DFL incumbent and Republican with social work background vie for seat

John Marty

Carolyn Jass

State Senate District 66

The race for Senate District 66 pits a DFL incumbent from Roseville who was first elected to the office three decades ago, versus a Republican challenger from St. Paul who has a background in social work.

Carolyn Jass looks to unseat Sen. John Marty, who is seeking his 10th term in the Senate.

Senate District 66 is made up of Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, most of Roseville and parts of St. Paul. Minnesota State Senate terms are either two or four years long; this year’s election is for a four-year term.

The Review asked the candidates about what skills or experience they bring to the office, the top challenges facing the district and state in the coming years and what issue they would prioritize if elected.

Jass said she has her sights set on families, school reforms and health care. Marty said he would prioritize pushing a new model for how health care is delivered in Minnesota, as well as smarter spending at the state level.

More about the candidates is below. Election Day is Nov. 8.


Jass, 61, is a realtor for Twin Cities Real Estate. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work and elementary education from Bethel University. She is divorced.

Her previous work with disabled people and as a teacher and principal at a small Christian school has prepared her to work for solutions, Jass said.

“I have strong people skills and truly care for others; I have a heart for the elderly, disadvantaged and disabled,” she said. “I have a broad base of knowledge and experience, and I am able to analyze information and make good decisions.”

A challenge facing the state and District 66, Jass said, is “young people who feel disenfranchised, alienated and entitled.” She said the decline in two-parent families and the way schools are run are negatively affecting kids. 

She also said health care and health insurance are issues for the state’s aging population.

Jass said she would prioritize making test scores less of a focus in schools and giving students more options with more charter schools and home-schooling options. 

“I would emphasize the European model of high schools: prep-school, trade school and technical/vocational options,” she said. “Students would graduate ready to go to college or begin their career making a good salary.”


Marty, 59, is a writer who was first elected to the Senate in 1986. He earned a bachelor’s degree in ethics and society from St. Olaf College. He is married to Connie Jaarsma Marty.

Leaning on his 30 years in the Legislature, Marty said he has a record of listening to people and then developing proposals to deal with the challenges facing the community.

“As chair of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, I have offered bold solutions to problems such as climate change and other critical issues,” he said, “yet I work with people of differing political philosophies.”

In order to address a number of challenges -- including economic and racial disparities, and climate change -- Marty said the state needs to prevent problems instead of seeking their cure.

“We need government to be frugal and cost effective, focused on cost-saving prevention rather than expensive remedial programs,” he said. That would include investment in youth intervention programs to keep kids in school, and providing chemical dependency treatment for people addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Marty said he would push the Minnesota Health Plan, a reworking of how health care is delivered in the state, which focuses on preventative care.

“The Minnesota Health Plan would deliver health care to all, not health insurance for some,” he said.


Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813. Follow him on Twitter @mmunzenrider.

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