Staloch kicks off campaign for District 23A

Published 7:37 pm Thursday, May 2, 2024

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DFLer Joe Staloch of Albert Lea officially kicked off his campaign as the DFL candidate for the District 23A seat on Thursday in a gathering with about 20 other members of the party at MineAgain’s Bar & Grill.

Staloch, who grew up on a family farm outside of Wells, attended St. Casimir’s School and graduated from United South Central in 2002, went on to attend Winona State University and graduated with a degree in geology.

“I’m doing this because I want the people in our district and the people in Minnesota to live better lives,” Staloch said of why he decided to run for office. “I want to maintain our communities, but I want to do much more than that — I want to help grow them.”

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Staloch said after he graduated from college, he went on to work for 10 years for an environmental services company in St. Paul on projects concerning public health and safety, natural resources and even national security.

He did not expect to return to Greater Minnesota, but he said he is happy he did. Health and family issues led him back to Wells and eventually to Albert Lea, where he lives with his longtime partner, Danielle Roe, and their cats. He works at GigFire in engineering and design of fiber networks.

He said moving back was the best thing he could have done for his health and his relationships.

Some of his priorities if elected include the lack of health care access in this area in the state, something he experienced firsthand when he first moved back when he had a difficult time finding a health care provider.

“I think this is something that is going to be made worse by small town clinic closures and cutbacks of hospital services and (emergency) funding shortfalls,” he said.

He said he lost his father to a heart attack last year because he was unable to make it to a hospital in time, and following that he recommitted himself to improving his own health. He noted how long it has taken him to be able to see a provider.

Though he is not a father himself, Staloch said he is an uncle of several nieces and nephews and also works with other men with growing families. At least a couple times a week there are discussions about child care issues.

“I would like to go to St. Paul to work and make sure that every Minnesotan is able to find and afford child care,” he said.

Other topics that are important to him include women’s freedoms and the ability of women to make health decisions for themselves. He said he does not want to see the state slide back on women’s reproductive rights.

“I trust women to make the health decisions that are right for themselves and their families,” Staloch said. “Really, it’s their decision. It shouldn’t be mine, it shouldn’t be our elected officials’ decision of when and how they choose to start a family.”

He said he will work to preserve and expand bodily autonomy in the state and wants to also focus on long-term health care for the elderly.

He said he would work with others across the state and across the aisle for the betterment of all Minnesotans but first and foremost the needs of the people of the local area.

He asked people to commit and help turn out the Democratic vote and earn the votes of the undecided and uninterested voters.

Staloch, who will face off against incumbent District 23A Rep. Peggy Bennett, R-Albert Lea, said he plans to visit every community in the district and looks forward to meeting people at parades and other events.