‘My bills are about common sense… putting people first’
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, September 25, 2020
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
MAPLE GROVE — “A lot of my bills are about common sense, putting people back in the conversation,” says Kristin Bahner. “It’s about putting people first.”
A first-term State Representative, Bahner is running for re-election in House District 34B, which includes Maple Grove and Osseo. Her endorsements include the Minnesota AFL-CIO and the DFL Party.
Bahner first won the seat in 2018 — her second challenge to the Republican incumbent — winning that year with almost 53 percent of the vote.
The 2018 election which brought Bahner and other labor-endorsed DFLers into office not only created a DFL majority in the House, but also changed the way the House looked.
“It is among the most diverse [freshman] classes ever to come to the legislature,” she notes. Among the new DFL lawmakers were “more women, more people of color than ever before.”
“I actually think that’s pretty exciting,” she says. “We’re seeing folks get a seat at the table who, for many years, have not had their perspectives heard.”
For the 2019 session of the legislature, Bahner scored a 94 percent voting record from the Minnesota AFL-CIO on working family issues.
Reflecting on her first term, she says, “the one thing that surprised me the most… I had this grandiose idea of what happens on the House floor. I very quickly learned all the actual work on the bills — and the haggling — happens in committee.”
“Sometimes the opposition of the two sides is actually a healthy thing,” she adds. “They challenge you to think of the unknown.”
Bahner has focused on working to make health care more accessible and affordable, including writing measures that passed into law that helped in bringing down the cost of prescription drugs. She was a champion for the Alex Smith emergency insulin bill.
For Bahner, her work in the legislature is about “making systems and laws that work for real families and seniors.”
She remains hopeful that the legislature will pass a bonding bill yet this year, which she notes will bring “a lot of important transportation and public works projects” to invest in clean water, safe bridges, and good roads.
Bahner comes from a family of union members. “I always just grew up around hard-working folks who believed in fairness, who believed in treating other people right, making sure we take care of each other each and every day,” Bahner says.
Kristin Bahner: ‘I believe in collective bargaining’
(Minneapolis Labor Review, September 28, 2018)