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Jackson native seeks state House seat

Jackson woman Heather Klassen is running for the District 23A seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2018. (Special to The Globe)

JACKSON — Jackson native Heather Klassen has announced her plans to run for the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2018.

The Complete Insurance Services Inc. agent and office manager will seek the District 23A seat held by Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, since he was first elected in 1995. District 23 is composed of Martin County and portions of Jackson, Faribault and Watonwan counties.

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate said she was particularly compelled to run after witnessing general negativity following the 2016 general election.

“I decided that instead of complaining about the state of things I wanted to get involved,” Klassen said. “Instead of being against everything — try to be for something.”

Conversations with family and friends also had her decide to run. Those she has spoken with do not feel seen or heard by their representatives, she added. Klassen wants to change that, as her campaign slogan is, “Your voice for rural Minnesota.”

Klassen is interested in many things affecting rural Minnesotans, but as someone who has worked in the insurance business for 15 years, affordable health care is her signature issue.

The MNsure-certified insurance broker on the state’s health insurance exchange said she has also experienced health insurance prior to the Affordable Care Act.

“I’ve witnessed firsthand how much having access to health care has benefited my customers,” she said as a result of the adoption of the ACA. “So the threat of that being repealed — having pre-existing conditions back on the table — is just unacceptable.”

If the ACA is repealed, Klassen said she thinks it will then be each state’s responsibility to care for its people.

“So I wanted to be a part of that if it comes to that and be able to use some of my experiences and the experiences of my customers,” she said.

A 1993 graduate of Jackson High School, Klassen returned to her hometown in late 1998 after earning a degree from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. and residing there a few years afterward. She said she wanted to be closer to family and raise her own in a community where everyone knew one another.

“I wanted to raise my children in a community where we all support one another,” she added.

With her campaign officially kicked off, Klassen said she will spend the next year going door to door talking with as many people in the district as possible.

She also plans to attend community events, festivals and speak with community organizations, she added.

“Before I can take a stand on issues I want to make sure I know what’s really important to our constituents here in District 23A,” Klassen said.

Klassen and her husband, Tim, live south of Butterfield. The couple has five children: Nicolas, 19; Nathaniel, 18; Cameron, 17; Anika, 15; and Sawyer, 12.

To learn more about Klassen’s campaign, visit www.klassenformn.com.

Alyssa Sobotka

Alyssa joined The Globe in July 2017 and covers education and crime beats. The Nebraska native earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. In her own sarcastic tone, her blog, Aimlessly Navigating, recounts the reality, pitfalls and triumphs of a young 20-something navigating to maturity. Follow her on Twitter: @alyssasobotka

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