Rochester DFLer Liebling announces run for Minnesota governor
Rochester lawmaker Tina Liebling officially announced her candidacy for Minnesota governor Sunday afternoon.
The DFLer, who has represented the area in the Minnesota House since 2005, outlined her campaign priorities in a fiery speech to supporters gathered in Peace Plaza. She said Republican advances in Washington and St. Paul have left many Minnesotans with bleaker prospects on issues ranging from health care to education.
"Many people feel that a chance for a good life is slipping away from them," she said. "Many people felt that away even before the last election, but since the election I think the feeling is even deeper."
A lawyer by trade, Liebling serves as the top House Democrat on both the Health and Human Services Finance and Ways and Means committees. In 2016, she broke ranks with her party's establishment and supported Bernie Sanders for president.
"Many Minnesotans, whether they have been here a long time or are recent arrivals, are watching what it happening in Washington and in Minnesota, and we are afraid," said Liebling. "We're afraid of what will happen to our families, our health care, our water, our climate and our economy if the billionaires get their way."
Liebling joins an increasingly crowded field of candidates seeking the party's nomination. Just last week, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, of Minnesota's 1st District, announced his candidacy for governor. Others vying for the job include St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, State Auditor Rebecca Otto and State Rep. Erin Murphy.
Acknowledging she may be considered an underdog in the race, Liebling touted her past success in flipping a Rochester seat that was once considered a Republican stronghold.
"When I first ran for office, no one believed I could be elected in what was then a Republican part of the state," she said.
Liebling's platform includes raising the minimum wage, providing free tuition for the first two years of education to state colleges and universities, and ending the prohibition on marijuana. She also supports a single-payer health care system.
"If we fight for it, I believe Minnesota can have an economy that supports working people with living wages and decent benefits, no matter what they look like, what religion they practice, where they were born or where in the state they live."
Follow Sean on Twitter.
Cover photo: Med City Beat