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4 Republican candidates for Hamilton's seat speak at Round Lake forum

The filing period for seat 21B will officially be open May 17, 2022 until May 31, 2022 at 5 pm.

Republican candidates for Minnesota house 21B speak during a town hall meeting of the Prairie Winds Republican Women Forum ( from left) Jayesun Sherman, Larry Liepold, Paul Lanz and Marj Fogelman held at the Round Lake Vineyards & Winery Tuesday evening.
Republican candidates for Minnesota house 21B speak during a town hall meeting of the Prairie Winds Republican Women Forum ( from left) Jayesun Sherman, Larry Liepold, Paul Lanz and Marj Fogelman held at the Round Lake Vineyards & Winery Tuesday evening.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

ROUND LAKE — Republican candidates for the Minnesota House District 21B seat spoke at a forum hosted by The Prairie Winds Republic Women at Round Lake Vineyard & Winery’s Birds Nest on Tuesday.

In attendance were Marge Fogelman, Paul Lenz, Larry Liepold and Jayesun Sherman, all of whom have announced they will be running for the seat currently held by Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake), who is set to retire after this term.

During the hour-long forum, candidates had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the crowd during a three-minute period for opening statements. Fogelman, a small business owner from Fulda, took to the floor to express her concerns over election integrity, second amendment rights and the need for Christian, conservative voices in the Minnesota Legislature.

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Marj Fogelman Republican Lives in: Fulda
Tim Middagh / The Globe

“As a mom, as a wife, as a small business owner,” Fogelman stated, “I feel that I can be a good voice, for your rights, for my family's rights, and for the rights of our district.”

Lenz, a resident of St. James, spent much of his opening statement discussing the destruction of Christian values and the need to protect individuals’ personal rights, particularly in regard to religious freedoms. If elected into office, Lenz stated that his first priorities would be to form an alliance with other Christian Conservative legislature and work to keep progressive ideals out of education while advocating for Second Amendment legislation, such as stand your ground laws.

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042622 N DG Paul Lenz.jpg
Paul Lenz Republican Lives in: St. James
Tim Middagh / The Globe

An Okabena farmer and member of the National Pork Producers Council, Liepold stated before the crowd that his campaign relies on a “listen, speak, and act,” mentality, reliant on the concerns brought forth by the people of District 21B. With experience as an emergency responder and a hobby of reading legislation, Liepold stated that while he understands his “lanes of expertise” as emergency medical services and agriculture, he’s willing to learn and take action for Minnesotans.

042622 N DG Larry Liepold.jpg
Larry Liepold Republican Lives in: Okabena
Tim Middagh / The Globe<br/>

“We need actions and ideas that do one of two things,” he stated. “Either it makes the government accountable to citizens or keeps the government out of the way. That's why I'm running for this seat.”

Sherman, a pastor out of Windom, spoke on the need to preserve people’s right to protect themselves and identified himself as a survivor of abortion who is pro-life. As someone who wants to see a strong conservative voice maintained in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Sherman says his priorities are “God, family, and everything else,” and that is the same operation he hopes to provide in the Minnesota legislature while advocating for conservative values.

042622 N DG Jayesun Sherman.jpg
Jayesun Sherman Republican Lives in: Windom
Tim Middagh / The Globe<br/>

After introductions, candidates answered questions posed by a moderator, on topics including education, immigration, healthcare, and emergency powers during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“No one person should have that kind of power ever,” Lenz said of the multiple mask mandates enacted during the pandemic, echoing sentiments expressed by Fogelman.

On the subject of education, Liepold and Lenz advocated for school vouchers, and all four candidates spoke on the need for creating transparency in classrooms and a healthy environment for learning.

“Reading, writing and arithmetic, the basics are there,” said Liepold. “But we also need to make sure our kids can get from high school and through college.”

During his response, Sherman noted he saw lots of problems in the public school system, including with interaction between students and teachers.

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“[Teachers] are not God. They're not the parent,” he told the room. “And they should stick to their jobs. Educators should, I don’t know, educate.”

During the portion where the moderator accepted questions written by the audience, both Lenz and Liepold expressed concerns over cryptocurrency and condemned any efforts to move towards a “cashless” society.

All four candidates advocated for reforms to border security to address immigration issues, though Liepold noted that multiple industries in the southwest region rely heavily on immigrant labor, and that should be taken into consideration when looking at reforms. He suggested a sponsor-type system for immigrants wishing to enter the country, based on employment.

“There are legal ways to come into this country,” Fogelman stated during her response time. “We need to support our law enforcement to do their job. We do need to build the wall…that’s what we need to work on.”

The forum wrapped up with the opportunity for candidates to continue talking with the audience on a more “meet-and-greet” level, and Joann Smith with the Prairie Winds Republican Women thanked those in attendance.

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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