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Labor 2012

Grace Baltich: Union leader, social worker, is called to ‘improve lives’

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 26, 2012

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

CHAMPLIN — “I’m not the type of person to draw a line in the sand. You have to work collaboratively — sometimes that means a compromise,” says Grace Baltich, who is seeking the House District 36A seat representing Champlin and Coon Rapids.

Baltich is endorsed by the Minnesota AFL-CIO and the DFL Party.

The new House District 36A is an open seat, drawn primarily from the old House district of Representative Denise Dittrich, who chose not to seek re-election.

From doorknocking, Baltich reports, “the biggest thing I hear from people is they are tired of the partisanship and the gridlock; they want people to work together and get things done.”

“As a social worker and a mediator, I have strong skills to pull people together and find common ground solutions that work,” Baltich says.

Baltich has worked as a social worker and mediator for Wright County since 2003. She has served as president of
AFSCME Local 2685 there since 2005 and also is a vice president of AFSCME Council 65. In addition, she serves on the executive board of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

“I’m just your average, everyday person working and trying to make my workplace better and stand up for the rights of my co-workers,” Baltich says. “I’m proud to be a union leader.”

“I really understand the value and benefit of collective bargaining rights,” Baltich says. She notes that her father, who lives with multiple sclerosis, “would not be alive today had his union not bargained for retiree health care.”

“My faith, my social work profession, call me to advocate on behalf of  others,” Baltich relates. She takes inspiration from the words of the late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone: “politics is about improving people’s lives.” For Baltich, “it is my passion and my drive to improve people’s lives, to make a difference.”

Baltich lives in the home in which she grew up in Champlin and has deep roots in the new House District 36A. She was born and raised in Champlin and graduated from Champlin Park High School. Her mother, Joan Molenaar, is well-known as a Champlin city council member. Her father Larry Molenaar, is a retired CWA Local 7200 member.

Baltich graduated from the College of St. Benedict and earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota.

Grace Baltich and husband Jim Baltich. a Marine Gulf War veteran, have a daughter, age 2.

Grace Baltich website:

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