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Sauser signs on for Senate run

Melissa Sauser announced Jan. 12 that she plans to run for Minnesota Senate in District 58.

Farmington School Board member Melissa Sauser has set her sights on the Minnesota Senate. She announced Tuesday that she has filed to run for the District 58 seat Dave Thompson will vacate at the end of the year.

Sauser, who is starting her sixth year on the school board, has been an active volunteer in the local Republican party since moving to Farmington in 2006.

“I always describe myself as someone who doesn’t sit in the back row. I sit in the front and get involved,” Sauser said.

The state capitol was never the goal when Sauser first ran for school board, but as she has worked at the local level she has run into roadblocks in state government to providing the kind of local control she was looking for. The Farmington district has done a lot to innovate in the classroom, she said, and she wants other districts to have the freedom to do the same.

Last year, Sauser took part in Minnesota Excellence in Public Service, a training program for women in politics. After that, she started thinking more seriously about running for state-level office. When Thompson announced last week he would not run for another term, she saw an opportunity.

While she says Thompson will leave big shoes to fill, Sauser is looking forward to the opportunity.

“I’m ready to continue to advocate for education policy from the senate floor,” she said in announcing her candidacy. “As an experienced school board member and education advocate, I know how important it is to have voices at the capital who know what we need to do to ensure Minnesota’s children get the education they need and deserve.”

Education issues will be a focus for Sauser, who also represents Farmington on the Intermediate School District 917 Board and serves on the Minnesota School Boards Association Board of Directors. But she said the bigger issue is local control.

“I want to be able to forge a new path ahead with the experience and values I have,” she said. “I want people to decide who will be most like them in St. Paul, and I think the voters in our community will realize I am very much like them, a mom with kids who stays home.”

Lakeville mayor Matt Little announced last year that he planned to run for the District 58 seat as a Democrat. Sauser is the first Republican to officially announce her candidacy.

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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