Meet the candidates: Matthew Bergeron

BergeronWe 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 meet Matthew Bergeron.

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 for almost ten years, but my connection to the area goes back decades. My mother and father met while attending St. Kate’s and St. Thomas and my father spent over twenty years as a UFCW member and union steward at the Highland Park Lunds. I’ll always remember the football games at O’Shaughnessy Stadium with my father. While I was raised in Mounds View, the Mac-Groveland-Highland Park area always felt like a second home to me.

I moved here to attend Macalester College where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in History and Religious Studies. After graduation I stayed in the area and attended William Mitchell College of Law. I took a leave of absence to work on Speaker Thissen’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. After the campaign, I finished law school while working at a small general practice law firm and later at a larger firm’s government relations department.

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

I currently serve as committee administrator for both the Health and Human Services Policy Committee as well as the Select Committee on Living Wage Jobs in the Minnesota House of Representatives DFL Caucus. I work with a number of legislators, government agencies, and advocates on a broad range of policy issues including MNsure (the state’s health insurance exchange) and the proposal to increase Minnesota’s minimum wage to $9.50 by 2015.

I have been involved in local DFL politics for nearly 10 years both in the northern suburbs and here in St. Paul. I became an active member of the SD 64 DFL in 2009, serving as a precinct chair and senate district director.

I volunteer as a mentor with College Possible, a St. Paul-based organization that works to help low income and minority high school students navigate the college applications process and supports them as they transition into college life.

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 running for the Minnesota House of Representatives because I believe my experiences as a lobbyist and legislative staffer make me uniquely suited to take the progressive vision we share as DFLers and effectively turn our community’s aspirations into legislative progress. I have spent years working at the Capitol as a private sector advocate, as a representative of local governments, and as a legislative staffer. I am prepared to step in on day one and delve into the important challenges facing Minnesota families.

In 2015 I will focus my efforts on expanding access to basic sliding fee scale child care and ensuring that workers have paid sick time that can be used to care for their loved ones. I will also work to ensure that the state honors its responsibilities to its elderly and disabled by paying those who care for them a living wage.

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

Yes. I am seeking and will abide by the DFL endorsement.

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

On any given weekend my wife Ashley and I can be found grocery shopping at the St. Paul Farmers’ Market, having brunch at one of the many great restaurants in the neighborhood, then enjoying coffee and conversation in a locally-owned coffee shop. Life can be so busy at times, one of the reasons I enjoy living in St. Paul is its propensity to help me slow down and appreciate my surroundings.

I like that in St. Paul, and particularly in the Mac-Groveland and Highland Park neighborhoods, I can’t stop in the grocery store for milk, swing by a boutique for a birthday card, or grab lunch with a friend without running into someone I know. I love the welcoming sense of community we have here, and on the weekends I enjoy getting out in that community more than anything.

Got your own questions for Matthew Bergeron? Ask him at mwbergeron@gmail.com.

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