Yanisch riding on Penny’s coattails

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 8, 2000

Former Congressman Tim Penny supports U.

Tuesday, August 08, 2000

Former Congressman Tim Penny supports U.S. Senate candidate Rebecca Yanisch because she "understands the totality of Minnesota: rural and urban."

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Clayton and Lorene Ingvalson support Yanisch because Tim Penny supports her.

"If Penny supports her, we will," Clayton Ingvalson said after a roundtable meeting with Yanisch at the Mower County Senior Center on Monday. "She has to have a lot of good points, good thinking and good planning if Tim’s behind her."

The Ingvalsons weren’t the only ones who felt that way about the woman Penny said is most likely to be sitting in incumbent Sen. Rod Grams’ seat in the new year.

"I’m so glad since you’re not running, that you’re the co-chair of Rebecca’s campaign," long-time Austin activist Ruth Rasmussen said to Penny. "It’s the next-best thing."

Penny introduced Yanisch to the group of citizens who came to the center to talk health care with the candidate and to see Penny.

"Rebecca grew up on a farm, and has lived and worked in the Twin Cities area for more than 20 years," Penny said. "She knows the difference – from personal experience – between the role of the public and private sectors. She also brought diverse groups of constituents together as head of the economic development agency in Minneapolis … I support her because I think she has all the leadership traits you want in Washington, D.C."

The stop in Austin Monday was part of a day of talks with voters in outstate Minnesota. The self-made businesswoman, who worked for years as a financial consultant advising cities and towns across Minnesota and the upper Midwest on attracting jobs and promoting affordable housing, has a broad understanding of the issues from her work as a consultant and as leader of the Minneapolis Community Development Agency.

"So many of my life experiences have been shared by many Minnesotans, but not necessarily those people representing us in Washington, D.C.," the one-time single mother and now grandmother of four said.

Rather than making a speech at each stop, Yanisch went for more of a roundtable approach, highlighting a different issue at each stop. In Rochester, she talked with constituents and professionals about rural economic development; in Northfield and Red Wing, there were other topics.

"The work I’ve done in community development emphasizes input," she explained. "It’s important for me to listen and to campaign in a way that reaches out to the voters. I want to make sure the voice I’m presenting is a representative voice."

In Austin, the main topics during her stop were health care, prescription drugs and Social Security. Several of those attending the forum expressed concern about the future of Social Security and about the high prices of drugs in the United States as compared to other countries. Yanisch proposed including prescription drug benefits in Medicaid. She also would like to see drugs reimported to the United States.

The Ingvalsons think that’s a good idea. Although the retired farm couple don’t have any grossly expensive medications, they have to cover the costs of what medicines they do take. Because Clayton’s sister lives near the Mexican border, they also know that they can get the same prescription drugs in Mexico for one-third to one-half the price.

"I paid $3.38 a day for one pill that cost $1.48 in Mexico," Clayton said. "That’s a big difference, especially when you’re living on a fixed income."