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Congressman Tim Walz and his running mate State Representative Peggy Flanagan talk about their campaign for governor during an interview at the Mesabi Daily News Monday evening.

When choosing the next governor on Nov. 6, Minnesotans should look for a leader that can bridge the gap between parties and accomplish more than past legislative sessions — which have struggled to cover even the most basic of tasks for Minnesotans.

Congressman Tim Walz is the best candidate to foster the communication and cooperation necessary to be the state’s next governor, bringing with him experience in schools, military and Congress. It will be especially important that Walz, a DFLer, is successful here with a divided House and Senate currently controlled by Republicans.

Walz has committed to a Minnesota government that represents the entire state. Coming from a rural district in Mankato, he has a grasp on the issues affecting Greater Minnesotans and understands the importance of better school and infrastructure funding for rural areas.

In a time when our government is increasingly fractured by partisanship and geography, the good-natured and down-to-business attitude of Walz will win him more common connections across the Legislature than enemies in St. Paul.

Walz has supported copper-nickel mining that follows the permitting process, though we’d encourage him to work with the agencies to prevent unnecessary delays. He’s also strongly supported local Steelworkers during contract negotiations with Iron Range steel companies.

Perhaps no candidate in a statewide race better understands the possibilities in education reform than Walz, a former teacher. Education is such a key aspect for the future of rural Minnesota and its economy, as more and more small districts struggle with funding, while trying to adapt curriculum to better transition trade-interested students into their field rather than a four-year institution.

Walz’s opponent is Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson. Johnson has been a strong supporter of President Donald Trump and his policies on health care and immigration in particular. But Johnson has also stated his support for statewide right-to-work legislation that would impact private unions in Minnesota, including those on the Iron Range.

Walz’s running mate is State Rep. Peggy Flanagan of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and a resident of St. Louis Park. She’s advocated for family issues in that role, including the child care shortage that is squeezing Range families.

With Walz, Minnesota and the Iron Range can put their vote down for a leader committed to working across the aisle toward solutions for both the Twin Cities metro and Greater Minnesota, erasing the sharp partisan and geographical divisiness of our state government.

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