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Bye to face Howes again, in 4B

Meg Bye

Democrat Meg Bye of rural Pequot Lakes seeks a return match against Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker.

Bye announced Tuesday she will seek the House 4B seat now held by Howes, who won a sixth term in 2008 by defeating Bye, 54 percent to 46 percent/

"We face unprecedented challenges in our region," Bye said in a statement. "Property taxes continue to rise. School funding has declined while the unconstitutional disparity of resources for schools has increased, more people than ever have no access to affordable health care, more streams and lakes are listed as impaired."

Bye, a former Duluth City Council member and Duluth human rights director, said she will work for fair education funding, protection of water and forest resources, affordable health care and lower property taxes.

"These problems are compounded by the state's budget crisis, a lack of leadership from the governor, and ineffective representation from the incumbent," Bye said.

"Our current representative has been in the Minnesota House since 1998, during times of Republican majority control as well as Democratic majority control. Yet we have little to show for his efforts. This is not an issue of partisanship; it is an issue of effectiveness and energy. We can do better," she said.

Bye will seek the DFL endorsement when Senate 4 Democratic delegates gather Saturday at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley High School in Walker. Aside from the Senate 4 endorsement, the delegation will split into House 4A and House 4B to endorse candidates there.

Registration opens at 9 a.m. with the convention starting at 9:30 a.m. Sen. Mary Olson of Bemidji is challenged by Greg Paquin of Bemidji and Rep. John Persell of Bemidji, the House 4A member, is challenged by Nicole Beaulieu of Bemidji.

The delegates from Beltrami, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard and Itasca counties in the Senate 4 district will also elect officers and DFL State Central Committee members.

"We need a representative who will seek out opportunities to be in all the parts of this large district, to listen to people from all walks of life," Bye said of her House 4B race. "I want to be that representative. I want to put my years of experience in many different venues to work for you and for the future of our children and grandchildren."

Bye has been a classroom teacher, a mediator, the executive director of a regional non-profit food bank and the administrator of a large city human rights enforcement office. She served 12 years as a city council member in Duluth.

Bye has worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S Office of Economic Opportunity. She has also served the state of Minnesota as a director of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, the Governor's Crime Commission, and The Labor Interpretative Center and the Duluth area Coastal Zone Management Advisory Board.

Bye and her husband, Don, live on a farm homesteaded by her husband's grandfather in Loon Lake Township near Pequot Lakes. Their son and family live near them.