Actually, it’s gonna be the Year of the Republican Women

July 15, 2022 6:00 am

Natalie Zeleznikar, center, is one of a significant number of GOP women candidates for Minnesota House this year. She’s running in the Duluth suburbs. Courtesy photo.

This is a response to a recent guest commentary from Vote Run Lead on the need for more women in elected office.

This year Republicans have a record-setting number of women running for the Minnesota House — I’m absolutely thrilled at the opportunity Republicans have this year to expand the ranks of women in the Minnesota House, and in particular the exceptionally strong class of future first-term conservative women legislators for 2023.

Vote Run Lead is not the only organization working to elect women to office in Minnesota. Since 1989, the Excellence in Public Service program has been training conservative women to run for office in more than 20 other states.

I’m proud to have been a graduate from that program here in Minnesota, and to continue to support the work being done by Minnesota Excellent in Public Service (MEPS) that has helped train a generation of rising women leaders. 

I’ve had a chance to meet some of the women who have stepped up this year, and I know that their contributions to the House Republican majority next year will be incredibly valuable.

These conservative women leaders are ready to turn the page on the expensive and unsafe leadership we’ve seen from House Democrats. They’re ready to help families who are struggling under inflation and soaring gas prices in the Biden/Walz economy. They’re ready to make our communities safer and make investments in law enforcement. They’re ready to restore excellence in education and make sure our schools are focusing on reading, math, writing and science instead of trying to indoctrinate our kids. They’re ready to support our nursing homes — unlike Democrats who attempted to cut nursing home funding and dramatically underfunded these facilities after they went through unimaginable challenges with COVID.

For example, Krista Knudsen from Lake Shore, and Katrina Pulham from Rochester are business owners who saw the impact of government-mandated shutdowns and understand how businesses have been crushed by inflation and supply chain challenges. Natalie Zeleznikar, running against a 47 year incumbent from the Proctor and Hermantown area, is a nursing home operator and has seen firsthand how DFL efforts to cut and underfund nursing homes have taken a toll on facilities.

Tina Riehle in Stillwater serves on the local school board, and has seen the great need to help our students recover from the devastating learning loss that occurred when Democrats kept our schools closed months longer than necessary. Polly Matteson in Coon Rapids works in special education with students who were among the hardest hit by school closures.

Dawn Gillman from Dassel was inspired to run for office after founding “Let Them Play,” an organization dedicated to getting student-athletes back on the field when the governor shut down youth sports. Gabriela Kroetch in Savage is a first-generation immigrant who came here from Slovakia and wants to make sure America remains free and a land of opportunity for her children and the next generation.

These are just some of the outstanding new leaders that I can’t wait for Minnesotans to get to know on the campaign trail this year, and as legislators when the Minnesota House returns in 2023. Together these women are going to help Republicans deliver a record-setting tax cut to help families struggling with inflation, restore public safety to our communities, focus our schools on delivering a quality education to our kids, and so much more.

In Minnesota, we recognize the importance of getting more women into elected leadership at the Legislature. We are fortunate in Minnesota to have multiple conservative organizations to train and support women to run for office. We know the importance of increasing the number of women in the Legislature – and we’re putting that knowledge into action with this historic opportunity to elect more Republican women than ever before.

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Roz Peterson
Roz Peterson

Roz Peterson is a commercial realtor and small business owner who served in the Minnesota House from 2015-2019 representing the communities of Lakeville and Burnsville. She is also the former chair of the Lakeville School Board.