The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Election News

October 18, 2006

District 21 candidates hope to strike right tone

Ask the three candidates looking to represent District 21 about the state of Minnesota’s Legislature, and you’ll likely get two answers.

Incumbent state Sen. Dennis Frederickson says the Legislature learned its lesson in 2005 after a lengthy special session.

“I think that left a rather bad taste for everybody,” said the New Ulm Republican.

And he doesn’t think the body wastes time with petty squabbles over issues that people don’t care about.

“What might be considered a waste of time and effort (to some) might be a vital concern for another group of people,” he said.

But his two challengers, political newcomers Brian Bretzman, an Independent, and Democrat Margie Hoyt, would probably sound a different note.

In response to a question about the political tone in St. Paul, Bretzman, of Redwood Falls, drew a comparison to a feud in the late 19th century, which left more than a dozen dead in the Appalachian Mountains.

“Hatfield and McCoy party line voting has to stop,” he wrote in response to a Free Press questionnaire.

For Hoyt, a Madelia resident, the answer to government shutdowns and special sessions, she wrote, would be to “remove ideology from governance, restore sanity, exercise reasonableness and start fulfilling the duties in the Preamble of the Constitution.”

District 21 includes the cities of Marshall, Redwood Falls and New Ulm and parts of Watonwan, Brown, Redwood and Lyon counties.

All three candidates agree on some of the issues, including the method of funding transportation, a hesitance to raise statewide taxes to provide local property-tax relief and the need to hold down tuition increases.

Transportation upgrades ought to be funded now, they agreed, not by taking out loans and paying debt later.

“I find it disingenuous for anyone to speak of fiscal responsibility and then advocate for borrowing money that requires an additional tax burden to pay the interest,” Hoyt wrote.

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