WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County Republicans on Saturday endorsed Willmar businessman Bruce Vogel for the District 13B House of Representatives seat.
Vogel will attempt to unseat Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Wilmar, who is seeking his eighth term in office.
Vogel earned the unanimous support of delegates who attended the county convention Saturday at the MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar, according to party co-chairman Rollie Nissen.
The endorsement "kicks the campaign off in full gear," said Vogel in an interview Monday. "We're running full speed here."
Vogel said that if elected his goals would include reducing "wasteful" government spending, cutting corporate and small business taxes and promoting equitable funding for schools between metro and non-metro schools. Students in greater Minnesota "aren't any less important than the students in the metro," he said.
Vogel said he supports Gov. Tim Pawlenty's elimination of the General Assistance Medical Care program. The House failed Monday to override Pawlenty's veto of legislation that would have extended the program.
Vogel said moving people from GAMC to the Minnesota Care subsidized insurance program will be less expensive for the state and the $3 to $4 dollars that participants will need to pay for premiums, co-pays or medications won't be as bad a hardship as some expect. "Most of them could find $3," he said.
Vogel also said he is against proposed legislation to allow casinos in Minnesota's horse racing tracks, which is a proposal sponsored by Juhnke.
In addressing the political gridlock in St. Paul, Vogel acknowledged that Juhnke has "done some good things" and there are issues Democrats and Republicans can agree on.
But he also said "sometimes gridlock isn't all bad" if it prevents certain legislation from being approved. Vogel, who grew up on a farm in southwestern Minnesota, said he'd also like to reduce regulations and restrictions that negatively affect farmers.
Now that the endorsing convention is done, Vogel said he's preparing to hold community meetings and hit the summer parade route as he makes his first bid for a political office.
I'm pretty excited about what lies ahead," said Vogel, a Realtor and president of the West Central Association of Realtors.
The DFL from Senate District 13 will hold its convention March 14 in Belgrade. Delegates are expected to endorse Juhnke at that time, as well as candidates for the House 13A seat currently held by Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, and the Senate seat held by Joe Gimse, R-Willmar.