‘A lot of people want change’
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 26, 2018
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
SAVAGE — Hunter Cantrell knows first-hand the benefits that union organizing can bring. “I was part of the first round of home care workers that voted to certify the home health care workers union,” he says.
With AFL-CIO and DFL Party endorsement, Cantrell is running for the House District 56A seat in Savage and Burnsville. That’s another district Hillary Clinton won in 2016 which could flip from Republican to DFL this year.
The two-term Republican incumbent, Drew Christensen, has only a seven percent lifetime AFL-CIO voting record on working family issues.
Remember, it was Governor Mark Dayton working with a DFL-controlled legislature which expanded collective bargaining rights to thousands of home health care workers.
For Cantrell, now a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota for four years, “we’ve seen advancements in training, benefits, paid-time off.” And, he says, “a lot of us have seen the first pay increase we’ve seen in years — or ever…”
Cantrell grew up in a union family. His mother, Beth Cantrell, is a member of the Minnesota Nurses Association who works at St. Francis Hospital in Shakopee.
Cantrell graduated from Burnsville High School in 2013 and has attended Inver Hills Community College and the University of Minnesota.
He decided to run for the Minnesota House when his own fight with cancer made him realize that other people were not so fortunate as he was to have good health insurance. “I thought really hard about how I want to use what I see as a second chance in life,” he says. “I decided I needed to do something to make sure health care works for all of us.”
“I’ve always been interested in working to secure the well-being of the people around me,” he adds.
“People in general are excited that someone at my age is stepping up,” says Cantrell, 23. “What I’ve been hearing at the door is a lot of people want change; they want new people going to the legislature who bring new and fresh approaches.”