On this regional public affairs program, MPR’s Terri Keefe provides a summary of state legislative and county office races in the Rochester and Winona areas. Program includes report and various interviews with candidates.
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
(00:00:00) There are three legislative districts that take in parts of Winona County one of these three District 35b involves. What is easily the most unusual house race in Southeastern Minnesota this year Al Weiser of the Crescent is the independent Republican incumbent in that rural District which includes Houston Fillmore and the Southeastern tip of Winona counties Weiser, maybe an independent Republican now, but he was first elected in 1974 as a dfl ER and he was re-elected by a three-to-one margin in 1976 under the majority party label, however halfway into his second term Weezer switched parties. He says he did so because he felt hypocritical being a dfl her when he disagreed with the majority party on almost all major issues taxes State spending gun control DNR land acquisition and School Aids. He says he simply became tired of voting with the Republican caucus (00:00:52) hangers only not only honest to myself but also to the people of the district that I present myself. In a manner that that best fits my voting record in my philosophy and and it was a matter of personal conscience and doing it. I could have took an easy way out and just continue as a member of the other party but I thought that was wrong. I think a person should be honest with himself and the people and the response that I'm receiving from. My change of political affiliation has been has been very good. (00:01:24) Do you find it ironic that your opponent worked on your campaign last time around? (00:01:28) Yes, I do because when I change political parties, I'd not change political philosophy. The point of the matter is that the Republican philosophy is much closer to my personal philosophy and and I find it difficult that that somebody who supported My Philosophy last time cannot support My Philosophy this time (00:01:52) Weezer's dfl Challenger is Nails gulbrandsen's a farmer who describes himself as a political moderate. I asked godwinson if he thinks Weezer's potterpaul. Peace which is a valid political (00:02:01) issue. I think that people are concerned about it. I have covered 28 tons of door-to-door and 14 towns and I have talked to probably five six seven thousand people. A lot of people are concerned about somebody who switches parties they feel that he has changed his whole philosophy and they felt that he really should have started out at the beginning of the campaign as a Republican and one is election on the Republican (00:02:35) ticket like his opponent. Go Branson has been talking about tax cuts other issues. He would make legislative priorities include the need for reduced State spending the effect of workers compensation on small businessmen and farmers and Aid to schools with declining enrollment as a legislator. I our candidate Al Weiser has pushed for tougher penalties on welfare fraud and stricter controls on state land acquisition for the door. Mmm. Mmm. Hardwood forest both Weiser and go Brinson Advocate a constitutional amendment limiting abortions District 34 a is the other rural Winona legislative district including parts of Winona Olmstead and Wabasha counties the candidates in that race are incumbent dfl her Richard Lemke a farmer from Lake City and independent Republican Warren stole a teacher from Lewiston observers. Say the race will probably be close. Even though Lemke is a veteran dfl incumbent seeking his fourth term. I our candidate Warren stole has been making confidence in government his major campaign theme if elected. He says he'll repeal legislators automatic per diem payments, which now amount to ninety six dollars per week stole is especially critical of lemke's votes last session on three bills, which affected legislator salaries (00:03:47) he voted for per diem increases he voted for the changes in the retirement which lowers the retirement to six years to qualify for it the only Bill of Three that he voted against was the actual salary increase and if we check his record closely even on that vote there were several amendments that were offered to that pay bill that he voted against for example, he voted against an amendment which would have required an actual itemizing of the per diem (00:04:22) payments. Well, he's part Lemke doesn't think his votes on the pay raise bills are hard to defend he feels that as a farmer. He's better qualified to represent his rural District than his opponent. (00:04:34) I felt that serving in the legislature when I'm in st. Paul. I have to hire help on the farm. And so I thought I was entitled to raise because it certainly cost money to live in st. Paul and also costs money to hire someone to take care of the cattle back on the farm. He is also mentioned that of the dowry Kris I did not vote for the salary increase because I publicly stated many times that I would support a cost of living increase but I think that the salary increase that we got is quite excessive and I did not vote for it. (00:05:15) Although a member of the House dfl Majority Lemke points out that he's been more conservative in his voting than many Republicans if re-elected Lemke says he would work for stricter control of DNR land acquisition and a repeal of taxes on farm machinery. The third legislative district in Winona County is District 34 be which includes the city of Winona. They are a first-term dfl. Our representative. Tom stoa is running against independent Republican Carlton fish both stoa and fish agree. Basically that income taxes should be lowered but disagree on the effect of Minnesota's tax structure on the state business climate Carlton fish argues, the standard Republican position that is high income and Corporation taxes have created an unfavorable business climate deal. Incumbent Tom stoic counters that the state's unemployment rate is lower than the national average and that the rate of new job openings is above nearly every other state in short. He defends what he calls a generally good business climate in Minnesota. The two candidates are also split on the issue of initiative and referendum fish thinks voters should have initiative and referendum Powers still opposes the concept and the candidates differ on the question of state aid to private schools Carlton fish got financial support from the local branch of the Minnesota Education Association fish opposes public aid for parochial schools. (00:06:34) He who pays the piper calls the tune. I really fear that if the state of Minnesota is going to forego Revenue in terms of giving credits or deductions or if they're going to directly appropriate money to private and parochial schools that naturally they're going to want an accounting of that money. They're going to want to know where that money is going only naturally. Well when that happens they're going to Able to get their foot in the door and be able to impose more and more standards and restrictions on parochial schools and parochial schools are going to lose their freedom and their diversity that I think is very important to them. And I don't think they want to give this up (00:07:15) Tom stoa is one of the few incumbent dfl legislators not to get mea support. I asked him. If you voted for a bill passed last session that provided state aid to private schools and also how he felt that issue has affected his campaign. (00:07:28) Yes. I did vote in favor of a bill which provided State support some State support for parochial education non-public education. And that was one of the key reasons why I didn't receive the mea endorsement do I think that'll hurt me a lot? No, I don't think so, especially in this District which has a great number of families with children in parochial schools. In fact, I suspect that issue and debate over it will help me quite a bit more. It will hurt me (00:08:00) representative. Stoa is a Winona State University graduate and former Merchant Marine. His opponent Carlton fish is a lawyer who served as an intern in research aid for the House minority caucus both our native Winona's turning next to the for house races in Olmsted County. All of them are considered quite predictable. Since Olmsted county is the largest Minnesota county that is voted consistently Republican. Even for Gerald Ford in 1976. It does not appear that this will change in 1978 County dear fellows have not filled it a strong candidate for any of the local House Seats. In fact two Republican incumbents have no opposition Ken's Ube assistant House minority leader has no dfl opponent in Rochester's District 33 be sube works for IBM and has served two terms in the legislature and in District 35 a I are in company Elton riddle and also lacks dfl opposition on the ballot Rhode Island does face a dfl challenger. However Cecil Nats a second year law. At the University of Minnesota is conducting a write-in campaign against Rollin. The incumbent is a Dairy Farmer from Fountain who was sent to the house in a special election last December. The district word all and represents includes parts of Mauer Fillmore and Olmstead counties in District 33 AI our incumbent dick Kaylee is running for his third term Kaylee is a 54 year old retired IBM Employee. His district takes in northern Rochester and Cascade Township opposing Kaylee is dfl early Mathis a 23 year old freelance writer and in District 32 bir incumbent Donald Friedrich and dfl or Darrell Miller are vying for the third time in the race for that house seat Friedrich is seeking his third term in office his dfl opponent did not seek party endorsement with a look at Winona and Olmsted County legislative races. I'm Terry Keefe in Rochester.