ST. PAUL, Minn. — While Republicans remain fairly quiet on the governor’s race, another Democrat has announced a bid for the governor’s seat that will be left vacant after Gov. Mark Dayton finishes his term in 2018.
State Rep. Tina Liebling announced her bid for governor on Sunday. She is the fifth Democratic candidate to announce.
Liebling, 63, was born and raised in Minnesota where her father worked as a professor at the University of Minnesota.
Liebling graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s in Spanish from the U of M, before pursuing her Masters in Public Health from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, and received her J.D cum laude from Boston University School of Law.
Lieblings lays out her platform on her website. She plans on giving every Minnesotan the opportunity to receive their first two years of college for free. She also suggests the creation of a, “Minnesota Peace Corp where young people could work in an area of need for one or two years after finishing college. Other students could earn loan forgiveness to reduce educational debt. This could ease our workforce shortage in critical areas, while giving young people valuable job experience.”
Liebling also threw her support behind legalizing marijuana stating, “the war on drugs has failed.” She states prohibiting marijuana has harmed people and states it leads to racial divides within the state.
“Cannabis prohibition also contributes to racial disparities in our state as it fills expensive prison beds with people who do not belong there,” Liebling writes, “Without prohibition we could do a better job keeping cannabis away from children and educating our population on how to use it responsibly and with regard to the rights of others.”
First entering the political scene in 2002, she lost her first race for state representative to Republican incumbent, Carla Nelson. Two years later, Liebling would beat Nelson by 266 votes. She served as the Assistant Majority Leader in the 2007-2008 session.
She threw her support behind Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during the 2016 Presidential Election.
Liebling’s decision to join the race creates a crowded primary for Democratic challengers. So far, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, State Rep. Erin Murphy (D-St. Paul), State Auditor Rebecca Otto, and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz have announced. Only two Republicans have announced their candidacy, Christopher William Chamberlin of St. Cloud and Phillip C. Parrish.