House District 52A candidates discuss taxes, school funding and infrastructure

In the race for House District 52A, DFL incumbent Rick Hansen is facing a challenge from Republican candidate Beth Arntson. 

District 52A includes portions or all of the cities of Mendota Heights, Mendota, South St. Paul, West St. Paul and Lilydale.

The Review asked the candidates via email why they are running, what skills and experiences they will bring to the office, what they believe to be the top challenges the district faces, and what issues or projects they would prioritize if elected.


Beth Arntson, 65, lives in South St. Paul with her husband Gary and is retired. Arntson said she has worked over 36 years in “state government in human resources in 10 agencies so [I] know government in and out and where cuts can be made.” She also served in the Army National Guard.

Arntson, who said she was recruited to run by a local Basic Political Operating Unit, is running because “freedoms are being attacked” and taxes are too high. 

She said the top challenges facing the district include high taxes and “too much government spending and regulation.” Another challenge is the equalization of school funding across districts. 

If elected, Arntson said she would prioritize school funding, property rights and taxes on social security.


Rick Hansen, 55, is married to Suzanne and the pair lives in South St. Paul. Hansen has served District 52A since 2004. 

He is the owner of Harmony Cedar, Inc., and also owns and operates farmland in southern Minnesota. He has a master’s degree in soil management from Iowa State University. 

If re-elected, Hansen said he would bring his small business, state government and local government experience to the office. He said he has “leadership skills in bringing people together to accomplish tasks and goals.”

“I am asking for your vote for state representative because we have work to do to improve our community and my knowledge, skills and abilities have been demonstrated through my experience serving as your representative,” Hansen said.

A challenge facing the district is improving infrastructure, he said, for water, sewer, roads, bridges, buildings and energy. 

Other challenges Hansen is concerned about include education and healthcare, and student loan debt burden. 

“As the lead DFler on environment I will continue to work on clean water, healthy food and air quality for our residents,” Hansen said.

If re-elected, Hansen said he would prioritize “Robert Street debt repayment; inflow & infiltration cost share, local road improvement with transit, bike and pedestrian options.”


Election day is Nov. 6. To find your polling place visit


-Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or

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