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Labor 2012

Ron Erhardt: ‘I know how to meet in the middle… and get things done’

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 26, 2012

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

EDINA — “I have been a moderate Republican throughout my life, but this year I sought the endorsement of the Edina Democratic Party for the open seat as Edina’s representative in District 49A,” says Ron Erhardt, who previously served 18 years in the House representing Edina as a Republican.

Erhardt is running with endorsements from the Minnesota AFL-CIO and the DFL Party.

“I was always a social moderate and fiscal conservative,” Erhardt says.

 “In my view, the Democratic Party today better reflects Edina’s  traditional sense of moderation than does the Republican Party,” Erhardt maintains. “The leadership of the GOP has been taken over by libertarian and Tea Party insurgents, whose disdain for government is far outside Edina’s moderate mainstream.”

“There’s not much left in the center. That’s where decisions get made,” says Erhardt. “With my skills over 18 years, I know how to meet in the middle and get bi-partisan agreement to get things done.”

“My concern is a lot of the legislators are not talking to each other,” he adds. “They need to come to the center and resolve their differences.”

After serving nine terms in the Minnesota House, “I have a respect for the institution, having served in the days when we used to get things done,” Erhardt says.

In order for DFLers and Republicans to govern together, he says, “not everybody gets everything you want. You have to give and take, so everybody gets something they can live with.”

Erhardt told the audience at a League of Women Voters debate, “I was rarely in my seat; I was working across the aisle, talking to people, making deals.”

“Some of the biggest bills I passed… were broad-based, bi-partisan,” he told the debate crowd, “that’s the only way you get stuff done over there.”

In 2008, after the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge, Erhardt authored a bi-partisan transportation funding bill as vice chair of the House Transportation Committee. Governor Tim Pawlenty vetoed the bill.

Erhardt then was one of six courageous Republicans who voted  to override Pawlenty’s veto, a vote which cost Erhardt his Republican endorsement that year. Erhardt ran as an independent in 2008 to retain his seat but lost.

Now running as a Democrat in 2012, Erhardt says, “I’m just changing my shirt and going back to work.”

Ron Erhardt website:

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