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Rep. Regina Barr, R-Inver Grove Heights, stands in her office in the State Office Building. On the wall hangs a Valentine’s Day gift from children enrolled in the Early Childhood Family Education program in Independent School District 196. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)
Rep. Regina Barr, R-Inver Grove Heights, stands in her office in the State Office Building. On the wall hangs a Valentine’s Day gift from children enrolled in the Early Childhood Family Education program in Independent School District 196. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)

Breaking the Ice: Business departures helped drive House bid

Name: Regina Barr

Title: Representative, District 52B

Education: Bachelor of business administration, MBA, Adelphi University; M.A., human development, St. Mary’s University

Rep. Regina Barr, R-Inver Grove Heights, declined encouragement to run for office on several occasions before she agreed to seek the House seat she won last November in a district that includes Inver Grove Heights and Sunfish Lake and parts of Mendota Heights and Eagan.

Barr, a business consultant with extensive corporate experience, decided to run, though, after a couple of business owners in her district moved out of state, taking hundreds of jobs to Wisconsin and Texas.

“My philosophy is that when you have a thriving business community you also will have a thriving living community,” Barr said. “They’re helping pay for schools, they’re helping create jobs and they invest in the community.”

During the session, Barr uses morning and evening hours to do work for clients of her company.

Q. What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A. Just say hi. Here people are calling me Rep. Barr but mostly just (say), “Hi, Regina, I’m so-and-so, it’s nice to meet you.” Or connect for coffee. I’m pretty outgoing so it’s pretty easy to approach me, I think.

Q. Who was the first presidential candidate you voted for and why?

A. My mom was single working mother and we were not politically motivated. Where I really feel like I engaged was after I got married. I feel like I got completely engaged in 2000. I just thought that Bush could get things done. Gore did not have a message that resonated with me.

Q. What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A. I usually have a couple of books going. Usually I have one that’s business-focused, and I’m rereading “Traction” [by Gino Wickman] because a client is using it for the first time. I like to read murder mysteries, so right now I’m reading “Hidden Prey” by John Sandford. My fun book that I read and reread a lot when I’m under stress is, “—— My Dad Says.” I’ve read every one of Janet Evanovich’s books twice and I probably will read them again. I just picked up from the library “Gridlocked,” which came up in transportation committee.

Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?

A. When people are not respectful of other people’s time. I may have to relax that standard here because I’m a start-on-time, end-on-time kind of gal.

Q. What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A. I have no time for it now but I do like to go to the gym and do cardio kickboxing. Something that is consistent is that I love to get out and walk. I have a dog I like to walk twice a day and I pretty much walk year round.

Q. If someone visits you in your hometown, what’s would you take them to see or do?

A. Most of my family is outside of town. My favorite is a quick drive tour. But if I can, I have them come around State Fair time, and I also try to get them to Mall of America.

Q. How has an event or person inspired you?

A. My upbringing was different than a lot of folks. The person I think about so often and have tried to find is my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Stewart. I truly believe if it hadn’t been for her efforts with me during a very difficult time in my life that I might not even be here today. Some of the things that I want to get involved with now are a direct result of Mrs. Stewart. She reached out to me to try to make me feel special. So they selected me to read to first-graders. I loved to read, I loved to go to the library. So then I would have special time with the librarian to pick out age-appropriate books. Then I would go to the class to read to the first-grade class. She made it her mission to not lose me and I have never forgotten that.

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