Midterm Elections Bring More Representation

Olivia Allery, news editor 

On Nov. 8, Augsburg campus took the day off to encourage eligible voters to the hit the polls for the 2022 midterm elections. Results are in, and the Minnesota State Legislature will be controlled by majority Democrats. 

Governor Tim Walz (D), was re-elected, beating out his Republican opponent Scott Jensen by a majority vote of 52.3%. Walz pulled major supporters from the Twin Cities in Ramsey and Hennepin counties and the surrounding area. He also won huge portions of northern counties such as Cook and St. Louis county, encompassing cities like Duluth, as well as the Grand Portage and Fond du Lac Indian reservations. With the rest of the state having overwhelmingly Republican support, the close Democratic majority in the races for governor, House of Representatives and Senate is a major win for the party. 

Along with this win, Minnesota has now made state history by electing three Black women to the state Senate. Democrat Erin Maye Quade won in District 56, which includes southern cities like Eagen and Apple Valley; Democrat  Zaynab Mohamed won in District 63, which includes southern parts of Minneapolis, Richfield and Fort Snelling; and Democrat Clare Oumou Verbeten won District 66 including cities like Roseville, Lauderdale and parts of Saint Paul. 

Minnesota House seats were split evenly between Democratic and Republican parties. The Twin Cities metro districts were all won by Democrats: Angie Craig for District 2, Dean Phillips for District 3, Betty McCollum for District 4 and Ilhan Omar for District 5. 

Democrats were also able to take control of the governor’s office, state House and Senate, which has not happened since 2013. According to MPR news, this shift in party control has been labeled the “Capitol trifecta” and re-elected Governor Walz explained, “Over the last four years, we needed to — because of the divided Legislature — work in a collaborative manner to compromise to get things done.” 

Some major pieces of legislation on the agenda that Democratic leaders are hoping to get going include the legalization of recreational marijuana use, placing restrictions on the purchasing and selling of firearms, increasing school funding, fighting climate change and supporting abortion access. The Republican senate majority leader, Jeremy Miller spoke on the power shift in MPR News saying that the Republican Party will continue to “fight for keeping life affordable for working Minnesotans and seniors, safer communities and support for law enforcement, and more opportunities for students to be successful in the classroom and beyond.” 

Meetings for the new legislative agenda were set to start early the following week after the elections to allow the House to prioritize different pieces of legislation. Since the election day, the newly elected House has now declared their first priority action is to address climate change by setting up Minnesota to have 100% clean energy by the year 2040. This initiative will be implemented by first addressing the funding of two bills already implemented into state law, the Inflation Reduction Act and the Investment Infrastructure and Jobs Act. Both Walz and the legislature are hoping an agreement can be reached on the amount of funding needed for both acts in the new legislative session, starting Jan. 3, 2023.