by Dennis Dalman
A St. Wendel Township woman, Heidi Everett, was endorsed last weekend by the DFL as a candidate to compete against Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) for the Minnesota House District 13B seat.
District 13B is an area of northwest Stearns County that includes the cities of Sartell, St. Stephen, Holdingford and Sauk Rapids, as well as the townships of Avon, Holding, Brockway, St. Wendel, Minden, LeSauk and Sauk Rapids.
That seat will be determined in the Nov. 6 general election. Voters will likely choose between O’Driscoll and Everett. However, the official filing period for state office runs from May 22 to June 5. If any other contenders should file, that could lead to a primary Aug. 14.
O’Driscoll was first elected in 2010. Members of the House serve two-year terms.
Everett, whose campaign motto is “Civility in Action,” said she wants to strengthen education, work to increase wages, to introduce reasonable laws for gun safety, to boost right-to-work laws, to legalize recreational use of marijuana and to develop a one-payer system so all Minnesotans have affordable health coverage.
Born in Ramsey, Everett moved to St. Cloud in 1988 to attend college. She, her husband Emil Towner, and their four children (now ages 8 to 23) have lived in St. Wendel Township for 13 years. Towner is a professor of business communications.
Currently, Everett is a managing director for communications and editorial content for a technology company. For 25 years, she has taught writing courses as an adjunct faculty member at St. Cloud State University and at the St. Cloud Technical & Community College. She describes herself as a lifelong, passionate believer in the powers of education and is a board member of the St. Cloud school district’s Local Education and Activities Foundation, an advisor for a sorority and president of the Kennedy Community School’s Parent-Teacher Association. She has been involved in virtually every aspect of education at local schools and colleges.
She has also long been involved in the fight for workers’ rights and for eight years served as a co-chair of a workers’ litigation committee.
“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.”
Raised in Sartell, Rep. Tim O’Driscoll served on the Sartell City Council and was the city’s mayor before running successfully for state legislator in 2010.
After graduating from Sartell High School, O’Driscoll earned a bachelor’s degree in real estate from St. Cloud State University. He then worked in real estate and later became a corporate trainer for Kaplan Professional Schools.
Among his other numerous civic activities were president of the Sartell Economic Development Authority, secretary and executive board member of the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization and board chairman of the St. Cloud Area Joint Planning District.
O’Driscoll was also instrumental in forming and helping continue the popular Sartell SummerFest celebration.
Among his committee assignments at the Minnesota House are those involving commerce and regulatory reform, government finance, veterans’ affairs, workplace safety and rules and legislation administration.
O’Driscoll has been honored many times for his work on behalf of veterans.