Moose Lake man to seek DFL nod in House 11A raceLongtime educator Byron Kuster of Moose Lake announced his candidacy this week for the newly-formed House District 11A before a packed house of DFLers at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet.
Longtime educator Byron Kuster of Moose Lake announced his candidacy this week for the newly-formed House District 11A before a packed house of DFLers at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet.
“I want to help strengthen the foundation for a good life here in Minnesota,” stated Kuster. “That means protecting working people – not stripping away their rights – creating living wage jobs, building great schools, and making health care a right for everyone. It means looking out for each other.”
Kuster, who has worked as a teacher at the Minnesota Department of Corrections’ Challenge Incarceration Program in Willow River for 19 years, said he intends to be a strong voice in St. Paul for district residents.
Kuster grew up in West Duluth and Proctor. He spent six years on active duty in the U.S. Navy and chose a later career in teaching out of a desire to make a difference in his community.
“I fight for the underdog,” Kuster said, adding that he will be a passionate advocate for those who are often forgotten in St. Paul. “That’s important to me – fighting to help those without power and voice.
“I’ve seen first-hand the importance of a good job and a good education to ensuring that every Minnesotan can reach his or her full potential,” Kuster added. “I will fight for our public schools, our young people and their families. For too long, we’ve been balancing the state budget on the backs of our students.”
Early in his teaching career, Kuster taught in the public schools in Cloquet and Cotton. He has a master’s degree in education and is a long-time member of Education Minnesota.
“It was great to meet so many people at the Cloquet convention who are truly concerned about the future of our state,” Kuster said. “I look forward to working with everyone to help bring back the Minnesota that enabled me to get a great education and a secure union job. For so many in our state today, that security has eroded and they are in need of real help. I want to give back to the Minnesota that helped me, the Minnesota where we all looked out for each other.”
Kuster has served on the board of the Moose Lake-Windemere Sanitary Sewer District for 16 years and has been elected chairman for the past 14 years, overseeing many engineering and construction projects. He is the director of the Moose Run, an annual 5K and 10K race that donates 100 percent of profits to community projects like the food shelf, school programs and other local charity efforts. He has also served as president of the Minnesota Correctional Education Association.
Kuster is married to Becky Lief-Kuster, a speech pathologist who owns her own business in Moose Lake and was a member of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees for 23 years. Kuster is an environmentalist who is well known for biking to work six miles each way, year round, in temperatures down to minus-30 degrees. Kuster has two adult step-children and four grandchildren who live in District 11A.
District 11A includes all of Carlton County and parts of St. Louis and Pine counties. Most of the region is currently represented by eight-term DFL Representative Bill Hilty of Finlayson, who announced he will retire this year.
The DFL party will endorse a candidate to run for the 11A seat May 19.