MN House District 5B candidates see education as top issue

Updated: October 21, 2020 06:21 PM

In the District 5B race for the Minnesota House, there is no incumbent. Rep. Sandy Layman (R-Cohasset) decided not to run for re-election

The contest is between Spencer Igo (R) of Grand Rapids and Joe Abeyta (DFL) of La Prairie. District 5B covers Grand Rapids and other parts of Itasca and Cass counties. 

Abeyta is a heavy equipment operator in the mines, and Igo has been working as a field representative for U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.).

The two agreed education is one of the key issues for their race. 

Igo said he'd like to see teaching relevant to future careers return to secondary schools. 

"If we give access to education to a lot of students to find their gifts and to have trade and vocational training in our high schools, that'll in turn inspire our economy, get our entrepreneurial spirit back up and going, and bring and foster more jobs," Igo said. 

Abeyta pointed to budget cuts and the burden placed on teachers. 

"Educators need to be paid a fair wage and have expanded healthcare in order to attract them to stay," he said. "It's very difficult." 

According to Abeyta, what the Legislature is missing is working class people. That's why he decided to run for the state House. 

Igo said he is pro-life and pro-labor and wants to work for more freedom and less government. 

Both say the bonding bill would have been a top priority had they been seated in the Legislature. And they both say they are committed to bipartisanship. 

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