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Forum Editorial: Paul Marquart’s moderate, common-sense voice will be missed in Minnesota

Paul Marquart has served ably for 35 years as a Dilworth City Council member and mayor as well as a Minnesota House member.

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It’s difficult to remember a time when Paul Marquart wasn’t involved in public affairs in and around Dilworth.

He’s held public offices for 35 years, starting as a Dilworth City Council member and 11 years as mayor. He was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives as a DFL Party member in 2000. But that long stretch of dedicated public service is coming to an end.

Marquart recently announced he would not seek re-election in 2022. The session beginning Jan. 31 will be his last.

“At 65, it’s time for new things and to spend more time with my family and those fun grandchildren,” Marquart posted on Facebook.

In St. Paul, Marquart has served as chairman of the House Tax Committee since 2019. He also serves on the House Ways and Means as well as Education Finance committees.

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In an interview Marquart told The Forum that his proudest achievements were helping to lower property taxes for rural residents and helping to pass the Ag2School tax credit, which lowered the tax burden on farmers faced with school bond levies.

As chairman of the House Tax Committee he worked to provide funding in 2013 to allow all-day kindergarten.

It’s not surprising that education has always been one of Marquart’s priorities. He’s a longtime social studies teacher at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton public schools, where he coached wrestling for a time. He plans to teach for at least the next year as he winds down.

Marquart was an early critic of the Fargo-Moorhead diversion, opposing the original design because he believed it placed too many adverse impacts on property owners in the upstream staging area.

That was a position shared by former Rep. Collin Peterson. D-Minn., and former Gov. Mark Dayton. Then a compromise was reached through a redesign of the project, shifting more of the impacts to North Dakota, which also will receive most of the benefits.

In his many years in public office, Marquart got to know his constituents well. He said the part of the job that he enjoyed the most was going door-to-door to meet those he represented, meetings that helped to guide his actions as a legislator.

“I truly value the friendships and conversations I had with a lot of wonderful people in the district,” Marquart said in his retirement announcement.

Throughout his time in office, Marquart’s voice was that of a common-sense moderate. His retirement from public life is well earned. We thank him for his service — a model we’d like to see others follow — and wish him the best.

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