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Juhnke announces re-election bid for 7th term

WILLMAR -- State Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, announced Wednesday the he will seek a seventh term to the Minnesota House of Representatives this fall.

Juhnke, who was first elected in 1996, represents District 13B, which includes all but three northern townships in Kandiyohi County.

Republicans in the district have endorsed Bonnie Wilhelm of Willmar to run for the seat. Wilhelm ran against Juhnke in 2004 and 2006.

The Senate District 13 DFL endorsing convention will be held at 6 p.m. on June 24 at Belgrade High School.

Juhnke is currently the chairman of the Agriculture, Rural Economies and Veterans Affairs Finance Committee, serves on the Fin-ance Committee, Bo-nding Committee and Rules and Legislative Administration Committee.

He is also co-chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee of the Midwestern Legislative Conference, a national committee which provides Midwestern states with a unified regional voice on key state and federal issues related to agriculture, energy and the environment.

Juhnke said it's a "real honor" to represent west central Minnesota and, "I want to use my seniority and experience to protect and enhance the quality of life here."

"We need strong, experienced voices at the Capitol on issues like rural economic development and equitable funding for our schools, roads and communities," said Juhnke in a press release announcing his re-election bid.

He vowed to continue to focus on education, health care, property taxes and jobs.

Locally, Juhnke has authored and passed a number of key initiatives over the past two years.

Five local projects were authorized in the 2008 Capital Investment Bill.

The projects included $7 million for the city of Willmar to design and construct a wastewater treatment facility, $800,000 continued work on the Grass Lake Restoration project, $3.5 million for Ridgewater College to design, construct, furnish, and equip new instructional space, a share of the $19 million allocation for state parks (Sibley State Park and Monson Lake State Parks were included) and provided $1.8 million for the Willmar Regional Airport.

Juhnke, a real estate appraiser by trade, lives north of Willmar in Dovre Township with his wife, Claire.

They have two children, Zach, who is being deployed to Iraq, and Shannon, who is a junior at the University of Minnesota-Morris.