House District 42A sees a rematch between Jessup and Yarusso


Randy Jessup

Barb Yarusso

This year House District 42A is seeing a rematch of 2014’s close race between Rep. Barb Yarusso and her Republican challenger Randy Jessup. Two years ago, Yarusso won narrowly over Jessup by only 220 votes, or about 1 percent of the vote.

According to the Secretary of State, the results for that race show that 17,340 residents voted in the District 42A race that year. 

Jessup of Shoreview is back at it again, hoping to flip the seat for the Republican Party. Yarusso, a Democrat and also from Shoreview, is concluding her second term and hoping to be re-elected in District 42A, which consists of Arden Hills, Mounds View and Shoreview. 

The Bulletin reached out to the two candidates, asking them what skills and experiences they think they would bring to elected office, what they think are the top challenges facing the district and the state, and what issues or projects they would prioritize if elected. 

Election Day is Nov. 8. 

 

Randy Jessup, 55, is a graduate of Bethel University, where he studied engineering, and then studied a chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota. He later earned master’s degree in business administration from the U of M.

He and his wife Jan have three grown children. 

Jessup, the Republican-endorsed candidate, has been a small-business owner for 14 years — owning four UPS Stores, located in Roseville, St. Paul and Minneapolis. 

When asked what skills and experience he would bring to elected office, Jessup cited his business knowledge. 

“I work daily with customers, vendors and employees to find solutions and create win-win opportunities,” Jessup said, noting that he served as an elected representative for owners of 4,500 UPS Stores across the country for eight years, and currently serves as chair for his church’s governing board. 

“The ability to lead, listen, collaborate and accomplish are skills I offer along with a tenacious passion to get things done,” Jessup said. 

According to Jessup, the top challenges that the district and state face include education, healthcare costs, partisan politics and family budgeting. 

Jessup asserted that Democrats “want to increase taxes on our community ... Family budgets do not need to be burdened with additional taxes, particularly as our state budget surplus continues to grow. I also want to protect seniors’ Social Security benefits from taxation.”

Regarding education, though he called Mounds View School District “one of the finest in the state,” Jessup said schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul “continue to struggle with the largest achievement gap in the country.” 

“This tragedy must be overcome,” Jessup said. “We need out-of-the-box solutions from educators and others. I will work with all on this issue.”

 

Barb Yarusso, 60, is married to Dave and works part time as a self-employed tutor. She has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Regarding her skills, the DFLer highlighted her background in engineering, education and community involvement. 

“I apply my scientific knowledge to environmental issues, my engineering training to understanding complex systems and asking the right questions, and my educational experience to making sure our public schools work for Minnesota’s kids,” Yarusso said.

When asked about the top challenges the district and state are facing in the coming years, she listed transportation, healthcare and education.

She said the challenge in transportation will be “reaching a compromise on a balanced, sustainable, dedicated increase in transportation revenue.” The challenge in healthcare is the “insurance system needs to be reformed to stop escalating costs and provide equitable healthcare access to all Minnesotans.” 

Regarding education, Yarusso said, officials need to better address the educational achievement gap and make sure the educational system adapts to new challenges and future needs, “so all students can gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.”

If re-elected, she would prioritize working to provide infrastructure development “to support communities’ economic development and quality of life.”

“The most urgent infrastructure project for the district actually lies outside the district,” Yarusso said, explaining that the bridge that carries Rice Street over Interstate 694 is inadequate and should be replaced. 

“A longer term need is for improved public transit,” she continued. “I will also continue to support public education and protect Minnesota’s water and other environmental resources.”

 

Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815.

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