Editor's note: The following is a response from the candidate to the Oct. 26 Echo Press editorial:
To the editor:
Every election presents voters with the opportunity to choose between competing visions for our state. This year is no different. In the race for State Representative, my opponent, Jay McNamar, steadfastly says, "What is good for Minneapolis is good for rural Minnesota." That is where we strongly disagree.
Two years ago, 10 freshmen legislators from rural areas were elected. They shifted the House to Republican control because Greater Minnesota felt ignored by St. Paul. For example:
• Rep. Jean Wagenius from Minneapolis was named chair of the Agricultural Committee. She has not proven to be an advocate for modern agriculture in Greater Minnesota.
• Gov. Dayton pushed a one-size-fits-all buffer land grab, in which the rural areas took the main brunt.
• Out-of-control regulators from the MPCA, DNR and Department of Agriculture impose regulations without understanding how they raise the cost of production and make compliance extremely difficult.
• The MNsure disaster was pushed by the metro DFL without one Republican vote.
• Social policies such as shared bathrooms and locker rooms by boys and girls originated in the metro, not in rural Minnesota.
There have been several occasions of productive "reaching across the aisle" to work together. For example, the Tax bill passed with 89 percent support in both the House and Senate. The Tax bill was vetoed by Gov. Dayton. And the Bonding/Transportation bill had bipartisan approval in the House.
I will always seek to work cooperatively with legislators from the metro area. However, I will not apologize for putting Greater Minnesota first, and for being a strong voice for rural values. The District 12A seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives is your voice at the Capitol. It would be an honor to continue to serve on your behalf. I have the experience needed and share the values we trust.
MN Rep. Jeff Backer
Browns Valley, MN