Editor's note: The following is a press release from the Joe Atkins campaign.
When dozens of Minnesota auto dealerships like Fury Motors and Anoka’s Main Motors were threatened with closure by manufacturers, State Rep. Joe Atkins stepped up to help them—and to save the thousands of Minnesota jobs that come along with them.
For his successful efforts to save dealerships and jobs and for passing HF 1717, a bipartisan bill to better protect them in the future, Minnesota’s auto dealers and their employees named Atkins their Legislator of the Year two years in a row.
Anoka’s Main Motors is one of the dealerships that was saved. Established in 1919, the business is owned by Lee and Karen Carlson, long-time Republicans, who have now publicly supported Atkins, a Democrat.
The Carlsons are well known in Minnesota, not just because Lee was previously honored as Minnesota’s Automobile Dealer of the Year, but for their philanthropy and for their famous daughter, Gretchen, who served as Miss America in 1989.
Atkins pointed out that many of the Minnesota auto dealerships that were targeted for closure are now doing record sales, employing even more people, and are a big part of Minnesota’s improving economy.
“Taking on the big auto manufacturers to help save Minnesota dealers, and to save all the jobs that come along with them, was definitely one of the most uphill battles I have ever been a part of,” Atkins said. “But it was absolutely worth all of the time and effort we put into it.”