Quist hosts roundtable discussion
WORTHINGTON -- U.S. Congress candidate Allen Quist pledged he would work aggressively to slash the mounting national deficit, repeal the Affordable Health Care Act and curb regulations harmful to businesses during a roundtable discussion Monday afternoon at Worthington's Travelodge Hotel.
Quist, who owns and operates an 800-acre farm in Nicollet County and is a former professor at Bethany Lutheran College, is also a former three-term state legislator. He is challenging current 1st District U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, a Democrat who is seeking his fourth term in Washington.
Speaking before a group of five people -- not counting two representatives from the media and his wife, Julie - Quist described himself as a man who knows how to run successful business and how to help get Washington on the right track.
"I know what a balance sheet is," Quist said. "I know what red ink is, and I know what black ink is. I'm financially very successful, and I don't feel I need to apologize for that. ... I'm a big fan of Adam Smith, who wrote "The Wealth of Nations" in 1776. That was a very good year -- it was the same year the Declaration of Independence was written -- and I think there's a lot of commonality between free enterprise and a free country."
Quist has served as co-chair of three presidential campaigns in Minnesota. He noted that he declined an offer to serve in the same capacity under then-candidate George W. Bush, because "I thought he was too big a spender."
Excesses of government spending, Quist pointed out, have resulted in the U.S. slipping from an Index of Economic Freedom ranking of fourth in 2000 to 10th currently. The addition of more than $1 trillion in debt each year "obviously puts limitations on what you're going to be able to do," he said.
"We have to start going up the ladder of economic freedom and at least get back to No. 4," Quist said.
One thing that would enable this, Quist stressed, is the elimination of the Affordable Health Care Act, or what Republicans commonly refer to as "Obamacare." Quist said polls show overwhelming percentages of businesses don't intend to add employees because of the new health care law.
After approximately 10 minutes of remarks, Quist began taking questions from attendees. The first had to do with whether, if elected, Quist would be able to forge bipartisanship relationships with Democrats.
"I want you to know the Republican Party doesn't like me all that much, and the reason is I'm far too independent," Quist said, noting party leaders have told him they're not fond of his "down-home" ads featuring two of his granddaughters.
Quist noted he worked with Democratic Gov. Rudy Perpich on legislation that "changed the direction of giving people money to giving people skills," as well as authored a bipartisan bill that legalized home schooling in the state. "I'm also the guy that created the non-smoking program in the schools," he added.
"When working with people to get things accomplished, it's not a matter of being squishy on the things you believe," he said. "If people find out they can't trust you, they won't work with you."
Walz is one person who voters shouldn't trust, Quist said. Post cards attacking Quist mailed by the Minnesota DFL -- and funded by Walz, Quist said -- have included flat-out lies, the Republican insisted.
"Where does trust come in when people are willing to lie to the public? You can't be putting out falsehoods," Quist said.
Other significant topics for Quist included regulations - he would be combative at the federal level to reduce them, and blamed them for the demise of the Big Stone II power plant project -- and his view on traditional marriage. The candidate transitioned from defending traditional marriage into sharply criticizing the Affordable Health Care Act for placing a "discriminatory" tax on married people.
"It's virtually unbelievable that this can happen in the United States of America. Obamacare will do to marriage for the middle class what welfare did to marriage for the poor."
Quist also indicated the Farm Bill now on hold in Washington has a price tag of nearly half a trillion dollars, rendering it impassable. Eighty percent of the money in the bill is for food stamps, he said.
In closing, Quist said the main reason he is running for office is that he can't stand idly by and watch what's happening to his nation, even though part of him "would rather have ice thrown down his back" than go to Washington.
"Julie (wife) and I have lived the American dream, and we're losing that. I want my grandkids to have that opportunity."
Daily Globe Managing Editor Ryan McGaughey may be reached at