by Paul Rignell
Sharon Shimek of Otsego has been endorsed for Minnesota House District 30B by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. The district also includes St. Michael, Hanover and Albertville.
Shimek says she has followed party politics for years and that she decided it was her turn to run for office when the new District 30B boundaries were drawn this year and left these communities without an incumbent House member.
“I opened my mouth and did that,” she said. “I thought it was time to stop being an onlooker, and jump in.”
The candidate has lived in the northwest metro for 15 years with her husband, Chuck, living first in Champlin before moving to Otsego.
Shimek grew up in the southeastern Minnesota town of West Concord. She became a second-generation graduate of what is now Minnesota State University – Mankato, majoring in English with minors in Spanish and sociology.
The couple, who have two adult children, spent earlier years of their married life in the Minnesota towns of Le Sueur, St. Cloud, Mora and Bock (near Milaca).
Shimek has a breadth of job experience. She and Chuck ran a bar and restaurant, known as Charlie’s, in Bock. She has worked on the loading dock and in the fabric department at a Walmart. She worked as a school and city government reporter for more than seven years for the Mille Lacs County Times after taking some journalism classes at St. Cloud State University, and most recently she worked customer service in a call center where she explained prescription drug benefits for callers.
She has volunteered in recent years at Central Lutheran Church in Elk River.
“I am retired,” Shimek said. “I decided in a way that was an advantage (in running for office).
“I understand a lot of what goes on in life, and concerns people have. I have concerns about education, but I do not go after teachers because these people are also paying taxes.
“One thing I’m really strong on is working together. I really get upset with this animosity (in government). I feel that is damaging to us as a society.
“I believe in working with people, that you can have differences in how you do things, but I think we need to work together.
“If elected, I will do my very best to be a good representative for my district.”