BEMIDJI, Minnesota — Inspired to tackle a number of issues, Beltrami County Commissioner Reed Olson announced Wednesday, July 28, that he would run for the United States House of Representatives.
Olson, who's also the executive director for the Nameless Coalition for the Homeless and owner of the Wild Hare Bistro in downtown Bemidji, made the announcement in front of a crowd of about 75 under the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues. In his announcement, Olson said he is seeking the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's endorsement for the 7th Congressional District.
During his speech, Olson said if elected he would support bringing back more family-owned farms and move away from having corporate farms in the district. Olson also said he would support efforts to improve access to housing and child care, as well as higher wages and more quality jobs.
"We are the richest country that this world has ever known, and we have people living in desperate poverty, and those are policy choices," Olson said. "We are the government, this is a participatory democracy. When we engage, we can impact change and pass the policies that will help us. When we disengage, the big guys in Wall Street win.
"Right now, the top Democrats and Republicans are looking at Wall Street, not at Main Street. They're not looking at the people. We need to change that for our benefit, otherwise, we'll be getting poorer and poorer, and the rich will get wealthier and wealthier, and the power dynamic will get even worse."
As part of his campaign, Olson pledged to not take any money from political action committees or large corporations such as Enbridge.
Olson, who first moved to Bemidji in 1994 and returned as a permanent resident in 2004, began his service in government in January 2013. At the beginning of 2013, Olson was selected by the Bemidji City Council to represent Ward 4.
In 2016, Olson defeated incumbent Joe Vene for a seat on the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners. Olson was re-election in 2020.
Olson sought the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party's endorsement in 2018 to run for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 5A. John Persell later won the endorsement from the DFL later that year.
District 7 is represented by Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach, who won the seat in 2020 after serving in the Minnesota Senate. Fischbach also served as Minnesota's lieutenant governor from 2018-19.
Fischbach won the seat by defeating former Congressman Collin Peterson. After winning the seat in 1990, Peterson represented District 7 from 1991 to 2020.
Other announced DFL candidates include Ernest Joseph Oppegaard-Peltier, also of Bemidji, and Mark Lindquist of Moorhead. Travis Johnson of Crookston is also running for District 7 as a Libertarian.