Editorial - Our choice for Senate: Ingebrigtsen, WestromDouglas County is now in two Minnesota Senate districts because of redistricting – Districts 8 and 12. Here’s who we support.
Douglas County is now in two Minnesota Senate districts because of redistricting – Districts 8 and 12. Here’s who we support:
The District 8 Senate race pits two candidates who have valuable experience in the Senate. Both Bill Ingebrigtsen of Alexandria and Dan Skogen of Hewitt were elected to the Senate in 2006, Ingebrigtsen in District 11 and Skogen in District 10. They both ascended to positions of authority – Skogen as majority whip for the DFL and Ingebrigtsen as Republican deputy majority leader.
Skogen was voted out of office in 2010 when Republicans gained control of both the House and Senate, while Ingebrigtsen continued to serve. Because of redistricting, the two men, who have worked together on legislation in the past, now find themselves running head to head.
We believe that Ingebrigtsen is the best fit for the new district. We haven’t agreed with all of his political positions but there is no argument about his proven record of leadership and accomplishments. He led a bipartisan effort to cut regulatory red tape on small businesses – one of the reasons he earned a 100 percent rating from the National Federation of Independent Business Minnesota. As chair of the Senate Environmental and Natural Resources Committee, he consistently supported waste-to-energy efforts over landfilling. He’s shown leadership in the fight against aquatic invasive species, working with both parties to approve $4 million in new money for researching solutions and funding electric shock barriers for lock and dam systems to guard against flying Asian carp. Ingebrigtsen has received support from groups that fight for rural cities and counties – the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and the League of Minnesota Cities.
Ingebrigtsen is staunchly dedicated to his party, almost to a fault. He has shown an ability to work with DFLers on some issues, however, and we strongly hope this continues in the next session, especially when it comes to funding decisions for outstate Minnesota, such as preserving local government aid (LGA).
We don’t like the negative campaign tactics that Skogen has used. One of his mailings showed Ingebrigtsen’s face swirling down a drain; another smudged a pair of red lips over Ingebrigtsen’s face and said it was time to “kiss Senator Ingebrigtsen goodbye;” and another accused him of telling “really big whoppers.” Ingebrigtsen’s mailings, meanwhile, have focused on his own record and accomplishments – something more politicians should do instead of going into attack mode.
District 8 voters should reject that negativity and let Ingebrigtsen continue to demonstrate the effective “high road” leadership he’s shown in the Senate.
Our board was split on this one.
Republican Torrey Westrom has been a strong voice for our area as a state representative for 16 years but because of redistricting, he decided to make a run for the Senate.
His opponent is DFLer John Schultz of Big Stone County who has background in the commercial banking industry, farming, as an investment advisor, and helping non-profit organizations refine their message and raise funds. In his campaign, Schultz has demonstrated that he’s a creative thinker who would bring a fresh approach to old problems like the budget, gridlock and education funding.
Westrom knows how things work at the Legislature and has earned leadership roles because of it. Last year, he was one of four legislators named speaker pro tempore of the House and he served as chair of the civil law and energy committees.
While serving in the House, Westrom earned a reputation for listening to the individual needs of his constituents, including farmers, veterans and small businesses. He’s worked in a bipartisan way to fight for funding for rural areas, supporting programs such as JOBZ and LGA. We haven’t always agreed with Westrom’s positions, which typically fall along his party’s line, and we disagree with his contention that humans haven’t influenced global warming.
But all things considered, Westrom’s 16 years of experience, dedication and just plain hard work to try and better the lives of his constituents should not be cast aside, not now when the Legislature faces such big funding decisions ahead. District 8 needs a strong leader who has been in the trenches and understands the people who put him into office. Westrom deserves that opportunity in the Senate.