By Fritz Busch
SLEEPY EYE - Dist. 16B Rep. Paul Torkelson of Hanska thanked Brown County Republicans for endorsing him Saturday at the Brown County Convention at the Orchid Inn.
Rep. Paul Torkelson
"Thanks for your support and letting me know how you feel about issues when you so choose. I feel I have a great district and great support, Torkelson said. "I work hard, show up at meetings when I'm supposed to. My colleagues appreciated it, electing me as House Caucus leader."
Torkelson said he stays busy these days helping recruit Republican candidates in other parts of the state and fund-raising.
"I don't like it that it's money that drives the system, but it takes money to get the word out," he said. "We need to protect the most vulnerable including the unborn. I believe in limiting government and taxes."
Torkelson said he's baffled how long it is taking to decide the Polymet mining issue in northern Minnesota. "The permit process began in 2004. It's been 10 years and we still can't move it forward. Government should run at the speed of business. Instead, government gets in the way. I think it's time to take steps about this."
In November 2012, Torkelson was elected to a third term, receiving 56 percent, 11,230 of 20,022 ballots cast. Democrat James Kanne of Franklin received 32 percent, 6,467 votes and independent Jerry "Pike" Pagel of New Ulm received 2,303 votes, 12 percent.
Torkelson ran unopposed in the November 2010 election and returned to the Minnesota House to serve a a Republican Majority Caucus member. He was elected Assistant Majority Leader by his peers and was the chief author of more than 30 bills on a variety of issues including clean water and water regulation.
Torkelson earlier spoke in support of Clements native Marty Seifert for Minnesota governor. "He should have real strong, local support. He's a good, strong conservative. The smartest guy I know in Minnesota government," Torkelson said. "He's got lots of recent private sector experience, raising money for the Southwest State University Foundation the past few years."
Torkelson said Seifert is the type of person needed to deal with the highest property tax levy in state history, when Democrats took $2.4 billion in new taxes and fees last session.
Resolutions approved at the convention included:
Section 4 - Educate Our Children, supporting family and consumer science programs that teach nutrition and food preparation skills to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce the obesity rate.
Oppose the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools (anti-bullying) Act (HF 826), an unfunded $20 million annual mandate that would not require parents to be notified if disciplinary action is taken against their child; and will require schools to monitor even what children do at home.
Section 1 - Lower The Tax Burden On Businesses and Families, opposing business to business tax and the 10 percent gifting tax.
Section 9 - Make Government Smaller and Better, all (legislative) bills should be separate from each other with no "piggyback" bills. Each bill should be voted on separately and called as such.
Section 2 - Restore and Defend Rights, the Legislature and Governor enact more broad accommodations for the religious liberty and consciouses of individuals and businesses who refuse to solemnize, celebrate, or perpetuate same-sex marriage.
Section 7 - Strengthen the Rule of Law, supporting an Article V states convention as they may deem necessary, (when ratified by the Legislatures of three-fourths of states) to restore to the states and the people rights and liberties guaranteed in the Constitution.
Section 2 - Restore and Defend Civil Rights, urging the Minnesota Legislature to pass a ban on "webcam" abortions and pass legislation for abortion facility inspections.
Named state convention delegates in Commissioner District 1 (CD1), Lori Wehrwein; CD2 Scott Waldner, CD3 Kris Schneeberg, CD4 Greg Bartz; CD5 Daniel Olson; at-large delegates Jim Hahn, Josh Wilkening, Mary Bartz, Paul Torkelson, Lisa Buker, David Bellig, Jim Lamecker and Richard Wurtzberger.
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at email@example.com.