 5A candidates, Republican Larry Howes of Walker, and DFLer John Persell of Bemidji, talk on Thurs., Nov. 1. All three forums will air from 8:15 to 9 a.m.
Listeners are welcome to send questions for the candidates prior to the broadcasts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
KAXE and KBXE are operated by Northern Community Radio, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to build community in northern Minnesota through radio programming, cultural events and interactive media.
You can listen to KAXE at www.kaxe.org, on 91.7 FM in the Iron Range/Grand Rapids region, 90.5 KBXE Bemidji and Bagley, and 89.9 FM in Brainerd.
* I am a member, content contributor and associate producer for KAXE/KBXE, which produces and distributes my Great Northern Radio Show program.
** Again, I must note that I manage the campaign of my friend State Rep. Tom Anzelc, one of the candidates involved. I will not be participating in the planning or conduct of these forums.