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Grand Rapids man announces run for House District 6A

Rick Blake said he brings a wealth of experience in the business, nonprofit and government sectors. With a history of working with folks from all walks of life, Blake said he knows how to reach across the aisle to get things done, as evidenced by his nonpartisan work on the city council and the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.

Rick Blake headshot
Rick Blake.
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GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids City Council member Rick Blake announced he will run to represent the residents of Minnesota House District 6A.

District 6A is a newly formed district that includes Grand Rapids, Cohasset, Garrison, Crosby, Ironton, Deerwood, Crosslake, Manhattan Beach, FIfty Lakes, Emily, Remer and a small portion of Brainerd, along with Fairfield, Ideal, Little Pine, Mission, Ross Lake, Perry Lake, Timothy and Wolford townships in Crow Wing County; and Ponto Lake Township in Cass County, among other Cass County communities.

Blake will run as a DFLer and was unanimously endorsed for the seat, according to a news release.

Blake said he brings a wealth of experience in the business, nonprofit and government sectors. With a history of working with folks from all walks of life, Blake said he knows how to reach across the aisle to get things done, as evidenced by his nonpartisan work on the city council and the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.

“I value my time solving issues at the local level on a nonpartisan basis and will bring my ability to get things done to the state government. I’m hoping my more conservative friends look past the party affiliation that comes with this candidacy to see me as a person who is deeply committed to improving life for all of us who live in Greater Minnesota,” Blake said in the release. “Divisiveness and polarization have taken a heavy toll on Minnesota state governance and I’d like to be part of a renewed effort to change that.”

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Blake said he understands the need to make investments in the region's future to continue attracting new industries. Investing in infrastructure is critical to the future of the district, he said.

“My service on the city council, the Grand Rapids Public Utilities Commission, the Grand Rapids Economic Development Authority, and the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities has been a wonderful addition to a lifetime of service opportunities. Through these opportunities, I’ve gained the knowledge and skills needed to serve as an effective state representative for the people of northern Minnesota,” Blake said.

Blake said good-paying jobs are essential for a good life in northern Minnesota and his experience on the Grand Rapids Economic Development Commission showed him how difficult generating those jobs can be - but also showed the success the area has in leveraging state and federal programs to improve the local economy.

Blake said he also supports fully funding schools, giving teachers and kids the tools they need to succeed. Blake’s daughter was a middle school social studies teacher who was committed to her vocation.

“My experience as KOOTASCA Board chair has also shown me the importance of early childhood education. The services KOOTASCA provides are invaluable,” Blake said. “The war on poverty is not over. Many of our citizens struggle with poverty daily, and most of our citizens have faced poverty at some point in their lifetime.”

Blake’s many years of experience working for Blandin Paper Co. cap a career that includes mining and papermaking, which he described as two pillars of northern Minnesota’s economy.

“We face some very tough issues as we move forward. I know the value of mining in our area and that we need to find a way to extract our valuable minerals without putting our environment at risk,” he said.

Blake also said he’s acutely aware that health care is a vital need for everyone.

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“I know first-hand many of the challenges everyday Minnesotans face in meeting their healthcare needs. Two of our children died of cancer, and I know the struggles we faced in obtaining all the care they needed," he said.

He also said he knows the health care challenges seniors face.

“As a volunteer with Senior LinkAge, I help seniors wade through Medicare supplement choices as well as other health care options. That experience has shown me some of the difficulties seniors, Medicare recipients, and those in poverty are faced with,” Blake said.

District 6A deserves a candidate who can represent all constituents and someone who understands the needs of local communities, Blake’s release said.

“Divisiveness and polarization have taken a heavy toll on Minnesota state governance and I’d like to be part of a renewed effort to change that,” he said. “Fighting this trend towards the extremes is what motivated me to enter the race.”

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