Four vie for Thissen’s seat

With its representative in the governor’s race, District 61B opens for the first time since 2003


As deputy chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Jamie Long manages the congressman’s Minnesota office. Now the Armatage neighborhood resident is launching his own campaign to “champion Southwest Minneapolis progressive values” in St. Paul.

“I’ve spent my career in public service trying to do what I can to improve people’s lives, and I have found that the federal government is pretty stuck right now, but I think there is still an opportunity to make a difference at the state level,” Long said.

Having previously worked as an environmental attorney and energy and transportation aide in Congress, Long would make clean energy and clean transportation two of his top policy priorities. Currently active in an effort to start a community solar project, Long said he’d like to see the state reach 85 percent renewable energy by 2035 while transitioning transit fleets to all-electric from diesel vehicles.

But at the top of his list, if elected, would be equity.

“I believe the most critical policy issue facing our state is the equity gaps facing people of color,” Long said, adding that the solution touches on a wide range of policy issues, from healthcare to education to the criminal justice system.

Long said he ultimately wants a single-payer healthcare system and would support expanding access to MinnesotaCare as a bridge to get there.

“In the education space, I strongly believe that we need to reinvest from cradle through post-grad,” he said. “We have huge needs for childcare and early childhood education in the district. It’s something I’ve heard a lot about from neighbors as I’ve been knocking on their doors.”

Long said the state’s K–12 funding formulas are “broken” and contributing to the Minneapolis school district’s budget struggles. At the post-secondary level, he’d seek out options for “debt-free college,” he said.