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Local businessman to run against Peterson in 7th District

WILLMAR -- Willmar business executive Lee Byberg announced plans Tuesday to run as the GOP candidate against Collin Peterson in Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District.

Byberg is vice president of operations at Life Science Innovations, the parent company of Willmar Poultry Co.

In a statement issued Tuesday, he said his business background and life experiences have qualified him to represent the 7th District in Washington, D.C.

"I believe that freedom and prosperity is at risk for my children and future generations. I am therefore running ag-ainst Collin Peterson for U.S. Congress and for a continuous bright future for District 7, Minnesota and these United States of America," he said.

Byberg, a native of Chicago, is the son of Norwegian citizens who were Christian missionaries in Brazil and Paraguay. He was raised in the two South American countries as well as in his parents' native Norway where his father was a pastor to churches in the Telemark and Rogaland regions.

He moved to Minnesota in 1982 to attend the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. He received an undergraduate degree in business administration in 1987 and completed a master's degree in business administration in 1990.

He joined Willmar Poultry Co. in 1996 as its director of planning and economics. In 2003 he became the company's general manager. Last year he was named to his current position with Life Science Innovations, the parent company of Willmar Poultry Co. and its affiliated companies, which include Epitopix and the MinnWest Technology Campus.

Byberg also held previous positions as a senior economics consultant for Phillips Petroleum Co. in Stavanger, Norway, and with the Coopers and Lybrand CPA firm in Minneapolis.

He is the co-founder as well of the Citizens Energy Plan, a Kandiyohi County grassroots initiative to pursue a national energy plan.

He and his wife, Nancy, have been married since 1989. His wife's grandfather, Roy Jensen, 100, is one of the oldest past members of the Minnesota Legislature, where he served as a Republican in the House of Representatives.

The Bybergs have three sons, ages 19, 17 and 15.