Anoka County Board Chairwoman Rhonda Sivarajah of Lino Lakes wants to replace Congresswoman Michele Bachmann as the Republican representing the 6th Congressional District.
“I’ll bring common sense to Washington,” Sivarajah said, announcing her 6th District candidacy on Wednesday, June 12, at Victory Auto Service and Glass in Ham Lake.
Sivarajah, who has chaired the Anoka County Board since 2011, heralded perceived accomplishments on the board — keeping property taxes down, working to limit the prevailing wage, cutting back on county lobbying expenses — as examples of a conservative getting things done.
“Washington is full of people who talk and talk and talk,” Sivarajah said.
Sivarajah, 47, said she will seek the Republican Party endorsement but did not say she would abide it.
She has not made a decision regarding a possible primary election run, she said.
This is Sivarajah’s second attempt at seeking higher office.
In 2010 Sivarajah teamed with then House Minority Leader Marty Seifert as his candidate for lieutenant governor in Seifert’s unsuccessful gubernatorial bid.
“One name came forward again and again and again,” Seifert said at the time of selecting Sivarajah his running mate.
Then Rep. Tom Emmer of Delano brushed Seifert aside, winning the Republican gubernatorial endorsement, though losing in November.
Sivarajah again faces Emmer, the attorney and radio talk show personality, announcing his 6th District congressional candidacy last week.
Sivarajah was elected to the Anoka County Board in 2002. She depicted herself as the sole conservative at the time. She was thankful, Sivarajah quipped, when another conservative, Commissioner Robyn West, was elected. At least motions were seconded then, she said,
Sivarajah represents District 6, the eastern border of Anoka County containing the cities of Linwood, Columbus and Lino Lakes. She and her husband Ran, who works for the U.S. Marshals providing court security, have two teenage children, Asha and Sonjay.
“It was something she had to decide,” Ran Sivarajah, married to Rhonda Sivarajah for 23 years, said of his wife running for Congress.
A number of area lawmakers – Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover; Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake; and Sen. Roger Chamberlain of Lino Lakes – lined up behind Sivarajah at her announcement.
Scott said Sivarajah would “absolutely” do a good job in Congress. She has a “proven track record,” Scott said.
Sivarajah has a degree from St. Cloud State University in international relations.
Sivarajah chastised the Obama Administration as embroiled in so many scandals they’re hard to keep track of.
But Sivarajah has voted for a Democrat for president. During the 1992 gubernatorial campaign, Sivarajah said she had voted for then Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Bill Clinton, though not voting to re-elect the president.
“Rhonda Sivarajah has long been a voice of dissent in efforts to move Anoka County forward,” DFL State Party Chairman Ken Martin said in a prepared statement. “She would bring this same style of leadership to Washington, D.C., and is incapable of building bridges and cultivating the relations necessary to make a difference for residents of the 6th Congressional District.
“Rhonda Sivarajah would replicate what Michele Bachmann did in Congress, which is alienating people, passing no legislation and putting the interests of the Tea Party ahead of the citizens of the Congressional District,” Martin said.
According to media reports, Emmer said he would abide by the congressional endorsement.
Other possible Republican 6th District candidates include state representatives Matt Dean of Dellwood, Tim Sanders of Blaine, and former Rep. Phil Krinkie. Media reports have Sen. John Pederson, R-St.Cloud, considering a congressional run.
Scott said she had briefly considered a run, but lacked “the fire in the belly.”
T.W. Budig is at [email protected]