Dorman continues fighting for rural towns

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 21, 2003

ST. PAUL -- It's familiar territory for Dan Dorman, yet it's different.

With the latest redistricting giving more territory for Dorman's House 27A District, the Republican from Albert Lea said he's ready to fight for more rural areas.

It's nothing new to Dorman. However, he said he's going to have to be even more vigilant in protecting greater Minnesota communities, now that the state is staring at a multi-billion dollar deficit.

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Dorman's territory now encompasses such communities like Lyle, Rose Creek, Adams and Elkton. And the third-term representative said those communities are just as important as the ones he represents in Freeborn County.

"A lot of it is going to be preventing bad things from happening, and sometimes that's just as important," he said. "Whether it's with local government aid, we need to make sure those things happen. We need to make sure we protect our education funding and our nursing home funding. We need to protect our rural areas."

One item that Dorman would like to see included in his district are tax-free zones. Such entities, Dorman said, could entice large corporations to come and build in this region. With the loss of the Farmland plant in Albert Lea, Dorman said more industrial jobs are needed in this region. That's why it would have been a plus for the Ford Motor Company to build in Albert Lea, he said. However, Dorman pointed out that Ford decided to build in Wisconsin, which has a friendlier tax system to companies than Minnesota.

"Tax-free zones are very much going to stimulate that sort of growth," Dorman said. "The communities that apply for these types of grants are going to be successful. We're not very competitive with economic development. Taxes, compared to states around us, are higher. We don't compete very well against Wisconsin. We don't compete very well against Iowa. We don't compete very well against South Dakota. We're starting to lose manufacturing jobs."

Dorman, who owns Hanson Tire in Albert Lea, said as a businessman, it's not going to make fiscal sense if the state solely tries to solve its deficit problem by raising taxes.

"I can't double the price of my tires and then double the revenue," Dorman said. "I would be losing customers."

Dorman said in the meantime, he wants to continue hearing from the same people that got him into office.

"The more constituent contact we have, the better," Dorman said. "Sometimes, when you don't do that, you forget what's important to the people who elected you. Plus, I own a retail business and that gives me a chance to talk to you."

Dan Fields can be reached at 434-2230 or by e-mail at