For those who are counting, the number is now five: State Rep. Tina Liebling of Rochester on Sunday added her name to the list of DFLers vying to be Minnesota’s next governor in 2018.
Liebling, a lawyer raised in Minneapolis, has served in the Minnesota House of Representatives since 2005 and said her willingness to speak up and fight for what she believes in sets her apart from other candidates.
“I’m a person that’s not afraid to articulate a bold vision for the state,” Liebling said. “People know that I am who I say I am.”
Liebling attended the University of Minnesota and later earned a master’s degree in public health and a law degree in Massachusetts. She and her husband returned to Minnesota in 1994.
Many Minnesotans feel left out, said Liebling, adding that she rejects the idea of deep divisions between Twin Cities residents’ priorities vs. those in the rest of the state. Environmental issues, health care and education are important to everyone, Liebling said, and the state shouldn’t move backward in those areas.
Health care is an area of expertise, Liebling said, with many of her committee assignments in health and human services. She supports a single-payer system.
On her website, she champions raising the minimum wage, making the first two years of post-high school education free at public colleges, attaining 50 percent of Minnesota’s energy from renewables by 2030 and discussing the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Liebling enters a field of notable DFLers hoping to succeed Gov. Mark Dayton, who is retiring. Other candidates include St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, state Rep. Erin Murphy and State Auditor Rebecca Otto. Last Monday, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz joined the race.
No Republicans have formally entered the race, though many names have been tossed around.
Liebling said she plans to abide by the DFL nomination process. She said she may run for her House seat again if she doesn’t earn the DFL nomination.
Murphy issued a statement Sunday welcoming her to the race: “I’ve served with Tina for years and during that time she has always been vocal in her advocacy for the issues that drive her.”
The Minnesota Jobs Coalition, a Republican-aligned nonprofit, also prepared a news release reacting to Liebling’s announcement. In it, Executive Director John Rouleau said simply, “LOL.”
Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said that in his mind, the more candidates running for governor, the better.
Liebling is “an incredibly committed candidate in what she believes and that itself is going to bring a lot to the race,” Thissen said. “She’s had a history of pushing the party to be its best self.”