Seifert talks rural, local issues such as sand
Sitting in a meeting room at the Red Wing airport on Thursday, Republican Marty Seifert said he feels rural Minnesota deserves more attention from lawmakers in St. Paul.
“I do feel in many cases greater Minnesota gets left out in policy decisions,” the candidate for governor said. “We’re one state.”
Seifert, along with lieutenant governor candidate and current state Rep. Pam Myhra, is traveling throughout the state to campaign in advance of the Aug. 12 primary, where they will face three other Republican teams.
Seifert is running against Scott Honour, Kurt Zellers and GOP-endorsed candidate Jeff Johnson in the primary for governor. The winner will face Democrat and current Gov. Mark Dayton in November.
During his stop near Red Wing, Seifert said he is the only candidate that will bring a greater Minnesota focus to the office.
Seifert lives in Marshall, Minnesota, and previously served in the Minnesota House. He also has a background in small business, education and health care, among other sectors, he said. Myhra is from Burnsville, Minnesota, and is a former certified public accountant.
Recognizing his own home’s proximity to South Dakota, Seifert said Minnesota, and border cities especially, need to ensure they are friendly to businesses to stay successful.
“A big concern is Minnesota is becoming uncompetitive,” he said, citing issues such as taxes and “red tape” for businesses. “The concern is we are not being as welcoming to entrepreneurs as we once were.”
Seifert also highlighted another issue for rural Minnesota — funding roads and bridges. He said he believes a third of money in public works borrowing bills should be dedicated to such infrastructure, which would “relieve congestions and provide for good rural roads.” He said faced with decisions in a bonding bill of amenities or “wants” versus infrastructure, he would rather fund road work, as well as projects with statewide or at least regional impact.
He also said he is a “skeptic” of rail transit’s value and would likely rather spend such money on road and bridge work.
When it comes to energy, Seifert said he is supportive of options that are “reliable and affordable,” especially coal and nuclear power. He said he would be an advocate for the nuclear plant near Red Wing, as well as the plant in Monticello, Minnesota.
“I’m a big proponent of nuclear power,” he said. He is less supportive of wind and solar power, saying they are not as reliable and can be controversial. “I am generally opposed to government subsidizing wind farms,” he said.
He also touched on silica sand mining in Minnesota, saying he would not be in favor of a statewide moratorium on the practice. He said he generally would support the mining operations, as long as they are done properly and don’t harm the environment or area.
Key focuses of Seifert and Myhra’s campaign include “limiting and downsizing government,” overhauling health care, a transportation system focused on roads and bridges and improving education.
As Myhra and Seifert travel the state, they said they are also interested in hearing from Minnesotans about their issues and needs. That’s why they’re making so many stops, Seifert said, including in places other candidates haven’t visited.
“It’s about getting out and listening,” he said. “It might be the old-fashioned approach … but you have to get out and talk to people.”