Come November, Democratic 16A House candidate Al Kruse and Senate District 16 candidate James Kanne are asking southwest Minnesota residents to invest in the future when casting votes during the upcoming election.

Come November, Democratic 16A House candidate Al Kruse and Senate District 16 candidate James Kanne are asking southwest Minnesota residents to invest in the future when casting votes during the upcoming election.

“Politics is not about the past, politics are about the future,” said Kanne. “Right now we face a situation with a split government, where the House is controlled by Republicans and the Senate by Democrats. And because of huge policy differences, unless you see a unified government you’re not going to get very much done.”

Kanne and Kruse recently stopped by Granite Falls where MVTV Wireless President Dan Richter served as a liaison for meetings with Mayor Dave Smiglewski and Yellow Medicine County Administrator Peg Heglund. The candidates hoped the discussions would serve to keep them abreast of concerns and opportunities that they might respectively address and serve should residents elect them as their representatives.
Kruse is a lifelong southwest Minnesota resident and Southern Minnesota State University alum who made his living through farm machinery and insurance sales as well as investments. Kanne is a 6th generation dairy farmer who resides near Redwood Falls.

Kruse is running for his fourth time in House District 16A where he hopes to unseat third-term Republican Chris Swedzinski while Kanne is running in his third consecutive election, though for the first time in the Senate, District 16, where he hopes to unseat two-term Republican Senator Gary Dahms.

It is the belief of Kanne and Kruse that the past few years of Republican representation has made evident the ineffectiveness of the present leadership.

“I dug out some of the campaign literature from four to six years ago and the issues are the same. Nothing has been done to address transportation, healthcare or education. And it’s time we do something,” said Kruse. “The one role Republicans have played, and they seem to fill it very well right now is to be obstructionist. We saw it very well displayed this last legislative session where they did little or nothing.”

According to Kanne, present Republican initiatives seek to remove dollars from the General Fund that would serve to draw down resources that local communities are dependent upon such as Local Government Aid (LGA).

“Starving out the General Fund like that would cause cuts to so many other areas. The General Fund needs to finance things like LGA, which support our disability community. Caregiver employment is down by nine percent because we’re not paying people enough to do the work and keep them in our area,” he said.

Kruse said that plans to take $600 to $700 million from the General Fund and allocate it to roads would strain local budgets now while pushing burdens on future generations.

“Transportation needs to stand on its own two feet. But we can’t get a gas tax passed because they signed the Grover Norquist pledge not to vote for any taxes,” Kruse said. “I have a strong Republican friend I went to college with who asked me: Why don’t they pass a gas tax? I said Doug, it’s like this, they signed that pledge and they won’t vote for it. The won’t vote for anything. They’ve backed themselves into a corner that they can’t see any way out of.”

While Republican agendas may seem desirable  in the immediate term, Kruse and Kanne, both agree that if that rural Minnesota takes a short-sighted approach wherein it stops investing in itself then major problems will arise in the future.

“If you look at everything with fear and doom and gloom then you freeze yourself up,” said Kanne.

“In our rural areas we’ve been living off the same inventory of people the last 50 years. Our small towns have died, our big towns have been hollowed out and our farms consolidated to a point where we need to have a renewal of our rural Minnesota where we do things to bring people out here.”

Added Kruse, “Investing in education, good roads, health care and broadband––they all lead us in that direction.”