Ex-Massachusetts legislator forces DFL primary in Downtown Senate district

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July 2, 2002 // UPDATED 1:25 pm - April 30, 2007
By: Kevin Featherly
Kevin Featherly

A former Massachusetts legislator is taking the race for the open Senate District 60 seat to a DFL primary. The district covers Downtown south of 7th Street and much of southwest Minneapolis.

Rick Roche, a Democrat who served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the late '70s and early '80s, is challenging DFL endorsee Scott Dibble. Roche now lives in Linden Hills.

Dibble, a Kingfield neighborhood resident, currently represents District 60B in the state House of Representatives. The former City Council aide and neighborhood organizer announced his candidacy in late March, saying he wants to carry on in the tradition of retiring DFL Sen. Myron Orfield and previous DFL Sen. Allan Spear.

Roche, who works in the financial services industry, acknowledges his underdog status. He said he is challenging Dibble to give voters a voice in candidate selection, which he suggested the party's endorsement process denies them.

"I just believe that a majority of the DFL voters should decide this district, not a smaller select number of party activists or party leaders," he said.

Roche is a veteran in the fight to stop new nuclear power plants and now is campaigning to prevent the federal government from transporting nuclear wastes through large cities, including Minneapolis, to long-term storage at Nevada's Yucca Mountain site.

He was first elected to office as a 24-year-old and is a veteran of six Massachusetts political campaigns, losing one of them.

Since 1995, Roche has lived in southwest Minneapolis with his wife and two children. In addition to working as an investment strategist, he coaches youth sports and has taught high school government classes.

The primary election is Sept. 10.