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December 02, 2011 06:00 PM

Matt Varilek Enters U.S. House Race


Democrats are beginning to line up to try and unseat Republican U.S. House of Representative Kristi Noem in the 2012 election.


The latest to announce his candidacy is Matt Varilek of Sioux Falls. You may have never heard of him before, but Varilek is no stranger to politics.

Varilek released an online video today announcing his candidacy for South Dakota's lone House seat. 

"I'm running because I want to give South Dakotans the kind of leadership they deserve," Varilek said. 

KELOLAND News caught up with Varilek Friday at his home in Sioux Falls. He says he's been contemplating running for Congress since May, but decided to throw his hat into the ring after watching the dissention in Washington. 

"Congress these days is about as popular as a toothache so you have to wonder who wants to voluntarily try and join that institution, but I feel like if we are more focused on the people they represent, middle class and if we have more people willing to try and bridge differences instead of fanning the flamers of partisanship I think congress would get more done and be more popular," Varilek said.

Varilek says his background and humble beginnings are some of the attributes that makes him qualified to run for the House.

"I'm someone who grew up down in Yankton and Tabor, a lower income family and have had to work my whole life, worked my way through high school and college, doing jobs like flipping burgers, washing dishes, and picking rocks for farmers," Varilek said.

He also worked seven years for Senator Tim Johnson as his economic development director.  He's been based in South Dakota since June 2007; now he'd like to return to Washington, but with a new title, Congressman.

Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth is the other Democrat who has already announced his candidacy.
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  • US House

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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