Letter: Former ag committee chair backs DemmerAgriculture is an issue that is very personal for me. I always felt privileged to grow up on a family dairy farm in rural Little Falls.
By: Steve Wenzel, Little Falls, Worthington Daily Globe
Agriculture is an issue that is very personal for me. I always felt privileged to grow up on a family dairy farm in rural Little Falls. I was proud to serve the people of Morrison and Crow Wing counties in the Minnesota House of Representatives for 29 years, including 16 years as chairman of the Minnesota House Committee on Agriculture. From 2001 to 2009, I traveled to hundreds of rural communities in Minnesota in my position as Minnesota Director of Rural Development in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Over the course of my public service, I always regarded rural issues as nonpartisan. As an elected DFLer, I worked across party lines in the Minnesota Legislature with like-minded Republicans on many key issues important to the people of rural Minnesota. I never let party loyalty influence me over doing what I believed was right for Minnesotans. My time with USDA was also spent in a very non-partisan environment. I believe my background and experience gives me perspective on who can best represent rural Minnesota in Congress.
I am very troubled by the partisan approach of current U.S. Representative Tim Walz. Not only does Tim Walz vote with the House Democratic leadership 97 percent of the time, but he does not stand up for Minnesota agriculture when given the chance. The clearest example of this is Walz’s support for “Cap and Trade,” a policy that would hurt southern Minnesota and Minnesota’s important agriculture industry. Farmers could expect to see higher taxes, higher input and energy costs, more regulation, and fewer crop acres every year in the foreseeable future. When this debate took place in Washington, Walz chose to stand with big-city liberal Democrats over his rural constituents.
Randy Demmer is a Republican that I know has a firm grasp of agricultural issues. Not only did he farm for almost 30 years, but he spent the last eight years in the Minnesota legislature working on rural issues in a straight-forward and commonsense way. I believe Demmer has a great commitment to and understanding of agricultural issues in the 21st century, and would make a great advocate for Southern Minnesota. He would support more free trade, oppose cap and trade and work to keep the EPA in check in its never-ending quest to regulate agriculture.
I look for candidates that don’t just toe the party line. I believe it is essential in these critical times that our elected officials stand for their district and nation. Having a strong and prosperous agriculture industry is key to the future of rural Minnesota and all of rural America. I want candidates and public servants that will do what’s right for their constituents. Randy Demmer is indeed such a candidate. I wholeheartedly endorse him for Minnesota’s first congressional district house seat. Randy will best serve the best interests of agriculture and family farmers of the First District in Congress.