Meet the candidates: Dave Pinto

PintoWe 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 Dave Pinto.

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

I grew up in Falcon Heights and attended the Roseville public schools. I graduated with honors from Harvard University, then worked in the Clinton White House and for the late Congressman Bruce Vento. After earning degrees in law and business from the University of Virginia, I returned home to Minnesota. I practiced law for several years with Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, where I was recognized for providing free legal services to needy individuals and organizations.

My wife Abby, our two sons, and I have lived in Highland Park for more than a decade. I’ve been an active member of the Senate District 64 DFL ever since, attending meetings and countless doorknocks and phone banks to support progressive causes and candidates. I teach 6th grade religious education at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church and am a member of AFSCME Council 5.

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

I’m a prosecutor with the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, specializing in crimes of domestic and sexual violence, particularly against children. I’ve led a team of attorneys fighting domestic violence involving children and now focus on juvenile sex trafficking – both prosecuting traffickers and working for policy change to protect kids and hold traffickers accountable. I’ve done policy work at the Capitol both on domestic violence and on sex trafficking, and am proud to have been honored recently with an inaugural “Inspire Award” from the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women for my work fighting domestic violence.

My community involvement outside of work includes past service on the Highland District Council, the Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation, and Partners for Violence Prevention, and current service on the St. Paul Long-Term Capital Improvement Budget Committee, in addition to much volunteer work for progressive causes and candidates.

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

My progressive agenda for Minnesota includes decent work for fair pay, universal health care, secure and affordable housing for families and seniors, a healthy environment, smart transportation, and equity in opportunity. Underlying all of these is the fundamental belief that we take care of one another.

The way I’ve lived out this belief in my work is through advocating for and protecting children. This has been gratifying. But I’ve realized how much more we can do to truly advocate for kids and work for a better future in Minnesota:

▪ Investing in both early childhood education and out-of-school opportunities
▪ Moving forward on school safety and protections against bullying
▪ Fully funding “safe harbor” options to prevent sexual exploitation
▪ Closing equity gaps in health and education

If we champion these and other causes for children – in 2015 and beyond – we will create a better future for us all.

Do you plan to abide by the endorsement?

Yes. I have a long history of involvement with the DFL party in our neighborhood. I’ve abided by the endorsement in the past and intend to do so again now.

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

Our family loves to ride our bikes around town. One favorite destination is the Highland Farmer’s Market (near the Barnes & Noble) – it has nice selection in a relaxed atmosphere, and the kids enjoy the samples! Lynden’s Soda Fountain (Randolph & Hamline) is another favorite stop; the malts are incredible. We also have a fun time playing basketball at the JCC, and continue to push ourselves toward the day when we can all climb the “Davern Hill” from St. Paul Ave up to Edgcumbe.

Got your own questions for Dave Pinto? Ask him at