DFLer Erin Koegel may be a first-time candidate for the state House, but she discusses state policy complexities like an old hand. The 34-year-old volunteer coordinator at Community Action Partnershp of Ramsey County has worked in and around the Legislature for most of her adult life, including a stint as executive director of the nonprofit group Health Care for All.
She’s better prepared to make an impact for her Coon Rapids-Blaine-Spring Lake Park district than is her GOP opponent, Anthony Wilder. Koegel gets our nod for the seat Rep. Jerry Newton is leaving to run for the state Senate.
Koegel, whose credentials include a master’s degree in advocacy and public leadership from University of Minnesota Duluth, is ready to contribute to the health-insurance debate that’s likely to dominate the 2017 session. She wants to explore extending the reach of MinnesotaCare, the state-subsidized insurance program for the working poor, to at least some of the people who buy insurance in the increasingly expensive individual market.
The Maple Grove native also wants to lighten the cost burden of child care, preschool and college education for middle-income families. The relationships she already has with legislators should be an asset for her district.