Why are you running for state representative?

I love southwestern Minnesota, representing our area, and helping people. Whether its pushing for an expansion of Highway 60, finding ways to improve the costs of prescription drugs, or simply listening to a resident with a personal problem, I’ve always enjoyed making a positive difference in the lives of others and helping others whenever I can.

From your perspective, what is the role of a state representative?

To represent the people. State representatives must never forget who sent them to St. Paul. We must make sure we’re doing all we can to reach out to our constituents and gain their perspective, whether you agree with me or not. A state representative should always treat people with respect and dignity, which is a goal I’ve worked hard to achieve. 

What will be your approach to balancing the next two-year state budget in terms of reducing spending and/or raising taxes and fees?

Lawmakers will need to use a scalpel when it comes to reducing spending from our next budget. Our top priorities during this process must be to protect the most vulnerable and to educate our children. We must also eliminate waste, fraud and abuse within state government. That said, some will suggest raising taxes and fees. Lawmakers must be very cognizant of the hardship employees and business have faced during COVID-19. How can we ask them to pay more when their livelihoods have been destroyed? We must be careful during this budget setting process, and we’ll need to prioritize spending.

How would you work to collaborate with local units of government?

Working with local governments is the most important thing a lawmaker can do, as those units of government are closest to the people. I’ve worked hard over the years to meet with city councils, county commissioners, township boards, and others and asked them to present their platform prior to the start of session. It is always very helpful to see their road map to success, and I’ll continue to encourage this process moving forward.

How as a state representative would you work to promote economic development?

When we invest in roads and bridges, broadband, and clean water, we can see the results. Just look to the expanded Highway 60 and the implementation of the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System for signs of new economic development resulting from those projects. For economic development to improve, businesses must have access to necessary infrastructure. But it’s also important to remember that state government needs to get out of the way and not regulate them out of business.

If you are elected, what would your top priority be for the 2021 state legislative session?

The top priority this year is going to be finding a way to balance the budget. It must be done carefully, and a good way to start is by removing the waste, fraud and abuse within our state agencies.

How do you grade the state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the beginning I supported Governor Walz’ executive orders so we could give our hospitals time to get ready. He lost me when he decided to allow big box stores and Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store to reopen, but left Main Street business closed. Then he made the decision to take elderly and vulnerable COVID-19 positive patients out of the hospital and put them into nursing homes, which was a horrible choice that resulted in far too many deaths. The best thing the State can do right now is to allow businesses to safely re-open while safeguarding their employees and customers.

Other than the topics already addressed, what, from your perspective, is the biggest issue facing the State of Minnesota, and how would you work to resolve it?

We need to get our economy moving again. Prior to the pandemic, we were facing a billion dollar budget surplus. Now we are expected to face a multi-billion dollar budget deficit. We must get people back to work and allow businesses to fully re-open while safeguarding employees. We also must prioritize law and order, and stop the nonsensical talk of defunding our police.

Why should people vote for you?

Because I’ll continue to lead by example and be the same person I’ve always been. I’ve always been approachable, treated people with respect and dignity, and participated in civil conversations. People need to know we can disagree and have spirited debates, but we don’t need the nastiness. I’ll lead by example in this regard, and treat people the way I wish to be treated.

Please provide a brief bio of yourself.

I’ve been married for 31 years, have two adult children, and am a pork producer. I have served as a member of the Minnesota House since 2004, and have previously served as the chairman of the Minnesota House Agriculture Committee. I care deeply about the people of southwestern Minnesota, and work hard every day to see that their needs are met. I respectfully ask for your vote on Election Day.