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Tribune 2016 Endorsements: Re-elect Koenen, Baker and Miller in District 17 legislative races

District 17 has three competitive races for seats in the Minnesota Legislature in 2016. Here are our Editorial Board's endorsements for the District 17 legislative races on Nov. 8. Senate 17: This race has incumbent Sen. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara Ci...

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  District 17 has three competitive races for seats in the Minnesota Legislature in 2016. Here are our Editorial Board's endorsements for the District 17 legislative races on Nov. 8.   Senate 17: This race has incumbent Sen. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, and challenger Andrew Lang, R-Olivia.   Koenen is a lifelong resident of Chippewa County. He works as a milk contract hauler and has also farmed with his family. He was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in a 2012 special election and re-elected in 2012, after serving a decade in the Minnesota House.
His legislative focus has been tax policy and agricultural issues. He believes a long-term, sustainable funding plan is needed for state transportation. He believes a state purchase is an Appleton prison solution. He is supportive of local government aid. He said light rail funding is necessary to gain urban support on the bonding bill.   Lang is a Willmar graduate, who is now living in Olivia. He works as a parks supervisor in Renville County. He is a commissioned officer in the Minnesota Army National Guard and has served two tours in Iraq.   He is rather inexperienced in the legislative process. He wants a long-term funding solution for transportation. He is concerned about local school levy impact on farmer property taxes. He opposes light rail investments. He wants a state purchase of the Appleton prison.   Both agree that the health insurance costs are running amok in Minnesota and hope to see a special session.   The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends Senate 17 voters re-elect Koenen.   House 17B: This race is a re-run of the 2014 race between Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, and former Rep. Mary Sawatzky, DFL-Willmar. Sawatzky defeated incumbent Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar, in 2012 and Baker defeated Sawatzky in 2014. Baker is a Willmar business owner and Sawatzky is a Willmar educator. This will be a close race between two quality candidates.   Both candidates want a long-term transportation plan for the state and believe filling the gaps on state Highway 23 should be a priority. Baker is reluctant to advocate for a gas tax until all other avenues have been considered, while Sawatzky believes a gas tax increase is necessary. Both candidates are critical of outside groups sending political mailings into the district. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2936498","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"200","title":"Rep. Dave Baker","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"155"}}]] Sawatzky criticizes Baker for the Legislature failing to get work completed during the past two regular sessions. Baker believes that good work was done in 2015 and 2016.   Baker says his priorities are fixing the health care cost crisis, being a small business voice and working ontransportation and broadband infrastructure. Sawatzky says long-term transportation funding, sufficient broadband and fixing the health insurance system are her priorities.   Baker has long demonstrated his leadership skills in Willmar and Kandiyohi County. He has stronger communication and has shown the ability necessary to work across party lines when needed.   The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends House 17B voters re-elect Baker.   House 17A: This race is a re-run of the 2012 and 2014 races between Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, and former Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock. Falk won re-election in 2012 and Miller won the 2014 race.   They are two less-than-desirable candidates, both of whom take extreme positions at times and don't always listen to others. Unfortunately, this campaign has become a personal battle between the two re-run candidates. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2936495","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"155","title":"Rep. Tim Miller","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"120"}}]] Falk too often becomes argumentative and antagonistic in his positions, to the point that he offends Republicans and DFLers. Miller is part of the far-right faction of the House GOP caucus, gets distracted by social issues too often and is not prone to compromise. We don't think either candidate can represent the district that well, but Miller is a better choice of the two.   The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends House 17A voters re-elect Miller.  District 17 has three competitive races for seats in the Minnesota Legislature in 2016. Here are our Editorial Board's endorsements for the District 17 legislative races on Nov. 8.   Senate 17: This race has incumbent Sen. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, and challenger Andrew Lang, R-Olivia.   