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Rybak aide running for state Senate

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: October 31, 2011 - 1:30 PM

Peter Wagenius, policy director to mayor R.T. Rybak, announced Sunday evening that he will run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Larry Pogemiller.

Wagenius is a well-known commodity around City Hall, where he frequently stands in for the mayor at committee meetings. His mother is Rep. Jean Wagenius, a 25-year veteran of the state Legislature.

The special election primary is scheduled for December 2 6th. The only other candidate in the race so far is Jacob Frey, a DFL activist who announced last week.

In a statement, Wagenius said the Republican-led Legislature have imposed cuts that created "messes" and "damage."

"Their budget has weakened Minnesota’s quality of life: a few are doing well, but everyone else is still struggling," Wagenius said. "Meanwhile, the Republican-led Legislature is broken: it is stuck in stale ways of thinking and has done nothing to turn this crisis around."

As for his accomplishments in the mayor's office, Wagenius cited transit and bike trail improvements, merging two city pension funds, making the new 35W bridge light-rail-ready, and converting a Riverside coal plant to natural gas.

If elected, Peter and Jean Wagenius may be the first mother/son pairing to serve simultaneously at the Legislature.

The main battle for the Senate District, which covers Northeast and Dinkytown, will be the DFL primary. Pogemiller won with 78 percent of the vote last year, making his one of Minnesota's most left-leaning districts.

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