Bernardy, Helm Vie to Represent Fridley
Candidates win endorsements for new House district that encompasses all of Fridley
Connie Bernardy is a former State Representative who built her public profile as a champion for schools. Dale Helm is a 21-year military veteran who served in Desert Storm.
Each wants to serve as the state representative of Minnesota House District 41A, which, after redistricting, will unite Fridley after years of disparate representation. Each also received their party’s endorsement on March 31.
Bernardy beat fellow DFL member and incumbent Rep. Tom Tillberry for Saturday’s party endorsement, while Helm won the Republican nod*. Speaking with Patch on Tuesday, the endorsed candidates said they were excited by the prospect of representing a united Fridley and identified education as a key issue in their campaigns.
Bernardy, who served in the House between 2000 and 2006, said she hoped voters would recognize her community-building efforts, including the Save Our Schools campaign, which fought for more public funding of education. Bernardy also fought for the restoration of wetlands at the Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley.
She said she decided to re-enter the public arena because she is dissatisfied with the division at the Capitol, and because she has a “deep love” for the community.
“I’m frustrated with the extremely divisive politics at the Capitol,” Bernardy said. “People are not being heard. I would like to go down and represent our community and put working families first again.”
Helm, a 17-year Fridley resident, ran against Tillberry in 2010, garnering 46 percent of the vote in an unsuccessful bid for office. He said he was motivated to run again because he believes residents in the district need someone who understands their concerns. As a parent and business owner, he said he has a vested interest in the community’s success.
“I’m invested in wanting to see the district do well, and of course as a Minnesotan I want to see the state do well,” he said.
Bernardy said she did not know enough about Helm to comment on their differences, but Helm said he favored more local control. He also questioned Bernardy’s commitment to the job since she left the position in 2006.
Tillberry could not be immediately reached for comment.
* Brian Gordon ran against Helm for the endorsement, but withdrew after delegates voted for Helm by a ratio of 9 to 1.