Weather Forecast


House candidates to discuss issues live on Lakeland's Debate Nights

BEMIDJI—A pair of debates will be broadcast over the airwaves this week featuring local candidates running for the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Airing on Lakeland PBS, the debates will feature Republican and Democratic-Farmer-Labor party candidates in House Districts 2A, 2B, 5A and 5B. The first round of debates is scheduled for Monday, with the 5B debate at 7 p.m. and the 5A debate at 8 p.m. On Wednesday, Oct. 3, the next debates are scheduled with the 2B debate at 7 p.m. and the 2A debate at 8 p.m.

Candidates featured in the upcoming debates include:

• Incumbent District 5A Rep. Matt Bliss, R-Pennington. Bliss also owns and operates Bliss Point Resort.

• An environmental policy analyst for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and former District 5A Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji. Persell is running to win back the seat he lost in 2016.

• Incumbent District 5B Rep. Sandy Layman, R-Cohasset. Layman works as a consultant and is a former commissioner for the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation.

• District 5B DFL candidate Pat Medure. Medure is the former Itasca County Sheriff and a Grand Rapids School Board member.

• Incumbent District 2A Rep. Matt Grossell, R-Clearbrook. Grossell is a retired Clearwater County sheriff's deputy.

• District 2A candidate Michael Northbird, DFL-Farden Township. Northbird is an environmental program manager for the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.

• Incumbent District 2B Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston. Green is also a self employed contractor.

• District 2B candidate Karen Branden, DFL-rural Becker County. Branden is a sociology professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead and a language instructor at White Earth Tribal College.

Panelists for both Debate Night broadcasts are Northern Community Radio News and Public Affairs Director Heidi Holtan, Pioneer Government Reporter Matthew Liedke and Lakeland PBS News Director Dennis Weimann.

All of the candidates featured during the debates will be on the ballot on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6.