Weather Forecast


Vermillion resident will challenge Thompson in Senate race

Andrew Brobston has already been a music teacher and a software engineer. Now the Vermillion Township resident would like to be a Senator.

Brobston filed June 1 to challenge incumbent Minnesota Senator Dave Thompson in District 58. The filing fills a gap that has existed since March, when local Democrats ended their convention without endorsing a candidate. District 58 DFL representatives are scheduled to meet June 7 to decide whether to officially endorse Brobston, and district chair Steve Quist said Monday he doesn't expect a lot of opposition.

"I've talked to him a few times and I think people will like him," Quist said. "He's himself. He's not trying to be a politician. He's really down to earth. Super smart. Anybody who's almost finished their PhD in music obviously has to be smart. He's just a likeable guy."

Brobston is something of an unknown quantity in the area. He came to Minnesota from Iowa five years ago to study in the doctoral program in saxophone performance at the University of Minnesota. He moved to the district two years ago.

Brobston has been involved in politics in recent years, attending caucuses, but running for office hasn't been a long-term desire. Now, though, he sees an opportunity to make a difference. He believes he has the skills necessary to ease what he describes as a divisive and overly partisan atmosphere at the capitol. He cited examples ranging from Minnesota's recent budget battle to the recall election that took place Tuesday in Wisconsin.

"I do this all the time," he said. "I'm a software engineer by profession right now and a lot of what I do comes down to listening to people."

When Brobston saw the vacancy on the local DFL ticket, he figured he was the right person for the job.

"I thought this is a way I could actually do something and not sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to make the changes I wanted to see," Brobston said.

Running a senate campaign should make for a busy few months for Brobston. He is in the process of preparing a doctoral thesis - running a Senate campaign is a good form of procrastination, he said -- and he has a full-time job developing internal business systems for AIR-serv, the company that makes the coin-operated air and vacuum machines found at many gas stations. He also has his own company developing web site design for private customers.

In addition to creating more unity between the parties, Brobston said keeping the state's budget balanced is a priority. He saw how the state's shutdown last year affected people, and he'd like to keep something like that from happening again.

"I don't want to see people suffering needlessly because of things the government does," Brobston said.

District 58 DFL leaders went through their caucus in March without endorsing a candidate for Senate or House District 58B, which includes Farmington. The district has since endorsed Jim Arlt in the House race.

Quist said there were two other residents who expressed interest in running for the Senate seat but decided the timing was not right this year.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606