GOP gubernatorial candidates call for less government

GILFILLAN ESTATES – Republicans Jeff Johnson, Scott Honour, Marty Seifert and Kurt Zellers and Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Hannah Nicollet agreed on the need for less government Tuesday at a Farmfest forum.

The four Republican candidates are running in the Aug. 12 primary for a chance to oppose incumbent Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton.

“I’m a businessman, not a politician. I’m for a free market and government getting out of the way instead of interfering with our economy,” Honour said regarding biofuels in agriculture. “Let the market foster growth and create the right balance.”

Johnson said he supported alternative fuel but not government mandates.

“A deal is a deal, I’ll stick with it,” said Zellers regarding Minnesota’s B10 standard.

(The B10 standard requires that diesel fuel have a 10 percent biodiesel blend during the warmer months.)

Seifert agreed with Zellers. Nicollet said she favored looking at different plants for better alternative fuel production.

All candidates agreed a blanket model, not individual state labels, were needed for genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). “I can’t support another law. People need to comply with those we have,” Nicollet said. “Get educated, eat organic instead of processed foods.”

Seifert said citizens are being servants to the government instead of the government serving the people. “The MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) is out of control,” Seifert said. “There are too many cooks in the kitchen. The government is micromanaging farmers out of business.”

Johnson said current state government has a “regulate and punish culture instead of minding its own damn business.”

“Government should be like a good referee,” Nicollet said. “The American Dream is very much in jeopardy due to big government that makes 40,000 new rules a year.”

Honour said a dairy farmer recently told him he was thinking of moving his herd to South Dakota to avoid regulations. “We need a customer service culture in government,” he said.

Zellers said the state departments should be an asset of agriculture instead of things like the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) shutting down wells needed for irrigation.

Regarding the shrinking number of agriculture courses in schools, Honour said public and private partnerships should be pursued to prepare students for agricultural careers.

Seifert said rural Minnesota students receiving $2,000 less in state funding than metro area students needs to be balanced out. He said property tax increases should be capped to inflation.

Today’s forum events include a Minnesota Farm Bureau pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., comments from University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler at 10 a.m., a U.S. Senate candidates forum from 10:30 to 11:50 a.m., congressional candidates forum from 1:15 to 2:45 p.m., and forums Big Data in Agriculture from 3 to 3:45 p.m. and Drone from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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