Eagan resident Jen Wilson has won the Republican Party endorsement for House District 51B. Wilson will face Rep. Laurie Halverson, DFL-Eagan, in the November election.
“I’m very honored and really enjoyed getting to know all our delegates,” Wilson said.
The party has not yet endorsed a candidate for District 51A and intends to reconvene its endorsement process in April. Two Eagan residents are vying for the endorsement: Andrea Todd-Harlin and Victor Lake. The endorsed candidate will face Rep. Sandra Masin, DFL-Eagan in November.
An Eagan resident of 14 years, Wilson said she plans to focus on education and reining in government spending and taxation.
If elected, Wilson said she plans to cut what she perceives as wasteful spending by beginning with reforms to the state’s MNSure health insurance program.
Wilson said she would like to create a more market-driven approach that provides incentives for different types of insurance, such as long-term care. However, the federal Affordable Health Care Act may be an obstacle in creating some reforms, Wilson said.
“Our state had a pretty high rate of coverage before,” she said. “It wasn’t perfect and needed adjustment, but it could have been changed without a government run system.”
As a mother of three teenagers, Wilson said education is a high priority.
“We have great schools and I have seen exceptional things in District 196, but I see how mandates have pulled funds away from the classroom,” she said.
If elected, Wilson said she plans to place more control in the hands of local school districts.
Wilson has been involved in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District since her children were young. Previously, she has served on the District 196 Enhanced Learning Program Task Force and the Gifted and Talented Advisory Council. Her volunteerism also extends to the Minnesota Wildlife Center, Eagan Athletic Association, Girl Scouts, Easter Lutheran Church Preschool.
“My family has always guided where I place my resources,” she said.
Her family also played a large role in her decision to run for office.
“I always try to instill in my kids that if there’s an issue you don’t like, do something about it,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of frustration with how things are going. It’s more top down government and it’s not good for the state.”
Wilson said she felt running for office would enable to her make a difference in her community and set a positive example for her children.
Though she has never served in public office before, Wilson said she believes she has the experience and drive that will enable her to effectively serve District 51B.
“I see myself as someone who sees solutions and gets things done,” she said. “I think I bring a fresh perspective that’s needed in government.”
A graduate of Sibley High School, Wilson grew up in Mendota Heights and spent most of her life in the Twin Cities area. After graduating from Augsburg College in Minneapolis with a bachelor’s in communications, Wilson spent a number of years working in sales and real estate. She currently works as an intellectual property paralegal.
As Wilson kicks off her campaign, she said she plans to meet with constituents individually to hear their concerns.
“You can’t truly represent people until you truly get to know them,” she said.