By Tribune News on Sep 17, 2015 at 11:29 p.m.

WILLMAR — Mary Sawatzky, of Willmar, is aiming for a re-match with State Representative Dave Baker in 2016.

Sawatzky announced she is seeking the DFL endorsement for the District 17B House of Representative seat to a gathering of supporters Thursday evening in Willmar.

“I love this community and all of the people that make it such a great place to live, work and raise a family,” said Sawatzky in a news release announcing her candidacy.

“I am running for the state house because we can do a better job for west central Minnesota and our entire state if we listen to each other and work together to deliver results. I am excited to get to work,” she added.

Sawatzky represented District 17B in 2013-14.

The district includes Willmar and the northern two-thirds of Kandiyohi County.

Baker, a Republican, unseated Sawatzky in a race decided by 214 votes in 2014. Two years earlier, Sawatzky had defeated Republican incumbent Bruce Vogel. Sawatzky is an educator with the Willmar Public Schools, active in a wide range of community activities, and known as a hard campaigner.

She knocked on every door in the district during her previous two campaigns.

Sawatzky said she has heard frustration and concerns that significant issues for west central Minnesota are not being prioritized by the current legislature.

She cited education, transportation, lack of Internet access, and the local economy as chief among them.

“I have heard from parents who think we can do a better job investing in our schools. I’ve heard from businesses frustrated by our lack high-speed Internet access.

And I’ve heard from just about everybody that we need to fix our highways, roads and bridges,” Sawatzky said.

Sawatzky said she is excited to begin her campaign and to talk with people about their priorities for our state’s future.

“The best part of a campaign is the conversations I have with people about their own ideas for ways our legislature can do a better job representing our community,” she said.