In an interview today, Spring Valley City Council member Tony Archer said he has decided to run for the House District 31B seat because the legislature needs more statesman willing to put aside party politics for the greater good.
"We need to be crossing the aisles, working with each other and working for the common good of Minnesota," Archer said.
Archer registered his campaign committee with the state on Nov. 2. He is the first Democrat to announce he is running for the seat held by Republican House Taxes Committee Chair Greg Davids.
Archer, 49, is a registered nurse and has served two terms on the Spring Valley City Council. He said he has serious concerns about the deep cuts made to help balance the state's $5 billion budget saying he believes they "were not in the best interest of the people." He also supports DFL Gov. Mark Dayton's position that taxes should be raised to help balance the budget.
"We need to have the people of Minnesota pay their fair share in any type of tax bracket because that is how you get things paid," he said.
During his time on the city council, Archer said he has seen how repeated cuts in state aid are hurting small cities in greater Minnesota. In recent years, Spring Valley has had to cut 25 percent from each department in order to balance the city's budget.
He cited the recent state government shutdown as an example of lawmakers being unable to work together. Archer said he supported DFL Gov. Mark Dayton's position that taxes should be raised to help balance the state's $5 billion budget deficit. He said he also opposes the decision to defer payments to K-12 school districts in order to help solve the budget shortfall.
"We are robbing Peter to pay St. Paul. That's how I feel about it," he said.
With a son in his first year of college, Archer said he is concerned about the recent cuts to higher education, which has led to tuition increases.
"College is eventually going to get to the point wehre only the rich kids are going to be able to go to college," he said.
It remains to be seen whether former DFL state Rep. Ken Tschumper of La Crescent will also jump into the race. It's also unknown where the legislative district boundaries will be after redistricting is completed.
Davids, who is serving his tenth term in the legislature, said he is planning to run again. He said he believes he has a strong record to run on.
"I ran on funding the schools, nursing homes and rural economic development, and we delivered huge on all those counts," he said.