Meet the candidates: Greta Bergstrom

BergstromWe here at the SD64 DFL thought that our dear readers (that’s you) might be interested in meeting some of the candidates for the 64B DFL endorsement. We’ve asked all the candidates to answer some questions, and we’ll be posting their answers here all week for your reading pleasure. Let’s get to know Greta Bergstrom.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, how long have you lived in District 64B?

I’ve lived in Senate District 64 most of my life, growing up on Wellesley Avenue, a half a block from Nativity Catholic Church. My parents still live there. I attended Groveland Park Elementary, Highland Jr. High and graduated from Highland Sr. High in 1988. I graduated from Macalester College in 1992 majoring in Political Science. Following college, I spent 2 years in Washington D.C. working at a lobbying law firm and volunteering as a guardian ad litem for the D.C. Superior Court helping at-risk children. But as “all politics is local,” I returned to SD64 in 2004. My husband Eric and I met each other working on Mike Freeman’s 1998 campaign for Governor. Following that race, I went on to build a career in political communications and marketing. Eric, our children Evan (9) and Lily (8) have lived in our home on Sargent Avenue for the past 10 years.

What is your community involvement? What is your current job and other volunteer commitments?

I have been the Communications Director for TakeAction Minnesota since 2009, working on issues of economic and social justice including defeating the voter ID amendment in 2012, expanding health care access and raising the wage for low-income workers. For the past 25 years, I have been active in the DFL party, both here in SD64 as well as statewide. In 1992, I managed former State Representative Howard Orenstein’s re-election campaign while finishing college and working on Bill Clinton’s first campaign for President. During the 1990’s I served on the 4th Congressional District as a director and then as its Chair from 1998-2000, and managed former City Councilmember Jay Benanav’s successful DFL endorsement race. I have formed and led my daughter’s Girl Scout troop and have both been active in the PTA at Randolph Heights Elementary. For the past 5 years, my husband and I have volunteered as Sunday school teachers at our church, House of Hope Presbyterian.

Why are you running for office? What is the most pressing issue that you would like to tackle in the 2015 Legislative Session?

I am committed to advancing issues of economic equity for those in our district and for the State of Minnesota. We have too many disparities in wealth and income that are affecting our district’s middle class families and those that aspire to the middle class. These wealth disparities affect an ever-growing number of children in our schools living in poverty all the way to seniors trying to stay in their homes amid rising property taxes, yet unable to afford quality assisted living housing. We need more legislators at the Capitol leading the charge to close the gaps caused by the chasm between rich and poor, through structural tax reform, expanding access to better quality, family wage jobs and access to health care. I am running for the 64B House seat because I know I am the strongest candidate to tackle these issues at the legislature.

Would you be willing to abide by the endorsement of the DFL Senate District?

Yes I will abide. I wouldn’t waste the time and attention of active SD64 DFLers if I didn’t intend to abide by their endorsement decision. We have far more pressing problems to solve for the people of Minnesota than spending months on a contested DFL primary. We need to use our smarts, time and energies maintaining the DFL House majority and re-electing Governor Dayton and U.S. Senator Al Franken.

What is your favorite thing to during a weekend in St. Paul?

We’re a busy family and on any given weekend we’ll be involved in soccer or baseball practice, neighborhood play dates, grocery shopping, brunch or dinner out at places like the Highland Grill, the Nook and Vina. We like being outside, hiking at Hidden Falls and Crosby Park or swimming at the Highland Pool. Now that the kids are older, we’re also spending more time biking along River Road over the Ford Bridge to Sea Salt (yes, in Minneapolis) in the summer. It’s a great ride for the kids, good food and fun! Now that the snow has set in, we’ll look for opportunities to go ice-skating at Groveland or Edgcumbe Rec Centers or in downtown St. Paul by Rice Park. And of course, sledding down the hill at the Highland Golf Course.

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