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On the campaign trail with Lisa Bayley

Lisa Bayley spoke to Goodhue students in Michelle Rehder's government class about campaign funding and key issues. (Photo by Samantha Bengs)

Lisa Bayley, the endorsed Democratic candidate for Minnesota House of Representative District 21A, recently made campaign stops in local classrooms and at Wild Wings in Lake City. Bayley spoke with students and citizens regarding education, health care and economic development.

Classroom visits

The students in Michelle Rehder’s senior government class at Goodhue Public School were visited by Bayley’s opponent, Barb Haley, a few days prior to her visit. Students quickly asked about the two candidates’ differences.  

“Barb and I are friends,” Bayley said. “We know each other and serve on boards together.

What we’re trying to do is to make this a campaign about issues and ideas. We’re both good candidates with a lot of experience.”

Bayley spoke of her experience, starting as a criminal prosecutor in the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, where she prosecuted adult violent felonies. In 2005, Bayley began working with the Wabasha County Attorney's Office and handled criminal and child protection cases and advised the Wabasha County Board.

Since 2009, she has operated a private practice, Bayley Law, in Red Wing, specializing in child protection, criminal defense, family law and elder law. Bayley has served on the Red Wing City Council for eight years.

“As a councilperson, I learned so much about balancing budgets and how state government and funding works and impacts on the local level,” she said.  

Bayley also recently visited Scott Bender’s senior government class at Red Wing High School. She told students that her decision to run came from some motivation from her daughter, Nora, a student at RWHS.

“When I was thinking about being ready to hang things up, she told me ‘Mom you’re always telling us you can’t complain about things unless you're willing to do something on your own to make it better,’ and I knew she was right,” Bayley said. “I have the energy, experience and the will to work on problems and solutions affecting Minnesota and represent this district.”

Bayley explained key issues of her campaign to Bender’s students.

“I strongly believe we need to look at everything through the eyes of our working class families,” she said.

Bayley touted the importance of economic development to the students.

“By economic development we mean more jobs, more businesses and companies, more dollars coming in and out of a community. A stable community will lead to more money for schools, health care and to county and local government. The saying, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’ applies here. With a focus on economic development, everyone will be better off.”

Wild Wings

Randy Eggenberger, president and owner of Wild Wings in Lake City, hosted Bayley for a discussion with his staff. Numerous employees asked about marketing budgets based on the amount of campaign literature being received on a near daily basis.

Bayley, at first, joked about her similarities to Haley that “we look alike, we’re both about the same age, our names rhyme, we both have two kids around the same age.”

“There are some real differences between us,” Bayley said. “We talked in February and decided we wanted to run a clean race and focus on the issues. Unfortunately, we can’t control the outside money coming into this race.”

District 21A has become the most targeted race in Minnesota for outside money, Bayley said.

“So far, Republicans have spent $130,000 against me. That’s not coming from Barb, those are independent expenditures. They’re thinking this seat could tip control of the House.”

Throughout her campaign, Bayley said both working families and employers are struggling with the same issues: health care, affordable housing and daycare.

“We have got to get a handle on health care in Minnesota. MNsure is not working,” she said.

“The Affordable Care Act is a federal law. We can’t change it, but we can fix problems in Minnesota and revise our system.”

Eggenberger said, as a business owner, his biggest frustration is when the two sides dig in and are unwilling to compromise.

“How do we get the Democrats and Republicans acting as a unified front again?” he asked.

“I think you start by voting in people who are willing to work together,” Bayley said. “As an attorney who represents people in court, I want to get the best outcome for my client. But sometimes you don’t want to go to trial because you never know what the judge will do. I try to negotiate, when appropriate, the best possible outcome for my client. Does it mean they get 100 percent of what they want? Pretty much never, but it ends with lower court costs and they are able to drive the process a little bit more.

“That’s the same spirit we need in government. I believe if we can get a unified house and senate we will get a lot done.”

Bayley also discussed mental health and environmental issues.

“I have a strong affinity and love for the people of this district,” she said. “I want to be an advocate for the people here.”