Hastings City Council member Tina Folch is running for a Minnesota House seat.

Folch will run as a DFLer in House District 54B next year. She's the first candidate to announce a challenge to Rep. Tony Jurgens, R-Cottage Grove, who is in his first term representing the district.

"I am running because I can no longer stand by and watch the Legislature turn its back on its responsibilities to our district like an absentee landlord," Folch said in announcing her bid Monday, Nov. 27.

Folch said that she has witnessed state government fail to keep up with basic infrastructure needs such as technology, construction projects and road maintenance. Earlier this fall, she helped organize a group of citizens to pull weeds from state highway medians in Hastings because the Minnesota Department of Transportation would not do it.

"I believe we need to get back to Minnesota's core values where we lift up our communities, rather than catering to the demands of special interests," Folch said.

As a Hastings native, Folch said that she is committed to serving the area and wants to continue giving back to the community that has meant so much to her personally and professionally. She has spent the past 16 years living in Hastings and Cottage Grove, starting her career by living in the southern tip of Cottage Grove. She served three years on the Cottage Grove Planning Commission before moving to Hastings. She was elected to the Hastings City Council in 2016.

Folch has worked for state and local government for more than 20 years conducting strategic planning. She has a bachelor's degree in political science and history from St. Catherine University and a master's in public administration from the Hamline School of Business.

The District 54B seat was held by Republican Denny McNamara of Hastings for 14 years before he retired and Jurgens won the seat in the 2016 election.