Candidates make pitches at County DFL Convention

Say 2018 is important election year


NEW ULM — Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) candidates introduced themselves to delegates and spoke on a variety of issues at the Brown County DFL Convention held at the New Ulm Public Library Saturday.

“I’ll continue to advocate to keep farm families on farms,” said First District Congressional candidate Vicki Jensen of Owatonna. “I’ll continue to advocate for Highway 14 improvements too. I’ve driven on that road. New Ulm has such great economic opportunities, but it needs a four-lane road.”

She promoted health care for all and getting big money out of politics.

“This year will be one of the most important election years in your lifetime,” said Congressional candidate Rich Wright of Rochester. “What is going on in the White House with healthcare is crushing this district and state. I support Medicare for all. We have to do it immediately.”

He said promoting a living minimum wage is another issue that will help the DFL move in on red (Republican) districts this campaign.


Congressional candidate Dan Feehan said he completed two combat tours of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom, pursuing those threatening Americans and Iraqis. He earned the Bronze Star for Service, Army Commendation Medal with Valor, and the Ranger Tab.

Leaving the Army in 2009, he taught first graders on Chicago’s south side and taught middle school math in nearby Gary, Ind.

Feehan later served as an acting Assistant Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon during the Obama Administration.

“This is about patriotism. Pure and simple,” Feehan said. “I’m for universal healthcare, reforming immigration, addressing climate change, and keeping the President from getting us in another war.”

Peggy Flanagan, who is running for Lieutenant Governor with gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz, talked about the importance of entitlement programs.


“My mother filed for a Section 8 voucher for my family so we had a place to live when I was young,” said Flanagan, a Minnesota House of Representatives member, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, a mother and former executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota.

“I understand child care challenges and will fight for affordable and accessible child care,” Flanagan said.

State Auditor candidate Julie Blaha, a math teacher and Minnesota AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer, said Republicans want to eliminate the State Auditor position completely. She said the auditor oversees more than $20 billion in local resources with audits and investigations.

“I’ll fight for the public good over corporate profit,” Blaha said.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said his mission is to make it as easy as possible for all Minnesota voters to vote.


“I’m happy to talk about voter integrity, cyber security and the threat of outside intrusions on our elections,” Simon said. “The President said there were many illegal voters and created a commission to investigate it. That entity collapsed on itself.”

New Ulm native Mindy Kimmel said she’s building a grassroots campaign for the District 16B House seat held by Paul Torkelson of Hanska. A therapist and yoga teacher, Kimmel is getting noticed near and far. She was on the cover of Time magazine last month along with dozens of other women running for office. The magazine cover page headline read “The Avengers. First they marched. Now they’re running.”

“I want to be a voice for issues important to people here. I’m seeking input from people,” Kimmel said. “Affordable, high-quality, single-payer healthcare and Medicare for all, clean water and protecting the environment are some of the most important issues.”

Kimmel believes the negativity in the current politician system is ineffective and toxic. It should be replaced with positive change.

Brown County delegates to the State Convention are Jana Thormodson, Madelia; Elia Bruggeman, Sleepy Eye; Derek Tonn, Springfield and Lawrence Czer, New Ulm. Alternates are Jim Bodine, New Ulm; Darlene Nelson, Hanska; Arlene Stewart, Sigel Township; and Pat Lowther, Sleepy Eye.

Brown County DFL officials will whittle their resolution list down to 20 this week.