Joe Walsh, Princeton resident and attorney with Curott & Associates of Milaca, has announced his candidacy for the Minnesota Legislature. Walsh made his announcement Saturday, Jan. 21 at a DFL breakfast in Milaca.
Walsh is the youngest of five siblings, raised by a farmer on one of the family’s two Century Farms. Four years ago, Walsh moved to Mille Lacs County to work at the local law firm.
“As a lawyer, I meet people with problems and I solve them,” he said. “And we have some problems in the Minnesota House.”
He said the state shutdown of last summer indicates a need for a change in representation. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being held hostage,” Walsh said.
He also criticized the “no new taxes” pledge many House members promised voters. “I think some of you have noticed a few new taxes recently,” he said, calling Minnesota’s tax policy regressive. “I think we need to get the top 10 percent paying the same as the bottom 10 percent — at least. That’s just basic math.”
He said the last time the wealth disparity was as large as it is now was 1929. “Anyone remember what happened right after that?” Walsh asked. “When people start talking about class warfare, that’s when you know you’re doing something right.”
Education would also be a focus if Walsh were elected. He said the “Minnesota Miracle” has been sorely missed.
“That’s gone. That’s been rolled back by Republican governors, most notably Gov. (Tim) Pawlenty,” he said. “Our kids are competing against kids in Edina and Eden Prairie. We need a new Minnesota Miracle.”
Walsh said as a speech coach for Milaca High School, he knows rural students can compete with suburban students, they just need the same kinds of opportunities and support. Because the redistricting process is not complete, Walsh said he wasn’t certain if he will run for the state House or Senate, but it’s clear he’ll be contending for one or the other. He said he plans to form an official campaign committee soon.
If they decide to seek re-election, Walsh will be going up against either Sen. Dave Brown or Rep. Sondra Erickson, both Republicans. “I’ve been sitting on the sidelines for so long,” Walsh said. “I’d love to run and represent the people of the district.”