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Hendrikson enters 2014 election race

Woodbury resident Kay Hendrikson considers herself a planner.

She serves as a member of Woodbury's Planning Commission, and was drawn to the "well-planned" city she saw in Woodbury when she moved here almost 20 years ago.

It may be of little surprise, then, that Hendrikson has already launched her campaign to run in 2014 for House District 53B.

"I am a professional planner," she said. "I looked at this as a two-year project."

Hendrikson will seek the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement to challenge two-term House Republican Andrea Kieffer. The Woodbury resident said she would support the endorsed candidate if she doesn't receive the endorsement.

The decision to run had been percolating for years while working alongside decision makers in various jobs she has held in the public and private sectors, Hendrikson explained.

She said that spark took flame while on Planning Commission during a discussion on a housing complex that would include units for people with disabilities. When Hendrikson learned the developer hadn't planned a proportionate number of handicap parking spots for those prospective tenants, she went on the offensive to have the parking stalls added.

"I made a difference to people in my community," said Hendrikson, who works in policy information technology management for the state's Office of Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. "These are people who are related to us. We are them. They are us."

Hendrikson said she is "very passionate" about providing quality services in the public sector.

"Woodbury is a great community," she said. "I chose to move to Woodbury because of the education and the community and the choices we have here.

"I believe that our current representative doesn't represent the choices that we as a community want."

Asked what those choices are, Hendrikson listed education, health care for young adults and transit opportunities. On her campaign's website, Hendrikson says she would work to drive down higher education costs -- as well as K-12 class sizes -- support "smart changes" to the health care system and back commuter options like the Gateway Corridor project.

"I am worried that without the choices the community wants, we we won't be able to stay on the path moving forward," she said.

The race for House District 53B will likely be a formidable one for whoever receives the Democratic endorsement. Kieffer was first elected to the office in 2010 after unseating incumbent Rep. Marsha Swails, DFL-Woodbury. In 2012, Kieffer held the seat against Democrat Ann Marie Metzger in a year when Democrats seized control of both legislative chambers at the Minnesota Capitol.

Hendrikson said she believes there are people in the district who, like her, are dissatisfied and ready for a change.

"They're out there," she said. "They're in Woodbury. There are people who do want choices."

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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