Koenen is a lifelong resident of Chippewa County. He works as a milk contract hauler and has also farmed with his family. He was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in a 2012 special election and re-elected in 2012, after serving a decade in the Minnesota House. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2936492","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"155","title":"Sen Lyle Koenen","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"125"}}]] His legislative focus has been tax policy and agricultural issues. He believes a long-term, sustainable funding plan is needed for state transportation. He believes a state purchase is an Appleton prison solution. He is supportive of local government aid. He said light rail funding is necessary to gain urban support on the bonding bill.   Lang is a Willmar graduate, who is now living in Olivia. He works as a parks supervisor in Renville County. He is a commissioned officer in the Minnesota Army National Guard and has served two tours in Iraq.   He is rather inexperienced in the legislative process. He wants a long-term funding solution for transportation. He is concerned about local school levy impact on farmer property taxes. He opposes light rail investments. He wants a state purchase of the Appleton prison.   Both agree that the health insurance costs are running amok in Minnesota and hope to see a special session.   The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends Senate 17 voters re-elect Koenen.   House 17B: This race is a re-run of the 2014 race between Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, and former Rep. Mary Sawatzky, DFL-Willmar. Sawatzky defeated incumbent Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar, in 2012 and Baker defeated Sawatzky in 2014. Baker is a Willmar business owner and Sawatzky is a Willmar educator. This will be a close race between two quality candidates.   Both candidates want a long-term transportation plan for the state and believe filling the gaps on state Highway 23 should be a priority. Baker is reluctant to advocate for a gas tax until all other avenues have been considered, while Sawatzky believes a gas tax increase is necessary. Both candidates are critical of outside groups sending political mailings into the district.
Sawatzky criticizes Baker for the Legislature failing to get work completed during the past two regular sessions. Baker believes that good work was done in 2015 and 2016.   Baker says his priorities are fixing the health care cost crisis, being a small business voice and working ontransportation and broadband infrastructure. Sawatzky says long-term transportation funding, sufficient broadband and fixing the health insurance system are her priorities.   Baker has long demonstrated his leadership skills in Willmar and Kandiyohi County. He has stronger communication and has shown the ability necessary to work across party lines when needed.   The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends House 17B voters re-elect Baker.   House 17A: This race is a re-run of the 2012 and 2014 races between Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, and former Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock. Falk won re-election in 2012 and Miller won the 2014 race.   They are two less-than-desirable candidates, both of whom take extreme positions at times and don't always listen to others. Unfortunately, this campaign has become a personal battle between the two re-run candidates. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2936495","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"155","title":"Rep. Tim Miller","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"120"}}]] Falk too often becomes argumentative and antagonistic in his positions, to the point that he offends Republicans and DFLers. Miller is part of the far-right faction of the House GOP caucus, gets distracted by social issues too often and is not prone to compromise. We don't think either candidate can represent the district that well, but Miller is a better choice of the two.   The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends House 17A voters re-elect Miller.  District 17 has three competitive races for seats in the Minnesota Legislature in 2016. Here are our Editorial Board's endorsements for the District 17 legislative races on Nov. 8.   Senate 17: This race has incumbent Sen. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, and challenger Andrew Lang, R-Olivia.   Koenen is a lifelong resident of Chippewa County. He works as a milk contract hauler and has also farmed with his family. He was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in a 2012 special election and re-elected in 2012, after serving a decade in the Minnesota House. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2936492","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"155","title":"Sen Lyle Koenen","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"125"}}]] His legislative focus has been tax policy and agricultural issues. He believes a long-term, sustainable funding plan is needed for state transportation. He believes a state purchase is an Appleton prison solution. He is supportive of local government aid. He said light rail funding is necessary to gain urban support on the bonding bill.   