VanBinsbergen eager to provide leadership

MONTEVIDEO -- Scott VanBinsbergen and his father, Gene, joined as business partners in 1996 and now oversee companies employing 140 people in the Montevideo area.

MONTEVIDEO -- Scott VanBinsbergen and his father, Gene, joined as business partners in 1996 and now oversee companies employing 140 people in the Montevideo area.

Candidate Scott VanBinsbergen credits their success to being smart enough to "hire good people.''

Being surrounded by talent isn't hurting his campaign to unseat Lyle Koenen for the Minnesota District 20B House seat, either. Former Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and House Majority Leader Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, were among those who joined for a recent campaign event in Renville County to support him.

It's no secret that the state's Republican Party views VanBinsbergen, who will turn 36 on Election Day, as an up and coming leader. Along with his business success, VanBinsbergen offers experience in public affairs.

After graduating from college, VanBinsbergen took on roles in Washington, D.C., working first for Congressman Vin Weber and later for Boschwitz. He returned home to join his father in business and Southwest Minnesota Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004.


VanBinsbergen ran unsuccessfully against Doug Peterson for a House seat in 1994. VanBinsbergen said he learned from that experience and is campaigning harder this time around. He's maintained an aggressive campaign that's gone beyond the requisite door knocking. In hopes of capturing attention, he walked 40 miles in two days along U.S. Highway 212 from Buffalo Lake to Montevideo, where a caravan welcomed him to town.

"We need to see action, we can't stand still,'' said VanBinsbergen of his desire to represent the area. "Someone has to beat the drum for this area.''

He repeats his campaign themes like a steady drum beat too. At every opportunity, he makes leadership and support for a "citizen legislature'' his topics.

VanBinsbergen charges that the incumbent has not stood up for the rural area or forged the relationships in St. Paul to develop the clout needed to be effective.

"Number one is we have to have a strong leader willing to speak up for the people in this region,'' he said.

He wants voters to know that he is a leader who would "make things happen for this area.''

VanBinsbergen said that while his Republican credentials are well known, he wants voters to know him as someone who can work with people on both sides of the aisle.

He said voters tell him that the rural area is up against the seven county metro area in the Legislature, and he agrees. VanBinsbergen said rural legislators of both parties need to work together, but it will take more than that to accomplish things in the Legislature.


He said he can also work with the suburban legislators who wield increasing power in the Legislature.

He would work most of all for jobs.'' "We need jobs and some good jobs,'' he said.

VanBinsbergen said getting jobs and growth will require putting together all of the pieces.

He supports the current JOBZ program, but said that economic development will also require building a better transportation system in the rural area and supporting quality education. He also supports the development of trails in the region and other opportunities to enhance the quality of life and attract visitors.

He also believes rural areas must do more to tap its human capital as well. As a legislator, he'd like to bring entrepreneurs in the area together to develop strategies for economic growth.

He sees opportunities for rural growth, especially in agriculture. He'd like to continue to encourage the development of ethanol and other, renewable energy.

He also believes small business owners and workers need help with rising health care costs. He argues for ending what he calls discriminatory tax policy towards the uninsured and self-employed; he'd make the total cost of health care insurance fully tax deductible. He also argues for incentives to attract health care providers to rural areas.

He argues that the rural district will see growth if it works and fights hard, and has a leader willing to speak up for its needs.


"The bottom line out here, is we have to figure out a way to get jobs in this area,'' said VanBinsbergen. He said his business experience proves he knows how to create jobs, and wants the opportunity to go to St. Paul and make things happen for the district.

What To Read Next
Get Local