ST. PETER - Two more candidates are poised to enter the race for the vacant Minnesota House 19A seat, which came up for grabs with Rep. Terry Morrow's (DFL-St. Peter) resignation earlier this month.
Pork producers advocate and farmer Karl Johnson will announce his candidacy Wednesday. He will seek the DFL endorsement.
Jeff Thom, founder and CEO of the food ingredient manufacturer All American Foods in Mankato, is seeking the Independence Party's endorsement in the race.
Johnson has worked on his family farm outside North Mankato his whole life, working more recently in partnership with his brother. Portions of the farm have been in the family for more than 100 years and other acreage since 1948.
Johnson is a former president for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the Minnesota Porker Producers Association and the Nicollet County Pork Producers Association. While with the NPPC, he worked on the North American Free Trade Agreement and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT.) He was inducted the NPPC's Hall of Fame in 2006. He served as chairman of U.S. Meat Export Federation and helped establish Pork PAC, the NPPC political action committee. Johnson participated in Gov. Mark Dayton's trade delegation to China last June as a representative of Minnesota Pork Producers Association.
Johnson's platform will focus on solving the remaining state budget deficit and working on major legislation to bring property taxes under control. He said he will also work on moving the four-lane expansion of Highway 14 forward. He said that since he lives half a mile off the roadway, he constantly must deal with its dangerous issues. He would also address other issues like paying back the state's school funding shift.
"It's been very good in this state all the years we been here [on the farm]. I want to make sure it's left that way for my grandchildren and those that come after us," said Johnson.
This is his first time running for elected office.
Jeff Thom is founder and CEO of the food ingredient manufacturer All American Foods in Mankato. He announced he is considering a run for the seat late Sunday night and that he would seek the Independence Party's endorsement.
"I have been asked by several people to consider running and since we desperately need independent representatives that can come together, unlike this state's traditional parties have been able to do, I feel a potential run deserves my serious consideration, and I expect to make my decision in the near future," said Thom in his statement.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org