Editorial - Our choice for District 11A: Torrey WestromIt would take a knockout punch to unseat Republican Torrey Westrom from the District 11A position he’s held since 1997. It shouldn’t happen this election.
It would take a knockout punch to unseat Republican Torrey Westrom from the District 11A position he’s held since 1997. It shouldn’t happen this election.
There are a raft of reasons to return Westrom to office this November. The Legislature is facing its biggest budget challenge ever and Westrom’s seasoned leadership is essential for the district. He’s a strong, determined voice for rural, outstate Minnesota and has the political savvy and experience to stand up against legislation that would provide inequitable funding to the metro area.
Westrom understands how families and small businesses are struggling in today’s economy and his approach to balancing the state budget reflects that. Instead of relying on tax increases or making deeper cuts, he said that government has to “work harder and smarter” by delivering services more efficiently. One money saving idea he supports is for the state to house its prisoners at the now-closed privately-run prison in Appleton instead of transferring them to other parts of the state at a greater cost. Another option he supports is for the state to sell off its excess land.
Westrom would also fight to keep state aid flowing to small cities and counties. He points out that Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth receive nearly half of the current local government aid (LGA) funds. He favors changing the formula to require large cities to implement policies like the smaller cities do around here, like having volunteer firefighters.
Westrom also has ideas on how to break the political gridlock at the Legislature: Appointing a mix of Republicans and DFLers as committee chairs and vice chairs, and having an even number from each party serving on committees.
Representative Westrom serves on four committees: Energy Finance and Policy Division, Civil Justice, Rules and Legislative Administration, and Ways and Means.
He’s earned accolades from many groups for his work at the Capitol, including a “Guardian of Small Business Award” from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and an award from the Minnesota STAR program for removing barriers to independence for people with disabilities by using assistive technology.
Westrom faces two challengers this election: Bennett Smith, a 23-year-old political science major from Donnelly – the youngest candidate to seek election in the Legislature this year – offers an intriguing fresh voice for DFLers. He offers some ideas worth looking into, such as trimming bureaucracy costs and high salaries in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. Smith appears to have a bright political future ahead of him but the timing isn’t right to put a newcomer into office right now.
Dave Holman, the Independence Party candidate, has a witty outlook and a folksy way of identifying problems, but his effectiveness at the Legislature doesn’t measure up to Westrom’s proven track record.
District 11A residents who vote for Westrom can rest assured they’ll receive two more years of common-sense, rural leadership.
Echo Press editorials are the position of the newspaper’s editorial board, which includes Jody Hanson, publisher; Al Edenloff, editor; and news reporter, Celeste Beam.