Alan Kantrud fights for House seat against Kathy Lohmer

Kathy Lohmer has been the District 39B representative for years, and for the first time since she won in 2010, she is in danger of losing her place. Alan Kantrud, a new-comer to the political scene, is taking the local election by storm with his efforts to replace Lohmer for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Alan Kantrud is a first-time candidate in this race, although that does not mean he wasn’t invested in politics before now. He regularly goes to city council meetings so he can keep up on the current issues facing the district. In addition to that he is also the city attorney of Maplewood, and, according to his website, “served as a prosecutor and assistant in civil matters for many cities.”

While discussing his plans for the future of this district, Kantrud said, “As a City Attorney, Board Member, Prosecutor and trained Mediator, I’ve been resolving conflict my whole career and want to bring some of those skills to Saint Paul.  I have the time to do the job the way it should be done as well.  If elected I will be going to School Board meetings, County Commissioner meetings, City Council meetings and ideally meeting with Mayors and other community leaders to keep up with the District’s needs, something that is not done now.”

Since Kantrud has so much experience in the community, that makes him a strong candidate. Lohmer rarely goes to city meetings, school board meetings, or even meetings with members of the community. When it is not election season, she is very hard to get a hold of if you want to talk about a concern in the district.

Even when it is election season, she is a very hard person to talk to. When asked for an email interview, she originally accepted, but after being sent the questions, Lohmer responded saying that “there’s really no way or time for me to get these questions answered.”

Lohmer has won many consecutive terms. During her time in the House, she has co-authored many bills, the majority of them concerning education or family planning, two things that her website cites as her most important issues. Kantrud cites his most important issues as the environment and providing working wages. He talks about the community as his main focus point, and what he can do to uphold the needs of the community.

Junior Cat Clements said, “He makes an effort to go to as many town meetings as he can, and really get to know our community.”

He makes an effort to go to as many town meetings as he can, and really get to know our community.”

— Cat Clements

Although Lohmer has served many terms as District 39B’s representative, she provides no framework that states how she would make an effort to support the community. Under the issues section on her website, she mentions very few issues that are grounded in the local community, with the exception of more local control for the government. On a local level, Kantrud seems like the more effective candidate.

The things Lohmer and Kantrud plan to do in the House are very different. Kantrud plans to uphold the needs of the district, and focus on environment and livable wages for workers, whereas Lohmer focuses on education and healthcare.

The issues that matter most to Kantrud, are more applicable on a local level, than Lohmer’s issues. The environment, especially in the river valley, needs protecting.  There will be workers that need to find a way to support their family. Healthcare and education reforms are more of a national issue than a local one.

Although Kantrud is gaining support in the district, some think that Lohmer is still the right choice. She’s been representing the district for so long and still has many supporters.

“A lot of her ideas come from her personal life, one of her sons is in the army and I have a brother in the Marines, so there’s a lot of other things that I agree with there,” senior Alyssa Lammers said.

Although she may base her ideas off her personal life, that may not necessarily be good in a candidate. She may have a few conflicts of interest, or she may be putting her personal issues before then issues of the community, which she was not elected to do.

With only a few months remaining until the election, the decision is becoming more and more pressing. Ultimately it is up to the voters, but Kantrud is clearly the better choice. Lohmer has had her time as representative and now it is time for her reign to come to an end. Her views are outdated and her ideas do not support the progression of the community.

As Kantrud would say, “Progress over Politics.”