Scattered across townships and cities throughout Redwood County, delegates and alternates met virtually March 28 to participate in the Redwood County Republican convention.
Hosted by Jennifer Carnahan, current chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, the online and on the phone meeting was the first of many county conventions the GOP has been holding as a way to conduct several pieces of business and to hear from some of the candidates who are vying for elected positions at the state and federal level.
Among the actions taken during the convention was the election of delegates and alternates to the Congressional District 7 convention, which is currently scheduled to be held April 25 at the convention center in Willmar. The elected delegates include: Anita Runck, Barb Dahms, Curtis DePuy, David Swedzinski, Fred Dauer, Gary Dahms, Mary Gayle Bratsch and Tiffany Knott.
The 30 delegates in attendance at the county convention also elected those who will represent Redwood County at the state convention, which is currently scheduled to be held May 15-16 in Rochester. The delegates elected include: Barb Dahms, Curtis DePuy, Fred Dauer, Gary Dahms, Mary Gayle Bratsch, Meghan Plotz, Roger Baumann and Tiffany Knott.
District 16 Sen. Gary Dahms convened the meeting and took a couple of moments to thank those attending the convention for the opportunity he has been given to serve them in the Minnesota Senate.
“I am completing my third term in the Senate and would be honored to be able to serve you again,” said Dahms, adding he feels a lot of things have been accomplished during the time he has served as a senator.
Yet, he added, there is still plenty of work left to do.
“I want to be part of the team that moves Minnesota forward toward a more conservative position,” said Dahms.
Dahms added he recognizes the economy is struggling right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding he is making it a priority to do what is best for the people who he serves.
District 16A Rep. Chris Swedzinski of Ghent, who is seeking another term in the Minnesota House of Representatives, said the upcoming election is an important one, and the hope is that Republicans can gain the majority in the House as a way to implement conservative principals.
District 16B Rep. Paul Torkelson of Hanska ex-pressed his disappointment that he was not able to meet with the delegates face to face, adding he commends those who made the time to take part in the convention.
Torkelson said life is not business as usual right now, adding he thinks it is important for the legislature to keep working however it can to serve Minnesota and to be poised to make a quick recovery once the current situation comes to an end.
Torkelson said if elected he will continue to fight for the principals of the Republican Party, including smaller government, limited spending, the sanctity of life and making sure rural Minnesota gets its fair share of funding.
Tammy Houle of Redwood Falls has announced she is also running for the Minnesota House 16B seat and also addressed the convention. Houle said she has been interested in serving in an elected role for some time, adding, however, her priority was raising her three children. Now that her youngest has graduated from high school, she feels this is a good time to run.
Houle said she has been an elected official at the township level since 1993 and is a member of the state board of township directors.
“I am 100 percent pro-life and support the second amendment,” said Houle, adding she thinks Rep. Torkelson has done a good job serving the area.
However, she believes now is a good time for someone else to serve.
All five of the candidates currently vying to face off against District 7 Congressman Collin Peterson spoke during the convention, as did two Republicans who are running for the U.S. Senate representing Minnesota.
A number of resolutions approved at the precinct caucus level were shared with the delegates, and Leonard Runck, Redwood County Republican Party chair, made a motion to pass through those resolutions to the district convention.
Passing the resolutions through does not mean all of them have been officially approved , but they will move on for discussion and consideration at the next level.
As part of the convention, Runck also expressed his thanks to the current members of the Redwood County Republican committee, adding he appreciates their hard work on behalf of the party.
Larry Arentson, Redwood County committee treasurer, reminded the delegates of the opportunities they have to donate to the party.
Jennifer Carnahan encouraged all of the delegates to get involved in the election and campaign process in the coming months.
“We have an incredible opportunity,” said Carnahan, adding Minnesota is one of the top 18 target states.
That, she said, means lots of resources are going to be coming to Minnesota, but there is a need for people to help utilize those resources.
“We need everyone’s help,” said Carnahan, adding she believes the Minnesota Republican Party is on a good path heading toward November.
The delegates were also reminded of the fundraiser currently scheduled to be held in August.