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Jeff Wilfahrt is pictured speaking to students in Dillon, S.C. He made the connection through the 1st Sergeant in his son Andrew's platoon after Andrew was killed in Afghanistan. He showed the kids Andrew's medals.

Rosemount's Jeff Wilfahrt will run for District 37B House seat

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Jeff Wilfahrt had his share of frustrations dealing with Minnesota legislators last year. Now the Rosemount resident hopes to find a seat on the other side of the table.

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Wilfahrt announced last week that he plans to run for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 37B. The seat is currently held by Rosemount resident Kurt Bills.

Wilfahrt, a former 3M engineer who is currently self-employed, has been considering the run since last summer, when he was first approached about running. That was just a few months after Wilfahrt's son, Andrew, was killed while serving in Afghanistan, and Wilfahrt didn't feel prepared to make a major life decisions.

When he was asked again earlier this month, though, Wilfahrt was ready to commit.

Wilfahrt spent a lot of time at the capitol last year speaking out against a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. In May he complained about speaking to committees whose minds appeared to have been made up long before he walked into the room.

Andrew, who was gay, was killed in February by an improvised explosive device. Wilfahrt said in May he wanted to ensure people like his son can have the same rights as everyone else.

"He was an excellent soldier," Wilfahrt said. "He died to defend the Constitution and the men and the women who were on the road with him that day.

"If my son was going to die for the Constitution, the least I can do is defend it."

Wilfahrt called the proposed marriage ban one of the most significant factors in his decision to run.

"It was very distressing to see the Legislature get consumed by this effort to put an anti-marriage amendment in our state constitution," Wilfahrt said in announcing his decision this week. "I believe the Legislature has more important priorities to concern themselves with. There are significant challenges facing our community and state and I am running for the Legislature to focus on these bread and butter issues."

Wilfahrt, who describes himself as socially progressive and "probably more fiscally conservative as an individual than most Republicans" said he has been concerned about some of the legislation introduced by Bills.

He identified job creation, quality education and responsible budgeting as his top priorities.

Wilfahrt is already jumping into campaign mode. Last weekend he attended a camp named for former Senator Paul Welstone to get instruction how to run a campaign. He's already started to solicit donations.

Becoming a politician has taken some getting used to. He compares it to the jumps back and forth through time on the television series Lost.

"I'm a man that's led a very quiet life," he said. "Before Feb. 22 of last year nobody knew our name, so to suddenly find a public spotlight on my wife and myself is like a time shift."

Wilfahrt was born and raised in New Ulm. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris with a degree in chemistry.

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