Duluth City Councilor Renee Van Nett eyeing State Senate run, DFL primary challenge

This is the KBJR 6 News at 5pm
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 6:59 AM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - Duluth City Councilor Renee Van Nett will vie for the DFL endorsement in the race for Duluth’s State Senate seat.

Van Nett tells KBJR6′s Dan Wolfe she aims to get the DFL endorsement for what is now Minnesota Senate District 8, and if all goes well, offer a primary challenge to incumbent Senator Jen McEwen ahead of the November election.

Van Nett represents the 4th Council District at city hall, and served as Council President in 2021.

She’s a graduate of Leech Lake Tribal College and works as Community Services Director for AFL-CIO/United Way.

Van Nett says she feels many of the people in her city council district are not being represented, and she wants to work to put a bigger focus on jobs and getting people back to work as COVID cases trend downward.

“I think we could do better at the Capitol for Duluth,” said Van Nett.

She says she considers herself a moderate DFLer. “I’m a center kind of person,” said Van Nett.

As for the DFLer who currently holds the 8th District seat, Senator Jen McEwen won her seat after running a primary challenge against a more moderate DFLer, Erik Simonson, in 2020.

McEwen recently announced a run for a second term.

The senator has listed providing free universal healthcare and transitioning to a clean energy economy as major goals.

In response to Van Nett’s announcement, Sen. McEwen issued a statement to KBJR6, in part saying “I welcome Councilor Van Nett to the race and look forward to a healthy exchange of ideas.”

Van Nett plans to announce her campaign at noon Monday at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at the Civics Center.

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