Editorial: Baker is the better choice in Dist. 17B
Voters in Minnesota House District 17B face a choice between two civic-minded leaders -- DFL incumbent Mary Sawatzky of Willmar, and Republican challenger Dave Baker of Willmar.
Voters in Minnesota House District 17B face a choice between two civic-minded leaders - DFL incumbent Mary Sawatzky of Willmar, and Republican challenger Dave Baker of Willmar.
The DFL is working hard to re-elect first-termer Sawatzky while Republicans believe Baker gives them a good chance to oust the incumbent. This race is among the most competitive House races this year with both candidates running strong campaigns and a renewed focus by both parties as well as outside political action committees.
Sawatzky is seeking her second term after being elected in 2012 in a three-way race, beating Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar, and Zack Liebl, IP-Willmar. She believes she and the DFL majority have been moving the state forward by investing in Minnesota’s future through more funding for all-day kindergarten, increased funding for K-12, paying back the IOUs to public schools and a college tuition freeze. She believes her legislative efforts helped grow the economy and balance the state budget. A native of Granite Falls, she is a longtime educator in Willmar. She also has a long record of involvement through civic organizing - from amateur baseball to Relay for Life. She is a hard-working legislator in her first term, often in step with her DFL caucus, except for being one of two DFLers to vote against a bill to legalize gay marriages.
Baker is seeking his first political office following a long record of civic and municipal involvement and leadership. A Willmar business owner, he has managed or owned various businesses in Willmar and Spicer for 23 years. His leadership includes serving on the board and as president of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and International Falls Chamber of Commerce organizations, president of the Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission and as president-elect of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. He was instrumental in the iCardinal Campaign to bring Apple iPad tablets to Willmar Public Schools. He has also served in leadership positions for numerous Willmar and Spicer organizations. Calling himself a fiscal conservative and moderate Republican, he has declined to sign a no-new-taxes pledge.
Baker has long demonstrated his leadership in small towns to mid-size communities to statewide organizations. He has the ability to work with both sides of the political aisle and has displayed stronger communications skills in person and in front of groups. He has a strong background in the needs of Willmar and Kandiyohi County. He would also be a strong advocate for business in the Legislature.
The West Central Tribune endorses Dave Baker for election to the House 17B seat on Nov. 4.