BEMIDJI -- Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht will once again be on local ballots next year, but not for her current position.
Instead, Albrecht is looking to continue her public work in St. Paul as the next state senator for Minnesota District 5.
Albrecht announced her candidacy for the Minnesota Senate seat on Sunday, but her journey to making the decision goes back several months. According to Albrecht, she was approached earlier this year about the prospect of running.
"I wasn't thinking about it at the time," Albrecht said. "I was still working full time, the mayor's job was taking a lot of my time, and it wasn't on my radar."
Since retiring from her position as Northwest Regional Director for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in July, though, the 64-year-old city official reconsidered.
"After I had some months off, I was re-approached and I thought this is the right time for me to jump into the fray," Albrecht said.
The north-central district, extending from Bemidji to Grand Rapids to Pine River, is currently represented by Sen. Justin Eichorn, R-Grand Rapids. As part of her candidacy, Albrecht is competing for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party's endorsement with 42-year-old attorney and Bemidji resident Charles Dolson.
As part of her campaign, Albrecht said she has picked up enough experience that would make her a good fit for the state Senate.
"I think I'm known as someone who shows up, who is visible and is engaged in the issues that are important in our community," Albrecht said. "I listen, I try to build partnerships and try to find solutions. That's what I'm hoping to do across the district."
As for what those issues are, Albrecht said they matters voters are most familiar with.
"It's the bread-and-butter issues we hear about every day," Albrecht said. "Affordable health care, prescription drug coverage, support for our education system and support for our small businesses, that I think are the economic engine in our communities."
Because of the district's size, Albrecht said the next part of her campaign is reaching out to other communities.
"It's basically a triangle between Bemidji, Grand Rapids and Pine River," Albrecht said. "My sense is that many people in the Bemidji area already know who I am, so I need to introduce myself to other parts of the district."
A BSU graduate, Albrecht was first elected to her current position in 2012 and re-elected in 2014, 2016 and 2018. She was first elected to city government by winning the Ward 4 council seat in 2010.