Rep. Jerry Newton was unanimously endorsed by the DFL District 37A caucus April 5 to run for a third term in the Minnesota House of Representatives. District 37A is made up of large areas of Coon Rapids, Blaine and Spring Lake Park.
Paul Thissen, Speaker of the House, put Newton’s name forward for endorsement, saying it is essential that he be returned to the Legislature. He cited Newton’s detailed knowledge of education and veterans issues, which makes him a key policy legislator. Thissen said he appointed Newton to chair the Select Committee on Veterans Housing and was pleased to see his creative ideas to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015 and to ensure veterans receive the quality affordable care they deserve at the Minnesota Veterans Homes.
For more than 20 years Newton owned the Blaine Dairy Store and the Coon Rapids Liberty Park Convenience Store. Working at the stores, he got to know the residents of Coon Rapids and Blaine. They convinced him to run for Coon Rapids City Council in 1993 and the Anoka-Hennepin School Board in 2000. Newton said his 14 years of elected experience on these two local units of government have proven invaluable as a state representative.
Newton is the vice chair of the State Government and Veterans Affairs Finance Committee and he serves on the K-12 Finance Committee, the Health and Human Services Finance Committee and the Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committee. His key legislation this session includes the 5 percent increase in salaries for nursing home and home care employees, bonding for the Anoka-Hennepin School District, bonding for the Armstrong interchange on Highway 10 and widening Highway 10 to three lanes between Hanson Boulevard and Seventh Avenue in Anoka. He authored the bill to ensure no child in Minnesota public schools is denied a school lunch. Newton also sponsored the amendment in the Jobs Committee that brought Baxter Pharmaceutical to Brooklyn Park with the potential of more than 200 high-paying jobs.
When he is not in the Legislature, Newton teaches political science at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, where his wife, Rita, teaches French and German. They reside in Coon Rapids and are members of the First Congregational UCC Church in Anoka.