Lang is a Willmar graduate, who is now living in Olivia. He works as a parks supervisor in Renville County. He is a commissioned officer in the Minnesota Army National Guard and has served two tours in Iraq.   He is rather inexperienced in the legislative process. He wants a long-term funding solution for transportation. He is concerned about local school levy impact on farmer property taxes. He opposes light rail investments. He wants a state purchase of the Appleton prison.   Both agree that the health insurance costs are running amok in Minnesota and hope to see a special session.   The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends Senate 17 voters re-elect Koenen.   House 17B: This race is a re-run of the 2014 race between Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, and former Rep. Mary Sawatzky, DFL-Willmar. Sawatzky defeated incumbent Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar, in 2012 and Baker defeated Sawatzky in 2014. Baker is a Willmar business owner and Sawatzky is a Willmar educator. This will be a close race between two quality candidates.   Both candidates want a long-term transportation plan for the state and believe filling the gaps on state Highway 23 should be a priority. Baker is reluctant to advocate for a gas tax until all other avenues have been considered, while Sawatzky believes a gas tax increase is necessary. Both candidates are critical of outside groups sending political mailings into the district. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2936498","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"200","title":"Rep. Dave Baker","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"155"}}]] Sawatzky criticizes Baker for the Legislature failing to get work completed during the past two regular sessions. Baker believes that good work was done in 2015 and 2016.   Baker says his priorities are fixing the health care cost crisis, being a small business voice and working ontransportation and broadband infrastructure. Sawatzky says long-term transportation funding, sufficient broadband and fixing the health insurance system are her priorities.   Baker has long demonstrated his leadership skills in Willmar and Kandiyohi County. He has stronger communication and has shown the ability necessary to work across party lines when needed.   The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends House 17B voters re-elect Baker.   House 17A: This race is a re-run of the 2012 and 2014 races between Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, and former Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock. Falk won re-election in 2012 and Miller won the 2014 race.   They are two less-than-desirable candidates, both of whom take extreme positions at times and don't always listen to others. Unfortunately, this campaign has become a personal battle between the two re-run candidates.
Falk too often becomes argumentative and antagonistic in his positions, to the point that he offends Republicans and DFLers. Miller is part of the far-right faction of the House GOP caucus, gets distracted by social issues too often and is not prone to compromise. We don't think either candidate can represent the district that well, but Miller is a better choice of the two.   The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends House 17A voters re-elect Miller. District 17 has three competitive races for seats in the Minnesota Legislature in 2016.Here are our Editorial Board's endorsements for the District 17 legislative races on Nov. 8. Senate 17: This race has incumbent Sen. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, and challenger Andrew Lang, R-Olivia. Koenen is a lifelong resident of Chippewa County. He works as a milk contract hauler and has also farmed with his family. He was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in a 2012 special election and re-elected in 2012, after serving a decade in the Minnesota House.
His legislative focus has been tax policy and agricultural issues. He believes a long-term, sustainable funding plan is needed for state transportation. He believes a state purchase is an Appleton prison solution. He is supportive of local government aid. He said light rail funding is necessary to gain urban support on the bonding bill. Lang is a Willmar graduate, who is now living in Olivia. He works as a parks supervisor in Renville County. He is a commissioned officer in the Minnesota Army National Guard and has served two tours in Iraq. He is rather inexperienced in the legislative process. He wants a long-term funding solution for transportation. He is concerned about local school levy impact on farmer property taxes. He opposes light rail investments. He wants a state purchase of the Appleton prison. Both agree that the health insurance costs are running amok in Minnesota and hope to see a special session. The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends Senate 17 voters re-elect Koenen. House 17B: This race is a re-run of the 2014 race between Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, and former Rep. Mary Sawatzky, DFL-Willmar. Sawatzky defeated incumbent Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar, in 2012 and Baker defeated Sawatzky in 2014. Baker is a Willmar business owner and Sawatzky is a Willmar educator. This will be a close race between two quality candidates. Both candidates want a long-term transportation plan for the state and believe filling the gaps on state Highway 23 should be a priority. Baker is reluctant to advocate for a gas tax until all other avenues have been considered, while Sawatzky believes a gas tax increase is necessary. Both candidates are critical of outside groups sending political mailings into the district.