Former State Senator Seeks County Commissioner Seat

Ken Kelash announced his candidacy Monday for the seat Commissioner Gail Dorfman is leaving.

Ken Kelash / Submitted photo
Ken Kelash / Submitted photo

Former State Senator Ken Kelash announced Monday that he will be running for the Hennepin County District 3 seat currently occupied by Commissioner Gail Dorfman.

District 3 covers St. Louis Park and parts of southwest Minneapolis. Dorfman announced in November that she will not seek re-election.

Kelash is a lifelong resident of south Minneapolis. He graduated from De La Salle High School before getting degrees from Metro State and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

He was a union carpenter for 37 years, including 14 as a business representative.

Kelash was elected to represented southwest Minneapolis in the state Senate in 2008 and served through 2012, when redistricting put his home in the same district as Sen. Scott Dibble. Kelash opted to move and seek the DFL endorsement in the new Senate District 50 but lost in the primary to Sen. Melissa Halvorson Wiklund.

In his announcement, Kelash emphasized his support for an infrastructure strategy that attracts jobs with professional pay levels—along with providing inviting green spaces, affordable housing and accessible public transportation.

“My work as State Senator has prepared me for the transportation, housing, and economic issues that Hennepin County must address to maintain and improve the quality of life for our residents,” a release quoted Kelash. “And with State demographers expecting a substantial population growth in the Twin Cities over the next 40 years, we must seriously prepare the county to serve this infusion of new residents.”



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