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Editorial: Al Juhnke is the best choice for Dist. 13B

Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, is seeking his eighth term in the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 13B.

House District 13B voters face the choice on Nov. 2 between Democratic incumbent Al Juhnke and Republican challenger Bruce Vogel.

It is a choice between the DFL candidate with experience and leadership record versus the GOP candidate who says he is a fast learner and hard worker. Juhnke is the better choice in this race.

This district lies entirely within Kandiyohi County, including the southern two-thirds of the county. The district includes Willmar and the towns of Atwater, Blomkest, Lake Lillian, New London, Spicer, Pennock, Prinsburg and Raymond.

District 13 has diverse interests and needs across the spectrum of city and rural issues. A primary need is growing our agricultural base along with developing value-added industries, such as turkey processing and bio-fuel production.

Vogel has life experience of growing up on a southwestern Minnesota family farm, working as a pastor and as a small-business owner in west central Minnesota. His primary goals are to reduce wasteful government spending, reduce corporate and small business taxes, promoting equitable funding between metro and non-metro schools.

He claims the district needs a change and a new perspective in St. Paul. While claiming a need for tax reduction, voter identification and welfare reform, he does not offer specifics as the scope of the problems or potential solutions to back up his call for change. Vogel has not sufficiently made a case for his election.

Juhnke, seeking re-election to his eighth term in the House, is an experienced legislator, who knows how to advance local issues in the Legislature. He understands the needs and issues of the district and west central Minnesota. He has championed renewable energy research and led efforts for previous and proposed funding for Ridgewater College's improvement proposal and the New London to Sibley Park trail proposal.

With the state facing a significant budget deficit that will need addressing in 2011, Juhnke says all options on are on the table. He will again offer a Racino bill as a possible state revenue option, which could help fund a Vikings stadium.

A longtime rural and agriculture advocate, Juhnke works at building coalitions and focusing policy to address those concerns. As chairperson of the House Agriculture, Rural Economies and Veterans Affairs Finance Division, he is currently working for adequate state funding for livestock investment grants as well as establishing a major dairy research center in west central Minnesota.

In his chairperson role, Juhnke has also worked hard in for legislation and projects in support of Minnesota veterans -- seeking to meet their education, mental and physical needs on a county-by-county basis. He has been successful twice in gaining House approval for a veterans' geriatric mental illness facility in Willmar.

Juhnke has consistently proven his ability to meet the needs of District 13B and address the issues of Minnesota. His experience, leadership and seniority are critical to this district.

The West Central Tribune endorses Juhnke for re-election Nov. 2.