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2936498","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"200","title":"Rep. Dave Baker","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"155"}}]]Sawatzky criticizes Baker for the Legislature failing to get work completed during the past two regular sessions. Baker believes that good work was done in 2015 and 2016. Baker says his priorities are fixing the health care cost crisis, being a small business voice and working ontransportation and broadband infrastructure. Sawatzky says long-term transportation funding, sufficient broadband and fixing the health insurance system are her priorities. Baker has long demonstrated his leadership skills in Willmar and Kandiyohi County. He has stronger communication and has shown the ability necessary to work across party lines when needed. The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends House 17B voters re-elect Baker. House 17A: This race is a re-run of the 2012 and 2014 races between Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, and former Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock. Falk won re-election in 2012 and Miller won the 2014 race. They are two less-than-desirable candidates, both of whom take extreme positions at times and don't always listen to others. Unfortunately, this campaign has become a personal battle between the two re-run candidates.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2936495","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"155","title":"Rep. Tim Miller","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"120"}}]]Falk too often becomes argumentative and antagonistic in his positions, to the point that he offends Republicans and DFLers. Miller is part of the far-right faction of the House GOP caucus, gets distracted by social issues too often and is not prone to compromise. We don't think either candidate can represent the district that well, but Miller is a better choice of the two. The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends House 17A voters re-elect Miller. District 17 has three competitive races for seats in the Minnesota Legislature in 2016.Here are our Editorial Board's endorsements for the District 17 legislative races on Nov. 8. Senate 17: This race has incumbent Sen. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, and challenger Andrew Lang, R-Olivia. Koenen is a lifelong resident of Chippewa County. He works as a milk contract hauler and has also farmed with his family. He was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in a 2012 special election and re-elected in 2012, after serving a decade in the Minnesota House.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2936492","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"155","title":"Sen Lyle Koenen","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"125"}}]]His legislative focus has been tax policy and agricultural issues. He believes a long-term, sustainable funding plan is needed for state transportation. He believes a state purchase is an Appleton prison solution. He is supportive of local government aid. He said light rail funding is necessary to gain urban support on the bonding bill. Lang is a Willmar graduate, who is now living in Olivia. He works as a parks supervisor in Renville County. He is a commissioned officer in the Minnesota Army National Guard and has served two tours in Iraq. He is rather inexperienced in the legislative process. He wants a long-term funding solution for transportation. He is concerned about local school levy impact on farmer property taxes. He opposes light rail investments. He wants a state purchase of the Appleton prison. Both agree that the health insurance costs are running amok in Minnesota and hope to see a special session. The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends Senate 17 voters re-elect Koenen. House 17B: This race is a re-run of the 2014 race between Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, and former Rep. Mary Sawatzky, DFL-Willmar. Sawatzky defeated incumbent Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar, in 2012 and Baker defeated Sawatzky in 2014. Baker is a Willmar business owner and Sawatzky is a Willmar educator. This will be a close race between two quality candidates. Both candidates want a long-term transportation plan for the state and believe filling the gaps on state Highway 23 should be a priority. Baker is reluctant to advocate for a gas tax until all other avenues have been considered, while Sawatzky believes a gas tax increase is necessary. Both candidates are critical of outside groups sending political mailings into the district.
