— Tim Gieseke’s run for a vacant state House seat is challenging for a couple of reasons.
First, Gieseke is running as the Independence Party candidate, and no lawmaker making a first run for the Legislature has succeeded under the IP banner. Second, what Gieseke is offering voters — and what he wants to bring to the Capitol — is a complicated new approach to governance.
But Gieseke also presents a unique set of experiences for voters to consider in House District 19A, a seat voters will fill in Tuesday’s special election. He has a strong agricultural background, growing up on a Nicollet County dairy farm, still growing corn and soybeans and wine grapes on 125 acres.
He’s worked in government for a soil and water conservation district and been elected to a small-town city council. And he’s created his own consulting business that’s attracted clients from Chesapeake Bay to California.
“That career trajectory is kind of the motivation for me to run for this office,” Gieseke said.
Gieseke is the founder of Ag Resource Strategies LLC, a consulting company that creates new governance and business models to address changing natural resource issues. What that involves is complex — enough so that he wrote an entire book on the topic “Ecocommerce 101” — but it’s what Minnesota needs to deal with its most vexing problems, Gieseke said.
“The practitioners are often the target of policy — the farmer or the business person,” he said. “In shared governance, they become a participant.”
Businesses and farmers need to be free to use their expertise and entrepreneurial creativity to achieve the outcomes government is seeking — reduced pollution or cleaner water, for example. The existing model too often relies on top-down one-size-fits-all regulations, he said.
“The traditional model of kind of the three-ring binder from the state agency down isn’t meeting the needs.”