Candidates for Minnesota House District 3B talk abortion, mining

The two candidates facing off for the Minnesota State House District 3B seat discussed several topics during an hour-long forum Tuesday morning.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 4:01 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - The two candidates facing off for the Minnesota State House District 3B seat discussed several topics during an hour-long forum Tuesday morning.

Long-time Representative Mary Murphy (DFL) and her challenger Natalie Zeleznikar (R) talked mining, energy, the economy and abortion among other topics.

Click here for a map of the district they are running to represent in St. Paul.

“I grew up being told and believing that government was a good thing,” Murphy said in her opening statement.

Natalie Zeleznikar spoke about her battle with breast cancer.

“I had breast cancer,” she said, “Eight surgeries and I know all too well how much we need people when we have trauma cancer surgery or when you simply become a new mom.”

Zeleznikar, a political newcomer, is challenging Murphy, who has served 23 terms in the Minnesota State House, beginning in 1977. Murphy is a graduate of the College of St. Scholastica, UMD and the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Among a range of issues, Murphy said preserving taconite mining in the district is front of mind.

“We need to preserve taconite production and allow towns to have more ability to have a say at the state legislature,” Rep. Murphy (DFL), said.

Zeleznikar, who graduated from UW-Eau Claire and is a political newcomer, wants to see mining permits processed quicker.

“We can do it safe and we can do it with environmental standards, and permit processes can’t be 20 years,” she said.

Zeleznikar describes herself as an “entrepreneur and health care leader” according to her website. Using her experience, Zeleznikar wants to lower taxes.

“We need to lower taxes so people have more take home pay,” she continued, “for their groceries, for their gas, for their childcare, for their after school programs.”

Murphy emphasized her decades of service.

“We need to keep 46 years of experience at the state legislature.”

The candidates differed on several issues. One of the biggest was where Northeastern Minnesota should be getting its energy supply from.

“We need fossils fuels,” Zeleznikar said, “two out of three of us heat our homes with natural gas and we need fossil fuels in Minnesota.”

Murphy pointed toward green energy as an alternative to current energy production.

“We can become known for how we’re gonna deal with the electric cars situation and for other means of energy saving,” she said.

The candidates hold different views on several issues, but they found common ground on abortion.

“I’ve been pro-life for 75 years,” Murphy stated.

In 2019, Murphy co-sponsored a Republican-backed bill that would outlaw abortion after 20 weeks of a pregnancy. Zeleznikar didn’t say when abortion should be outlawed, but mentioned a rule that made it mandatory for those under 18 getting an abortion to notify their guardian. The rule was ruled unconstitutional earlier this summer.

“My concern with that is for those young girls that could be sex trafficked, there’s no way to know,” Zeleznikar said.

There are five weeks until the midterm elections. If you need more information on how to vote in Minnesota, you can visit the Secretary of State’s website. If you are a Wisconsin resident, you can find more here. Election Day is November 8th.