Open House seats draw contenders

by Paul Rignell
Contributing writer

Paul Bolin, 24, a long-time resident of Otsego, has announced his intention to seek

Paul Bolin

the Republican endorsement in the race for Minnesota House District 30B this year. Because of recent redistricting, the newly drawn 30B — including most of Otsego, and St. Michael, Albertville and Hanover — will be without an incumbent candidate.

Bolin moved to Otsego from Elk River at age 5 and graduated from Elk River High School at 16, in 2004. He went on to finish a degree in biochemistry and physiology, with a minor in economics at the University of Minnesota, and in 2011 he completed medical school at the University of Illinois. He plans to begin his residency in 2013.

If elected into a House seat next fall, Bolin already pledges to serve a maximum of four years, or two terms. He says he believes he could bring change to state government in that time. “Positive change, and then come back to what I’ve always wanted to do, which is be a physician,” he told the Star News.

House Districts 30A and 30B are both open seats. Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, is the incumbent in 30A but is running for the state Senate instead.

He would like to enter the field of internal medicine, specifically gastroenterology.

He was involved in Republican politics and took on leadership roles throughout his post-secondary education. He represented his U of M chapter of the College Republicans at one of that organization’s state conventions, and he was also a delegate to the statewide party convention in Minneapolis in 2006. He served as scholarship chair for his Beta Theta Pi fraternity at the U of M, and at the University of Illinois he co-chaired a chapter of the Christian Medical Student Association.

Education is chief among his state legislative concerns. “I want to make sure our schools are really preparing people,” said Bolin, who previously has taught Spanish in an after-school program for elementary students in Big Lake and is currently tutoring some high school students. “I want them to be offering the best education for everybody.”

He has visited or planned visits with officials at every school in District 30B, he said, noting Otsego Elementary School and both St. Michael middle schools. He has spoken with principals about school funding and education reform.

Bolin said that the schools in his district are receiving about $1,000 less per pupil in state funding than schools in Minnetonka and St. Louis Park, based on a formula currently grounded in 1993, and that puts more of a burden on local property taxes and residents, he said, because Otsego and other District 30B cities do not have the same volume of commercial and industrial properties as those west metro areas.

Bolin says he would support a “right to work” amendment for Minnesota such as those that are in place in Iowa and North and South Dakota, to allow more workers the individual choice on whether to join unions. He said that Minnesota’s lack of adopting that amendment to date has pushed companies and jobs to those bordering states. “I’m very passionate that all Minnesotans who want a job can find one,” he said.

Among social issues, Bolin said he wants the state to reduce or eliminate its subsidies for abortion, where the funding is about $2 million annually now for a total of $70 million over 15 years, he said.

Bolin’s parents, Brett and Jackie Bolin, continue to live in Otsego and are both also ERHS graduates. Paul notes that his parents are Democrats. “We do get along,” he said, but added with a quip, “I’m working on them.”

He credits his father for engaging him in educated discussion. “It’s made me more politically aware,” the Republican son said, “because he challenges me.”