by Dennis Dalman
Heidi Everett of St. Wendel Township, a candidate for Minnesota House District 13B, intends to put her decades of communications skills to good use if elected Nov. 6.
She is a professor of communications and journalism at Minnesota State University, Moorhead.
Everett, a DFLer, is challenging incumbent Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) for the legislative seat.
District 13B includes Sartell, St. Stephen, Sauk Rapids, Holdingford and the townships of Avon, Brockway, Holding, Le Sauk, Minden, Sauk Rapids and St. Wendel.
Everett’s campaign motto is Civility in Action, a phrase that encapsulates her belief that people of varying political persuasions can work together for the benefit of all.
Everett has lived on a hobby farm in St. Wendel Township for 14 years with her husband, Emil Towner (business communications professor) and their four children ages 10-24.
Born and raised in Ramsey, she endured poverty and other hard times as a girl, but – looking back – she has come to view those early struggles as forming her current passions and forging true-grit determination.
“I was committed to working hard to make my life better,” she said. “Babysitting at an early age enabled me to buy a bike. With that bike, I could work more by biking to clean people’s houses. When I was old enough to be hired, I biked to my job at the video store until I could save to buy a car.”
After graduating from Anoka High School, Everett moved to Central Minnesota for college and to raise her family. For many years, Everett served as managing director of content and editorial functions for a technology company.
Everett also later faced the roller-coaster rigors of the business world.
“I understand what it’s like to struggle in today’s economy,” she said. “In 2005, I went from being the primary breadwinner in our family to having no job when the company I devoted a decade of my professional life to began a series of layoffs that whittled its employee base from more than 1,000 to a few hundred in eight years.”
She and her family then started a business, which exceeded expectations for two years – until the 2008 recession hit hard. The family had to close shop.
“We were humbled by depleted savings and nonexistent credit, but we tightened our budget, cobbled together a variety of jobs and survived the recession,” she said.
For 25 years, Everett taught writing courses at St. Cloud Technical & Community College and has been an adjunct professor at St. Cloud State University. Throughout her career, she nurtured networking connections among students, faculty, businesses, nonprofit agencies and virtually every kind of organization in the area.
Her work includes three years of service as president of the St. Joseph Kennedy Community School PTA, three years on the Local Education and Activities Foundation, four years on the Brian Klineflelter Memorial Foundation and eight years on the Central Minnesota Advertising Federation. In addition, she has done fundraising work for St. Cloud Technical & Community College and the College of St. Benedict.
Early in her career, she was an advertising copywriter for Herberger’s, St. Cloud, and then worked for Creative Memories in communications, marketing, engineering and development.
Everett earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in English from St. Cloud State University, as well as a doctorate in technical communication and rhetoric from Texas Tech University.
Among Everett’s campaign platform is the following:
• Better wages: “I believe families should thrive and not simply survive. Paycheck to paycheck is not the way to go through life. Minnesota families need a liveable wage for skilled work, access to affordable health care and the financial security to ensure an abundance of healthy food on the table and a stable roof overhead.”
• Health care: “A single-payer health-care system (sometimes dubbed ‘Medicare for All’) ensures all Minnesotans get the care they need when they need it. Plus, it ensures individuals and families will no longer have to gamble on their health with the complicated plans currently available or low-cost/high-deductible plans. A single-payer system is the prescription for success in Minnesota and an opportunity to demonstrate real leadership in health care.”
• Reproductive health: “A woman’s health care continues to be under attack. I’m committed to defending women’s reproductive health-care rights.”
• Clean water: Everett calls for funding to protect rivers, streams, lakes; to ensure safety of drinking water systems; preventing runoff and pollution to waterways.
• Gun safety: “I believe individuals have the right to bear arms; in fact, I have a gun range in my basement . . . What is unreasonable is the notion that an individual has the right to own a military-grade weapon . . . that gives the power to mow down a crowd of innocent people in a matter of seconds.” Everett is in favor of background checks for all private and personal sales or transfers, banning assault-style rifles, high-capacity magazines and longer waiting periods.
• Union membership, right to work: Everett is in favor of unions and dues that would promote worker safety, encourage better wages and benefit packages.
The salary for legislators is $45,000 annually, with a $66 per diem rate.
Heidi Everett’s campaign website is heidimn13b.com.