Seeks ‘common sense solutions’
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 16, 2020
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
WAYZATA — “I really admire the work ethic and the relationship-building it takes to do bipartisan legislation,” says Gretchen Piper. “I want to be part of constructive, common sense solutions that benefit our community and our state.”
A first-time candidate, Piper is running for the Senate District 33 seat, which includes Chanhassen plus communities surrounding Lake Minnetonka and then extends west and north to the west edge of Hennepin County.
Piper is endorsed not only by the Minnesota AFL-CIO, but also by AFSCME Council 5, Education Minnesota, the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, SEIU Minnesota State Council, and the United Food and Commercial Workers. Piper also is endorsed by the DFL Party.
She’s challenging the two-term Republican incumbent, David Osmek, who has earned a lifetime voting record of only 12 percent on working family issues tracked by the Minnesota AFL-CIO.*
Piper grew up in the district and has lived there most of her life.
She says the demographics of the district have been changing rapidly. Minnesota Senate District 33 is part of the Third Congressional District, which sent DFL-endorsed and labor-endorsed Dean Phillips to Congress two years ago. That same year, DFL-endorsed and labor-endorsed Kelly Morrison won the House District 33B seat.
“Kelly and Dean and I have known each other pretty much our entire lives,” says Piper, who supported their campaigns. “I’m so inspired by their example.”
For Piper, getting big money out of politics is a key issue. She’s refusing Political Action Committee donations.
Come January 21, Piper says, “job number one for the Minnesota legislature needs to be pandemic recovery,” including balancing the budget and passing a bonding bill and other forms of stimulus.
A consultant for non-profits, Piper says “throughout my life, I’ve advocated for jobs that support family-sustaining wages.” Instead of big corporations, “I think of workers as being the engine of Minnesota’s economy and the United States.”
*This story from the October 16, 2020 issue of the Minneapolis Labor Review has been updated to reflect the new Minnesota AFL-CIO legislative scorecard, which was released October 16, 2020 to include the 2020 legislative session.