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Willmar, Minn., businesman will seek Senate seat in redrawn District 17

WILLMAR -- Willmar business owner Larry Rice announced Thursday that he's making another run for the state Senate, in the newly redrawn 17th District.

Rice, who ran unsuccessfully two years ago against Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, plans to seek the DFL endorsement at the Senate District 17 endorsing convention this spring.

His announcement comes one day after Rep. Lyle Koenen, D-Clara City, said he'll run for the Minnesota Senate in District 17.

Under the new redistricting map released last week, District 17 covers all of Kandiyohi, Chip-pewa and Swift counties and most of Renville County, putting several incumbent legislators in the same district.

Rice said his priorities are jobs, education, roads, health care and the development of strong communities. "My focus will be on these basics -- creating jobs and welcoming business, providing quality educational opportunities for children and adults, being a strong advocate of investments in quality transportation and communication infrastructure, and for ensuring accessible, affordable health care for our citizens," he said in a statement issued Thursday.

Rice has 35 years of experience as a business owner. He does specialty landscaping and custom design-and-build construction projects.

A lifelong resident of west central Minnesota, he grew up in Willmar in a family of six children, graduating from Willmar High School and attending Willmar Community College.

After living in the metro area, where he earned his bachelor's degree from Metropolitan State University, he and his wife, Cindy, returned to Willmar to be closer to family and start a business.

They have three grown children, two sons-in-law and one grandson.

Rice also holds a master's in business administration from the University of St. Thomas and a law degree from Hamline University School of Law.

He is a lifelong member of Calvary Lutheran Church in Willmar, where he served as a board member, congregation president and Sunday school teacher. He is a former board member and current member of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.

He also has been involved with a variety of other organizations, including currently serving on the Minnesota Workers Compensation Advisory Council.