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Seventh District Republicans endorse Barrett for Congress

WILLMAR -- From "Roseau to Redwood Falls" illegal immigration is the top issue on voters minds throughout the 35 counties of Minnesota's 7th Congressional District, according to Michael Barrett.

The Long Prairie pharmacist was endorsed Saturday as the Republican congressional candidate on a unanimous ballot at the 7th District Republican Congressional Convention in Willmar. He is the only Republican seeking the seat.

The nearly 200 Republican delegates at the convention also presented Barrett with a $5,000 campaign check and the promise to raise $200,000 more to help him defeat long-time DFL incumbent Collin Peterson, from Detroit Lakes.

"Are you ready to take back the Seventh District?" Barret asked the delegates.

Barrett assured them there "is a difference between Republicans and Democrats" and a difference between himself and his opponent, especially when it comes to illegal immigration.

He said a nationwide work stoppage by immigrants that's planned for Monday won't be a bad thing.

"Everyday in America should be a day without illegal immigrants," Barrett told the delegates, to a round of applause.

He said his wife, Inga, is a legal immigrant who has learned English, assimilated to the community and "feels she needs to earn the right to be an American." That's in contrast, he said, to illegal immigrants who "wave foreign flags" and "make demands of us."

Barrett said Peterson "cares more about illegal immigrants" than he does for "law abiding citizens."

He castigated his opponent on a number of issues including Peterson's proposal for a national identification card to track illegal immigrants. Barrett said such a card could be used to track gun ownership that could allow the government to confiscate personal weapons from Americans. He said Peterson has "abandoned" gun owners and "spit in the face of the National Rifle Association."

Barrett said he would eliminate all tracking of guns, except for convicted felons.

He provided a glimpse of his stand on issues, including continued support of the war in Iraq, Homeland Security measures and "going where I need to go and doing what I need to do" to keep children and grandchildren safe.

He said American "liberties" should be preserved, "personal responsibilities" promoted and the government should protect citizens and not "run their lives."

He spoke about his success in moving the "pharmacists' conscience clause" through the legislative process. The clause would allow pharmacists to decline to fill prescriptions, like emergency contraception pills, that they disapprove of for moral or religious reasons

As someone who was adopted, Barrett said he wants to protect the sanctity of life. He said he "shudders" to think that if he had been conceived today he could have ended up "in a cold, unmarked dumpster behind some Planned Parenthood" facility.

"If you believe how I do, then Collin Peterson is not your friend," Barrett repeatedly intoned, like a mantra, after citing examples of his political and personal views.

He said Peterson "used to be pro-life" but he failed to vote on a bill to keep Terri Schiavo alive. The Florida woman, who in a persistent vegetative state, died after her feeding tube was removed.

"God will remember Collin Peterson for that," said Barrett.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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