EDITORIAL: Governor’s race comes to Ely with Jensen in town on Monday night

Might Minnesota’s next governor be in town on Monday?
Well Republican front-runner Scott Jensen plans to be here, for an evening (6 p.m.) appearance at the Ely Senior Center.
It’s clearly far too early to say that Jensen should be measuring the drapes in the governor’s mansion.
There’s no guarantee yet that it will be Jensen opposing DFL incumbent Tim Walz in November.
Nonetheless, it was Jensen who dominated the straw poll when Republicans convened for precinct caucuses during the winter, and it’s Jensen who - among numerous Republican hopefuls - has captured the most buzz and attention so far.
Of all the candidates seeking to unseat Walz, Jensen has been most visible and most persistent in opposing and criticizing the governor’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
No doubt that was front and center when rank-and-file Republicans picked Jensen over several other contenders.
The pandemic, and the state’s response, are sure to be a hot topic Monday.
Jensen, a physician and former state senator, has rightly blasted Walz for an approach that, particularly early on in the pandemic, was heavy-handed and over-the-top.
Hindsight and history will show that Walz went too far, closing businesses and schools by executive decree.
Minnesotans died alone, without loved ones by their side. Funerals and weddings were delayed or cancelled. Church services were banned. Parks and playgrounds were closed and for a couple of months getting a haircut was forbidden by Walz’s crazy edict.
The Walz Administration even went out of its way to shut down graduation ceremonies and July 4 celebrations and pushed back when communities found creative and alternative options.
Under Walz, the state government sought out and penalized businesses that tried to stay afloat, and forced masks on school children - even outside in some instances. His state government threatened state employees with a “vaccinate or test” mandate to keep their jobs.
While many of the other Republicans have been critical of some or all of Walz’s response, Jensen took the lead and was first to call out the nonsense - even putting his medical license at risk.
The sign of a strong leader is someone willing to take a stand, even when it might come at a steep personal cost. Jensen, more than any Republican candidate, has passed this test.
Yet we hope and believe the pandemic is receding.
Minnesota appears to have come to its senses about the overreach of the last two years and Covid isn’t the only issue of the 2022 campaign.
A state budget surplus, the tax system, infrastructure and funding for education are all pivotal. So too, at least in this neck of the woods, is economic development and mining.
We know Jensen would prevent any Covid madness, but it’s important to know how he stands on other issues that are so important to our region and our state.
Spring has yet to arrive in Ely. Winter can’t seem to let go and April has been one dreary month.
Anyone with an interest in government and politics has a chance to liven things up for at least one night and get rid of the April blahs. Monday promises to be an interesting evening. It isn’t every day that a front-runner for governor comes to town.
Whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican or on the fence, you may find it valuable to hear what Jensen has to say.