Anderson seeks to oust Smith in Senate race


NEW ULM — Bob Anderson figures he’s a natural to be elected to the U.S. Senate. He has no experience in public office, outside of an unsuccessful run for Congress as an independent in the 6th District. He’s had 42 years experience working in the private sector, half of that time as an employee of his father, half of it as owner of the family business, Anderson Dental Studio.

If people voted for political outsider and businessman Donald Trump, he figures why not Anderson?

Anderson got his first interest in politics about 15 years ago, when Paul Wellstone was the U.S. senator from Minnesota, fighting for a mental health parity bill in Congress.

“I’m a big mental health advocate, and that’s what got me into politics, back when Paul Wellstone was in the Senate. I wasn’t a big supporter of Paul Wellstone, but I appreciated his passion and energy and truthfulness.”

“I had suffered from depression myself,” said Anderson. “I was able to get treatment because we offered good insurance for our employees and ourselves. It made such a difference in my life, and I wanted to pay it back. So I started volunteering at a suicide prevention organization, and I found out about the parity bill. It had been in Congress for 12 years and just wouldn’t come up for a vote.”

Anderson said he realized that’s what happens when the power of the party is more important than doing good for people, in politics. He wanted to raise awareness, so he started a mental health issues program on public access television. He learned a lot about the issue, and was able to testify on the bill, which finally passed as part of the TARP, the financial bailout bill in the beginning of the Obama administration.

Anderson then decided he would run for Congress in the conservative 6th District.

“I was an independent, a common sense conservative I called myself, and I fit the district. I didn’t win but I got a lot of votes and I learned an awful lot.”

As a “common sense” conservative, Anderson said he is a pro-life Catholic who believes in limited government. Government should give people the freedom to succeed.

He believes in creating jobs in the United States, and encourages young people to go into trades, to make things for a living. He himself has worked in the dental lab his father started, making dentures and false teeth.

Anderson said he wants to go to the U.S. Senate to serve, not to make a career for himself. He said he has three principles that he thinks set him apart. He would not accept a government pension. He thinks private insurance premiums are too high, and that congressmen and women should not get the gold-plated insurance package they currently get, but should go out on the private market to feel the kind of pain the rest of the taxpayers and voter feel.

And he believes in term limits. He said he would not run for more than two terms — but since he’s running to fill the final two years of Al Franken’s term, he’s not sure if that should be two full terms or not.

“I think the first two years would be a chance for me to prove that I’ll do what I said I would do.”

Anderson admires President Trump, who he said is a straight talker, who is gaining respect and strength for America again and working in the best interests of America.