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Mulder sees chance for 'new vision' for Minn.

WILLMAR -- Jim Mulder acknowledges he's not a politician. But the Renville native is hoping Minnesota voters will elect him as lieutenant governor and running mate Tom Horner as governor in this fall's general election.

Promoting his agenda
Jim Mulder, the Independence Party's candidate for Minnesota's lieutenant governor, addresses media Thursday during a stop in Willmar. "We think we have a great chance this fall,'' Mulder said in an interview at Willmar Public Library the day he was selected as Tom Horner's running mate. "We think the public is ready to test drive a couple of independent men who have never been elected. We're not politicians. We're people who care a lot about the state of Minnesota and solving the problems that our state...

WILLMAR -- Jim Mulder acknowledges he's not a politician. But the Renville native is hoping Minnesota voters will elect him as lieutenant governor and running mate Tom Horner as governor in this fall's general election.

Horner, the Independence Party-endorsed candidate for governor, announced on Tuesday his selection of Mulder as his choice for lieutenant governor.

"We think we have a great chance this fall,'' Mulder said in an interview Thursday in Willmar. "We think the public is ready to test drive a couple of independent men who have never been elected. We're not politicians. We're people who care a lot about the state of Minnesota and solving the problems that our state is facing.''

For the past 21 years, Mulder was executive director of the Association of Minnesota Counties, working not only as a voice for cities and counties at the Legislature, but acting as a resource for them "out here'' in rural Minnesota.

"Tom asked me to take that knowledge and that background and work with city and county officials. How can we revitalize our rural areas? If we can add a few jobs, if we can make the employment situation better ... we can make a difference here,'' Mulder said.

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As he travels the state, Mulder mentions the joint law enforcement dispatching effort done by Kandiyohi County for Big Stone County as a model for shared services and efficiencies.

"I think there's an opportunity to do that in so many other services,'' he said.

Mulder and his wife, Carmen, live in Roseville. She and Horner's son, Kevin, a field worker for his father's campaign, accompanied Mulder during the stop in Willmar.

Mulder said he and Horner believe there's an opportunity for new strategies and vision.

"What's been going on for the last number of years where it's on the left and on the right, it becomes this political battle that has not resolved the problems of our state,'' he said. "Too many times they've kicked them down the road thinking that somebody in the future will do it or hoping for some other thing to happen. They've pushed them onto local governments.''

Mulder said the state's budget problem needs to be solved.

"We need to have a state budget that's stable, that is predictable and one that we can count on over the years. To do that, it's not just a question of if you cut taxes or raise taxes. We need to reform taxes. Right now it's out of balance. We have too large a reliance on the property tax. We need to get new balance again,'' Mulder said.

"We're going to look at what counties do, what cities do, what the state responsibility is. We need to look at all of those things to figure out what's the best mix of taxes that can create that more stable system,'' he said.

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Mulder favors broadening the sales tax, hopefully reducing the rate a little bit, and discussing how counties can use the sales tax to help pay for services and take some pressure off the property tax. But he adds, "I want people to understand we're not going to raise taxes one more dollar than we need to.''

Also, he favors setting priorities for what the state can do.

He favors investment in education and in infrastructure, including broadband, high-speed Internet.

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