Shuck says he will 'hit the ground running' if he's elected
SUNBURG -- Bruce Shuck knows where the back roads and the churches are in District 13A, which sprawls across Pope, western Stearns and northern Kandiyohi counties.
This is the fourth year that Shuck has traveled those roads to shake hands with voters and to attend numerous church dinners in his campaign for a seat in the House of Representatives.
Shuck, a DFL'er from rural Sunburg, lost the past three elections but said he's optimistic his name recognition and history with voters will help him win this year.
The difference this time around is that Shuck is no longer running against Rep. Bud Heidgerken. The well-known Republican is retiring this year.
"Because he was such a popular candidate, he had a lot of support and I felt this election, because of his retiring, I've gained a lot of his supporters to come my way," said Shuck. "I've been around as long as Bud, I just haven't been elected."
That dogged determination to run four election campaigns should tell voters that "I am not a quitter. I am a fighter," Shuck said.
"I have not given up in my campaign," he said. "And I won't quit for them (District 13A residents) when I'm in St. Paul."
Shuck said the race between him and his opponent, Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, will be close, but he's hopeful his past campaigns will give him the edge now that Heidgerken is no longer involved.
If elected, Shuck said his top priority issues include stimulating the state's economy. He said promoting alternative energy could help Minnesota become a "key manufacturing state" for energy equipment. A lifelong farmer, Shuck said continued international marketing of Minnesota's ag products is crucial to keeping markets strong.
He said equity in education, so that students in Minnewaska have the same funding base as students in St. Louis Park, needs to be tackled, as well as containing the cost of health care.
With an anticipated state budget shortfall, Shuck said the Legislature should consider a mix of budget cuts and "revenue raisers" but is hopeful education and health care will not be the target of cuts.
He said there are current "high-ranking government appointees" that are expensive duplications that can be eliminated to reduce the budget.
Shuck also favors a proposal that had been presented by former Willmar Senator Dean Johnson to place a 10 percent surcharge on married couples who earn $250,000 on joint tax returns, which he said would generate $800 million in a biennium.
When it comes to transportation, Shuck said the new gas tax is not generating as much new revenue as expected, and some projects may have to be delayed or bonding will be necessary.
A U.S. military veteran, Shuck said he is pro-military, pro-gun and pro-life and would be a "mainstream thinker" for District 13A. The pro-life stance is especially important in a district that traditionally supports conservative views.
Shuck, who calls himself a "Democrat for life," said he believes abortion should be illegal except to save the life of the mother.
Shuck touts his eight years of experience on the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners as an asset he would bring to the job of state representative. Being a commissioner put him in the middle of issues involving state and federal agencies, like transportation, watersheds and housing, and took him to Washington, D.C., for meetings, he said.
"I know and understand how many of these things work," he said.
Shuck said he is "not someone who's green on the issues" and would "hit the ground running" when he got to the Capitol.