Sawatzky criticizes Baker for the Legislature failing to get work completed during the past two regular sessions. Baker believes that good work was done in 2015 and 2016. Baker says his priorities are fixing the health care cost crisis, being a small business voice and working ontransportation and broadband infrastructure. Sawatzky says long-term transportation funding, sufficient broadband and fixing the health insurance system are her priorities. Baker has long demonstrated his leadership skills in Willmar and Kandiyohi County. He has stronger communication and has shown the ability necessary to work across party lines when needed. The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends House 17B voters re-elect Baker. House 17A: This race is a re-run of the 2012 and 2014 races between Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, and former Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock. Falk won re-election in 2012 and Miller won the 2014 race. They are two less-than-desirable candidates, both of whom take extreme positions at times and don't always listen to others. Unfortunately, this campaign has become a personal battle between the two re-run candidates.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2936495","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"155","title":"Rep. Tim Miller","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"120"}}]]Falk too often becomes argumentative and antagonistic in his positions, to the point that he offends Republicans and DFLers. Miller is part of the far-right faction of the House GOP caucus, gets distracted by social issues too often and is not prone to compromise. We don't think either candidate can represent the district that well, but Miller is a better choice of the two. The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends House 17A voters re-elect Miller. District 17 has three competitive races for seats in the Minnesota Legislature in 2016.Here are our Editorial Board's endorsements for the District 17 legislative races on Nov. 8. Senate 17: This race has incumbent Sen. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, and challenger Andrew Lang, R-Olivia. Koenen is a lifelong resident of Chippewa County. He works as a milk contract hauler and has also farmed with his family. He was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in a 2012 special election and re-elected in 2012, after serving a decade in the Minnesota House.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2936492","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"155","title":"Sen Lyle Koenen","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"125"}}]]His legislative focus has been tax policy and agricultural issues. He believes a long-term, sustainable funding plan is needed for state transportation. He believes a state purchase is an Appleton prison solution. He is supportive of local government aid. He said light rail funding is necessary to gain urban support on the bonding bill. Lang is a Willmar graduate, who is now living in Olivia. He works as a parks supervisor in Renville County. He is a commissioned officer in the Minnesota Army National Guard and has served two tours in Iraq. He is rather inexperienced in the legislative process. He wants a long-term funding solution for transportation. He is concerned about local school levy impact on farmer property taxes. He opposes light rail investments. He wants a state purchase of the Appleton prison. Both agree that the health insurance costs are running amok in Minnesota and hope to see a special session. The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends Senate 17 voters re-elect Koenen. House 17B: This race is a re-run of the 2014 race between Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, and former Rep. Mary Sawatzky, DFL-Willmar. Sawatzky defeated incumbent Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar, in 2012 and Baker defeated Sawatzky in 2014. Baker is a Willmar business owner and Sawatzky is a Willmar educator. This will be a close race between two quality candidates. Both candidates want a long-term transportation plan for the state and believe filling the gaps on state Highway 23 should be a priority. Baker is reluctant to advocate for a gas tax until all other avenues have been considered, while Sawatzky believes a gas tax increase is necessary. Both candidates are critical of outside groups sending political mailings into the district.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2936498","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"200","title":"Rep. Dave Baker","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"155"}}]]Sawatzky criticizes Baker for the Legislature failing to get work completed during the past two regular sessions. Baker believes that good work was done in 2015 and 2016. Baker says his priorities are fixing the health care cost crisis, being a small business voice and working ontransportation and broadband infrastructure. Sawatzky says long-term transportation funding, sufficient broadband and fixing the health insurance system are her priorities. Baker has long demonstrated his leadership skills in Willmar and Kandiyohi County. He has stronger communication and has shown the ability necessary to work across party lines when needed. The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends House 17B voters re-elect Baker. House 17A: This race is a re-run of the 2012 and 2014 races between Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, and former Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock. Falk won re-election in 2012 and Miller won the 2014 race. They are two less-than-desirable candidates, both of whom take extreme positions at times and don't always listen to others. Unfortunately, this campaign has become a personal battle between the two re-run candidates.
Falk too often becomes argumentative and antagonistic in his positions, to the point that he offends Republicans and DFLers. Miller is part of the far-right faction of the House GOP caucus, gets distracted by social issues too often and is not prone to compromise. We don't think either candidate can represent the district that well, but Miller is a better choice of the two. The West Central Tribune Editorial Board recommends House 17A voters re-elect Miller.

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