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Lakeville mayor Little will run for Senate in District 58

Matt Little.

Matt Little’s attempts to win elected office date back to his fifth grade year at Parkview Elementary School. He wanted to be class president, but he had to settle for vice president because, he said, the girls thought “the other candidate was cuter.”

Now Little, a Rosemount High School graduate who became the youngest mayor in Lakeville’s history when he was elected in 2013, is entering an election where cuteness will presumably be a much less significant factor. He announced last week he will run for Minnesota Senate as a Democrat in District 58, which includes Farmington. The seat is currently held by Republican Dave Thompson.

Despite his elementary school loss, Little’s interest in politics really developed when he was in high school.He joined the debate team, and he started to see then the impact a person could have.

“It matters so much,” he said. “Every time a law is made, it impacts someone’s life. What we do in making these rules and regulations impacts people on a wide scale.”

In addition to debate, where he finished sixth in a national competition his senior year, Little was in band and played soccer at RHS. He went on to the University of Minnesota Morris, then spent two years working for the Letter Carriers’ Association in Washington, D.C. and a year teaching English in Chile before returning to Minnesota to attend law school. He recently opened his own practice, Little Law, in downtown Lakeville.

Little was a lead organizer of Lakeville’s Open Door food shelf and resource center. He won a city council seat in 2010 and was elected mayor in 2012 at the age of 27.

Now, while he says in an introductory video that a third term as mayor would be fun, he has his eyes on something bigger.

“I think I’ll have more impact on the state level now and being able to solve some of the larger problems,” he said.

Little said education, and particularly the ability of students to earn college credits while in high school, will be a priority. He also wants to reduce the achievement gap among students. Jobs and seniors are also among his priorities.

Little’s Senate campaign is just starting, but somewhere in the back of his mind he might have higher aspirations.

“My boyhood dream is governor,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll ever get there. Right now I think I can be impactful at the state Senate.”

He said he’s gotten good reactions since announcing his plans last week.

“It’s been really good,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun and support. It’s one of those crazy things where people from high school I haven’t talked to in a long time were giving me shout outs.”

Thompson, who also lives in Lakeville, was elected to the senate in 2010. He ran for governor in 2014.

Thompson recently announced he does not plan to run for the Second District U.S. House seat John Kline plans to vacate after next 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.

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