By Tim Krohn
Free Press Staff Writer
— State Rep. Kathy Brynaert was coasting to an easy re-election Tuesday night, leading Republican challenger Thad Shunkwiler by a 64 percent to 36 percent margin in the 19B House race.
With 75 percent of precincts reporting, Brynaert, DFL-Mankato, had 8,777 votes to Shunkwiler’s 4,993 votes at press time as she headed for her fourth term in the Minnesota House. The district includes much of Mankato and the surrounding area.
Brynaert touted her ability to work with the Republicans to influence legislation important to her district. And she pointed to her 25 years of involvement in education.
As she and husband Tony Filipovitch raised a family in Mankato, Brynaert found herself volunteering as a playground monitor at their daughters’ school; then offering her time to other organizations focused on the healthy development of children; then getting elected to the School Board; and finally making the jump to the state Legislature.
Education and youth have been her focus in her six years in St. Paul. She said improving school performance and holding educators accountable using valid, research-based measures is vital to Minnesota’s economic future.
Shunkwiler campaigned on the idea of helping change the growing partisanship in the Legislature and said that if elected, he would not walk lock-step with his party. As evidence he noted his vocal opposition to the marriage amendment put on the ballot by the Republican-dominated Legislature.
An opponent of any tax increases and an advocate of reducing taxes and regulation on small businesses, Shunkwiler said he would be a strong conservative on budget issues.