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Lucan woman running for House as an independent candidate

Jessica Thovson is out gathering signatures to try and get on the ballot for the Minnesota Legislature this year

Photo by Deb Gau As a state deadline approaches, Jessica Thovson is working to get the required number of signatures to be on the ballot for Minnesota House District 16B.

MARSHALL — It’s getting down to the wire for independent candidates hoping to get on the ballot for the Minnesota Legislature this year. With only a few days left before a June deadline, Jessica Thovson said she and her fiance Joshua Prine are hitting the pavement to collect the 500 petition signatures they each will need.

“We’re maybe halfway there,” Thovson said Wednesday. “We will definitely be out all weekend.”

Thovson, a rural Lucan resident, is running for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 16B, against Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska. Thovson has been endorsed by the Veterans Party of Minnesota, but getting on the ballot means going through a petition process. Thovson has a two-week window — May 19 through June 2 — in which to gather at least 500 signatures.

It’s a challenge Prine is also undertaking. Earlier this spring, Prine announced he planned to run against Sen. Gary Dahms in Minnesota Senate District 16.

Thovson said she also decided to run for state office to help make a difference for southwest Minnesota residents.

“I think that’s a good spot to make good changes,” she said of running for the Minnesota House. “I want to work for our small businesses and our people,” instead of corporations, she said. She intends to listen to area residents and work for them. “I think people do want a change. They do want to make a difference.”.

Thovson said some of the things she’d like to do if elected include working to ensure better access to state services in southwest Minnesota. “We need our fair share” of the taxes the region pays in to the state, she said. Thovson said she also believes the way legislative bills are written needs to change. A bill shouldn’t have pages’ worth of materials not related to the subject of the bill.

Fair balloting is something Thovson said she’d also like to work for — especially after experiencing the challenges independent candidates face in getting on the ballot. The two-week window to get 500 signatures isn’t easy to work with, especially with the Memorial Day holiday weekend right in the middle, she said. The COVID-19 pandemic has also made it impossible to do traditional political meet-and-greets and community events. Minnesota doesn’t have a standardized format for gathering electronic signatures either, she said.

Prine and Thovson are running in two different legislative districts, which cover a lot of ground. But she said they are helping each other out as they campaign.

“We make it work. We kind of take on these projects together,” Thovson said.

More information on Thovson’s campaign can be found on Facebook, at “Jessica Thovson-Prine for Minnesota House District 16B.”

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