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Woodbury's Czech has sights set on Ward's seat

Woodbury resident Lukas Czech received the GOP endorsement to run in House District 53A in the fall.

Life took a sharp turn for Lukas Czech in 2007.

Just as he was about to embark on a career as a construction contractor, the Woodbury man sustained a three-story fall on a worksite.

The fall left him with severe injuries and claimed the use of his legs. The subsequent years required the Little Falls native to harness new motivation and energy as he emerged back into the work force with a disability.

Czech said he gained a new perspective through the ordeal and put it to work in announcing his bid for the House District 53A seat.

The seat, occupied by Rep. JoAnn Ward, DFL-Woodbury, drew little interest at first among local Republicans.

Czech, who described himself as a “traditional conservative,” said he had originally planned to begin exploring a run this year and going full-bore in four years.

“But when I realized no one else was going to step up, it felt like the right time,” the 33-year-old said.

He was unanimously endorsed at the Senate District 53 Republican endorsing convention.

Czech said running for office offers a more direct way to affect change than staying on the sidelines.

“The best way to do that is to get directly involved – be the one to make the change,” he said.

The House candidacy represents Czech’s first splash in seeking elected office. Czech, a Best Buy employee, has served as a disability advocate.

He said that effort fuels his legislative goals – “trying to make life better for people with disabilities,” Czech said.

The single father said people with disabilities are underrepresented in the workforce for a variety of reasons, and that needs to change.

“We want to be able to get their foot in the door, get out of the house and into the work force,” Czech said, noting that he gives inspirational talks to patients at the Courage Center.

He said he will also champion efforts to boost small businesses in Minnesota, along with entrepreneurial opportunities.

Meanwhile, the state’s health care system could use a closer look, he said.

“We need to figure out a system that’s going to work for everyone,” Czech said.

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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