Undervaluing and even scorning experience in elective office is in fashion among some Americans. It's a regrettable trend that we reject with our endorsements in two Feb. 9 legislative special election contests. In both Bloomington's District 50B and in Anoka County's District 35, we prefer candidates who have proved themselves through previous government service.
District 50B: Carlson
On the strength of more than four years of service on the Bloomington City Council, DFLer Andrew Carlson gets our nod over Republican Chad Anderson for the seat that's been vacated at midterm by former DFL Rep. Ann Lenczewski.
Carlson, 41, has greater familiarity with state policy issues and has exhibited deeper commitment to public service. A project manager for the Minneapolis Public Works Department and former economic development official for that city, Carlson also has been a policy fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He won a second City Council term in November with 55.6 percent of the vote. Moderate-minded and attuned to his constituents, he seems ready to quickly participate in lawmaking in St. Paul.
That said, we hope Anderson, 36, continues to seek opportunities for public service. A lifelong Bloomington resident, Realtor and landlord, he's steeped in his hometown's needs. A first-time candidate, he has yet to do the homework an elected official should. But he would bring to that task a desire to make government work for all, including the disadvantaged.
District 35: Abeler
Voters in District 35's Jan. 12 Republican primary did their fellow Minnesotans a good turn by nominating former state Rep. Jim Abeler to the seat that GOP Sen. Branden Petersen left in October. Abeler, 61, a chiropractor, served with independence and distinction through 16 years in the state House, a stint that ended with an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2014. Tuesday's voters should send him back to St. Paul.
Abeler's DFL opponent is Roger Johnson, a community and DFL Party activist who declined to meet with the Star Tribune Editorial Board. Zachary Phelps is also on the ballot under the "Legal Marijuana Now" party label.