Mountain Iron city councilor Julie Buria held a campaign kickoff event last week in Virginia to announce her intentions to once again challenge Democratic Rep. Dave Lislegard for the House 6B seat in 2022.
Lislegard, now in his second term, defeated Buria in November 2020 by nine points, garnering 12,442 votes (54.72 percent) to Buria’s 10,265 votes (45.14).
According to a news release from the Buria campaign, about 50 “friends, family and supporters” attended a campaign kick-off event at Kunnari’s Kitchen Virginia.
"I'm running to bring real representation to the Iron Range who will stand up for our values," Buria said in a news release. "Right now we are represented by a Democrat who votes with his metro area leadership more than 90 percent of the time and has turned his back on the priorities of our district. I'll be a strong voice for our Iron Range jobs, common sense, and values."
Buria was joined by Chad Walsh, a candidate for St. Louis County Sheriff, and owner of Dead On Arms Indoor Shooting Range in Cloquet.
In an email interview Monday, Buria said she knew the day after the last election that she wasn’t done.
“As difficult as the year was, there were so many positive things that outweighed the negative. I have met hundreds of people who love this area who want to raise their family here and retire here,” she said. “In order for that to happen we need a strong economy. Mining is constantly under attack by the metro democrats. Many have changed parties because they no longer feel they are being represented by the Democratic party. The people in our area are extraordinary fighters, they are hard
workers who have a stake in mining and doing it in a way that will preserve our area for generations to come.”
During the last election cycle, Buria found herself at the center of controversy after an alleged posting by the candidate on her Facebook account “that compared the state’s coronavirus response to the Holocaust,” according to a July 2020 Mesabi Tribune story.
There were calls for her to drop her candidacy and resign from the Mountain Iron city council.
According to a Mesabi Tribune story in August, Buria initially apologized for the post but then, when the subject was brought up at a Mountain Iron council meeting, she backed away from that apology and said, “I was forced to,” but did not specify by whom, when asked why she initially apologized.
In regard to that situation, Buria said Monday that “the media has covered this excessively and I am focused on moving forward.”
Of lessons learned from her last go around, Buria said “One thing I learned from the last election cycle is that the opposition will stop at literally nothing to take you down. As a society we have gotten lazy in looking for the truth, social media has taken the place of research and critical thinking. I have found the best way to get my message across is face to face, most people can tell if you are the real deal within a matter of minutes. We hope to have various events throughout the district to meet even more people and hear their concerns. I have also learned the value of keeping a great trusted team around me, it’s vital to success.”
Buria said that an important issue to her during this campaign is the freedom to choose as it relates to vaccine mandates.
“My stance is that if you feel that the vaccine is right for you I would fight for your right to have it. On the flip side, people should absolutely have the right to say no to a vaccine,” she said. “The government should not have control over making your personal healthcare decisions.
Mining is also a hot button issue.
Buria also said there seems to be a “constant fight with overzealous environmentalists and metro democrats who seek to shut down our chances for a thriving economy.”
“Polymet and Twin Metals are vital not only to our region, but the world. By mining right here with our skilled union workforce we will reduce the need for importing precious metals. It’s inexcusable to support mining that utilizes child labor and has no regard for the environment, when we have the ability to do it safely here,” she said.
Buria added that she believes that she is the best candidate for the House seat and that her experience has prepared her for the position.
“Being a union school bus driver for 19 years and seeing kids go from kindergarten to marriage was an incredible journey to be a part of. Selling real estate proved to be another lesson in the struggles associated with the ebb and flow of our economy,” Buria said. “I desire to see transparency in government on all levels to build trust and confidence with the people. Seeing the effects of layoffs and mining shutdowns as the wife of a production truck driver, I seek to support the mining industry wholeheartedly.”