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Published October 06, 2010, 12:00 AM

Education, jobs forum topics

Candidates for the Minnesota Legislature focused on flood control, jobs creation and education during a forum held Tuesday in Moorhead sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

By: Dave Olson, INFORUM

Candidates for the Minnesota Legislature focused on flood control, jobs creation and education during a forum held Tuesday in Moorhead sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

“It’s about jobs,” said Jeff Backer, a Republican from Browns Valley who is running for the District 9 Senate seat held by Democrat Keith Langseth of Glyndon.

Backer said Minnesota’s regulatory climate forces entrepreneurs to operate in neighboring states, and he said if elected he would work to reduce mandates.

Langseth emphasized his seniority in the Legislature and his ability in the past to secure millions for flood protection across the state and the Red River Valley in particular.

Langseth said what makes Minnesota attractive to business is the educated and hard-working work force it can provide employers.

“I’m concerned we may be slipping in that area,” he added, referring to education.

In the race for Minnesota House District 9A, incumbent Republican Morrie Lanning of Moorhead said education funding should be the top priority for the state.

He also said Minnesota has accomplished much in recent years despite the difficult economy.

Democratic challenger Greg Lemke, Moorhead, also stressed education and said the way to spark economic activity is to offer tax credits to small businesses and pass a bonding bill that will create jobs.

Paul Marquart, the House District 9B incumbent, also advocated bonding bills as a way to put people to work, especially when interest rates are relatively low as they are now.

The Democrat from Dilworth said small-business owners tell him their No. 1 concern is property taxes, and he said he favors putting a freeze on property taxes.

Republican Benjamin Grimsley of Detroit Lakes, who is challenging Marquart, said Minnesota shouldn’t be passing large bonding bills when it is facing a large budget deficit.

Grimsley said he favors limiting government, including his own future in it. “I’m not a career politician, and I have no plans to be,” he said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

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