Walz focuses on veterans

Published 8:07 am Friday, October 29, 2010

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn. and former Republican U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger talk with Andy Dyrdal, right, and Red Mershon at the Coffee House on Main Thursday. Dyrdal and Mershon came over from Albert Lea to see Walz.

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., visited with local veterans at the Coffeehouse on Main Thursday afternoon, saying democrats and republicans need to work together to ensure veterans have job opportunities when returning from duty.

Former Republican U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger accompanied Walz on the campaign stop. Durenberger said he has endorsed Walz because of his willingness to put partisan politics aside and learn from both the mistakes of others and of his own.

Walz stressed the importance of finding jobs for unemployed veterans.

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“We as a nation are missing a golden opportunity,” he said, referring to the vast number of unemployed veterans. “We do a terrible job of transferring military skills into the civilian sector.”

Walz said if he is re-elected, he wants to work on arming veterans with resumes while also making it easier for them to get hired. He said veterans possess skills that could easily be used in the civilian sector and companies need to be less afraid of military personnel being deployed if they hire them.

The U.S. congressional candidate said bipartisan support is vital, especially when working with veterans issues. He also said Americans are sick of the political parties arguing instead of getting things done.

“(Americans) are sick and tired of the bickering,” Walz said. “It’s not an American trait to be negative.”

Durenberger said Walz’s political tactics are unique because he is not only willing to learn, but also willing to teach.

“(Walz) reminded me of my father, who was a coach,” Durenberger said. “Coaches love to win. They also take the responsibility for the education of the kids you’re teaching.”

The former senator referred to Walz’s political ideas as “instinctive.”

“He sees his job as teaching and learning,” Durenberger said. “That’s very unique.”

Walz said Durenberger’s endorsement proves that the two parties can come together and unite for the good of the constituents.

“I feel really honored,” Walz said. “It would be irresponsible to not reach out and use (Durenberger’s) experience.”