Brown Co. GOP endorses Torkelson

Resolutions call for removal of MnDOT ditch penalties


SPRINGFIELD — Brown County Republicans unanimously endorsed Rep. Paul Torkelson of rural Hanska for the Minnesota House District 16B seat at the Springfield American Legion Club March 24.

A fourth-generation farmer, former teacher and Chairman of the Transportation, Finance, Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committees, Torkelson was first elected in 2008, opting to run for the seat after incumbent Brad Finstad decided not to see re-election.

Torkelson called the Minnesota Licensing and Vehicle Registration System (MNLARS) “the millstone around my neck.”

“We just passed a bill to spend $10 million to get the program working,” Torkelson said. “A private vendor won’t be cheap either, but it may be an option we’ll have to consider.”

Torkelson said called the current legislative session a “short but busy one” with taxes among the more important issues.

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Mary Bartz, above, receives the Brown County Republican of the Year award from last year’s award winner Scott Waldner at the Brown County Republican Convention on Saturday in Springfield.

“I don’t agree with the Governor’s (Dayton’s) tax bill,” Torkelson said. “He’s trying to hit businesses hard, so I oppose it.”

He called the fall state election ballot “busy and very contested.”

“I’ll be campaigning hard,” Torkelson said. “It’s absolutely critical that we keep a Republican majority in the House. Thanks for your absolute dedication to the Republican party.”

Earlier at the convention, Mary Bartz of Sleepy Eye was named Brown County Republican of the Year for her outstanding service.

“Mary Bartz is a tireless worker,” said last year’s award-winner Scott Waldner of New Ulm. “Once she agrees to do something, you better hitch on or get out of the way because it’s going to happen. And she makes the best cookies.”

Approved Brown County Republican action agenda resolutions for 2018 are:

• Encouraging the federal government to return land enrolled by the Bureau of Land Management to the states wherein the land resides.

• Whereas most state highway ditch land is owned and maintained by adjacent landowners, therefore the temporary 2017 law banning the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) from taking action against landowners should be made permanent.

• Repealing Dayton’s Buffer Law, recognizing that the redetermination process already addresses the buffer requirement.

• Whereas the U.S. Constitution Amendment 5 says property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation, the public should be required to pay rent of the land whose use of Dayton’s Buffer Law takes away from landowners.

• Removing Pro-Sharia Law materials from public schools. Any Islamic contest should be objectively evaluated and created independently of Pro-Sharia Law special interest groups.

• Ensuring effective school administration to eliminate rather than reform teacher tenure.

• Provide a legislative appeals process for judicial complaints submitted to the Judicial Standards Board.

• Pass legislation establishing an appeals process for complaints dismissed by the Judicial Standards Board.

• Encouraging U.S. Congress to regulate federal courts that go beyond their jurisdictions by using Article 3, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

• The Minnesota Department of Agriculture eradicate all Palmar Amaranth infestation on state land, CRP, set aside, right-of-way, and cooperate with private property owners and operators to establish this action.

• Eliminate the Diversity Visa Lottery program.

• Maintain America’s military by not allowing transgender individuals to be recruited or for Department of Defense funds to be spent on gender reassignment surgery.

Congressional Delegates from District 1-Judy Hahn, Alt. Jim Lamecker. 2-Scott Waldner, Duane Schuur. 3-Kris Schneeberg, Samantha Schneeberg and Dan Borgwardt. 4-Greg Bartz, Mary Bartz. 5-Josh Anderson, Dave Curruthers.

CD 1 At-Large Delegates-Jim Hahn, Paul Torkelson, Mary Bartz, Jim Lamecker, Josh Wilkening, Beth Griffis, Steve Woidylla, John Nicholson, Dave Carruthers.

CD 1 At-Large Alternates-Myron Fluegge, Lee Firchau, Colleen Firchau, Samantha Schneeberg, Lori Wehrwein, Kevin Schneider, Dan Borgwardt, Nathaniel Mayhew.