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Former legislator Ted Suss planning 2012 run

Charley Shaw//August 5, 2011

Former legislator Ted Suss planning 2012 run

Charley Shaw//August 5, 2011

Ted Suss, a former DFL legislator who served in the state House in the 1970s, plans to run for the Legislature again in 2012.

Suss, who lives on a farm near Lucan in southwestern Minnesota, plans to retire as superintendent of the Wabasso Public Schools at the end of the upcoming school year and will devote his time to campaigning.

Suss told PIM he hasn’t decided if he will run for the Senate or the House. He lives in District 21A which is currently represented by freshmen Republicans Rep. Chris Swedzinski of Ghent and Sen. Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls.

The results of redistricting will inform whether he runs for the House or Senate.

Suss is running in a Republican-leaning area. And DFLers in many southwestern districts don’t have the network of organizers from the ranks of organized labor and local party organizations that are available in DFL strongholds. But Suss is hoping increased turnout in a presidential election year among other things gives him a shot at winning.

“The state has taken a bad turn in the last decade or so. I don’t feel that those things that made Minnesota a great, very special state are being tended to properly,” Suss said.

As a school superintendent, he’s keenly aware of lawmakers’ decision to shift K-12 education payments into the future to plug state budget deficits.

“The budget problems weren’t solved this session, they weren’t solved two years ago, they weren’t solved four years ago and we need to seriously look at what it’s going to take to have a structurally balanced budget in this state. It’s possible to do that strictly with cuts. (But) I don’t think that leaves us with the type of state in which I want to live. …We could look at that with increasing revenue. But at the same time that’s not the only solution,” Suss said.

Suss served two terms in the House from 1975 to 1978 representing Scott and Carver counties south of the Twin Cities. Since leaving the Legislature, Suss’s work in education has often brought him back to the Capitol. In the late 1980s he was executive director of the State Board of Education and then he went to work for the Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and Blind Schools in Faribault. He’s been a school superintendent for the last 12 years and has usually traveled to the Capitol at least once a year to talk with legislators about education issues.

Suss is the Redwood County DFL chairman. He has held an annual DFL fundraiser at his farm during Farm Fest.

Suss is married to a nurse practitioner and has three grown children and four grandchildren.

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