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Profile: 5th District Congressional Race
By Patty Marsicano
October 9, 2000
Part of MPR's coverage of Campaign 2000
Click for audio RealAudio 3.0

People in the 5th congressional district will have a choice of five candidates in November. Stalwart Martin Sabo is running again, as are four other candidates, who aren't letting Sabo's seeming lock on the seat stop them from making a run for it.

All of Minneapolis, including some suburbs directly west and south , make up the the 5th District. In the southwest corner is Edina and the neighborhoods around Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. These are well-off areas, but most of the district is not as affluent. The district also includes the University of Minnesota. Traditionally, this district is a DFL stronghold.

Learn more about the district and the candidates on Campaign 2000's 5th District page.
THE 5TH DISTRICT comprises Minneapolis and some suburbs, including Golden Valley and St. Louis Park. Democrat Martin Sabo has held the seat since 1978.

"It's still rewarding," Sabo says. "I'd like to think we've done a good job representing the values and interests of our district and the state of Minnesota in Congress and would like to continue."

As a powerful member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, Sabo says he's now secured over $330 million for the light-rail project in his district.

The 62-year-old Sabo says he considers his biggest victory the shepherding of President Clinton's first budget when Democrats controlled and Sabo chaired the House Budget Committee.

This year, Sabo voted against normalizing trade relations with China and against repealing the so-called "marriage penalty."

Republican Frank Taylor ran against Sabo in 1998 and lost badly. But the 60-year-old retired Minneapolis science teacher is trying again.

Taylor criticizes the federal oversight of education, especially Goals 2000, a federal initiative begun under President Bush and the nation's governors, which led to Minnesota's Profile of Learning. Taylor says the project-oriented Profile hurt his students.

"I was a 37-year veteran science teacher, " he says. "I could not use my own curriculum. It stood the test of validity, reliability. But what they were asking me to teach did not fit the needs of all of my students."

Taylor has served on the Edina Chamber of Commerce, led the Suburban NAACP, and went to the 1996 Republican National Convention as an alternate delegate. He's the only African American in the 5th District race.

51-year-old Renee LaVoi is running for the 5th District on the Constitution Party ticket. LaVoi is a personal counselor and has written two books, including How to Get Better Relationships, More Money, and Other Good Stuff.

LaVoi's Christian beliefs form the foundation of her political philosophy.

"As time has gone by and we have left our Constitutional roots, and particularly left our godly roots, our fear of God and our sort of Christian heritage, we seem to be drifting more towards socialism, away from freedom, just in general losing a lot of ground that we had in this nation," LaVoi says.

LaVoi opposes abortion, saying it violates the 5th Amendment against taking a life without due process of law. She also opposes gun control.

Rob Tomich is running for 5th District seat as a member of the Independence Party. Tomich is a 44-year-old parking garage supervisor from Minneapolis, who says too many people in the district have low-paying jobs, but high taxes.

"A lot of people who work in the clerical fields, secretarial fields, data entry, people who mop our floors, take out our trash, people who work assembly, people who work in warehouses and countless other fields, I think these people need and deserve a break," Tomich says.

Tomich wants to eliminate the federal income tax for people who earn under $30,000 a year. He'd replace it with a one-percent national sales tax.

And insurance broker Chuck Charnstrom is running for 5th District seat as a Libertarian. He says he'd limit the government to the courts, police and national defense.

"We cut the other roles of the federal government off and give those responsibilities to the state and to the people, which is exactly what the 10th and 9th Amendments state, then we become a little more responsible for our lives," Charnstrom says.

Charnstrom would get rid of the federal income tax, which he calls "legalized theft;" he'd eliminate federal health care, and allow anyone without a criminal record to apply for a conceal-and-carry gun permit.

Charnstrom rejects the notion he might be too young - he's 26 - to run for office. He notes incumbent Martin Sabo was just 22 when he first ran for the Legislature in 1960.