Murray, challengers gear up for House race

Published 7:46 am Thursday, June 7, 2012

A day after he filed for re-election, District 27A Rep. Rich Murray, R-Albert Lea, said he was ready to be the voice for greater Minnesota.

Murray will face off in November against former Wells Mayor Shannon Savick, DFL-Wells, and William Wagner, I-Geneva. He said it was time to stand against disparities between the metro and greater Minnesota, and highlighted the importance of bipartisanship.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the residents of District 27A for the past two years,” Murray said. “I have enjoyed getting to know new people, re-acquainting myself with people I’ve met over the years and listening to them to gain knowledge about the issues important to them.”

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Murray plans to continue working on fostering job growth. He cited his experience as a small business owner, which showed him how difficult it can be to grow and expand a business. While government cannot create businesses, he said, it can create a better business environment.

Murray will also focus on fixing roads and bridges and said he recognizes the importance of giving the state’s children a “world-class education.” Improving education goes hand-in-hand with helping the state’s teachers grow, he said.

President and owner of ISC Financial Advisors in Albert Lea, Murray has been a resident of that city for more than 25 years. He has already started work on his campaign within the new district boundaries and recently knocked on about 400 doors in Wells. Murray has also visited Kiester, Walters and Blooming Prairie, which are all new to the district.

Murray aims for a positive campaign where he interacts with the electorate. He said he has been happy to represent District 27A and hopes people will support him for another term.

“I promise you, you will not be unhappy with my work,” Murray said.

Shannon Savick

Savick, a five-year resident of Wells, initially planned to run for the House District 24B seat against Republican Tony Cornish before the districts were re-organized. Now she is continuing forward with her plans for office against Murray.

She said she decided to run for office after seeing firsthand in Wells how the Legislature’s decisions can affect small communities. She spent time on the Wells City Council and as the city’s mayor.

The first year Savick was mayor she said she saw a $200,000 cut in the city’s local government aid; the second year there was a $250,000 cut. At one point, she had to ask herself if she should fire a police officer or raise taxes.

“I don’t think we’re being represented rightly with the current Legislature,” she said.

Savick emphasized the importance of investing in education. Skilled workers will attract high-tech companies, she said. Savick has a bachelor’s degree in math and physics and a master’s degree in business administration. She worked in the computer industry for 28 years and is currently retired.

Savick said she will start knocking on doors in the near future, first in Blooming Prairie and Hayfield, and then in Albert Lea. She is working on planning fundraisers with some of the state’s top DFL leaders and is working to make her name better known, particularly in Albert Lea.

“I’m really excited about the potential,” Savick said.

William Wagner

Wagner, who has lived in Geneva for about eight years, owns a small hobby farm with goats, pigs and one cow. He said in March he decided to run for office because he wants to make a difference.

He ran for office against former District 27A Rep. Robin Brown in 2008. Just as in that year, he said his top priority is jobs.

“I’d like to see better jobs, better-paying jobs,” Wagner said. He added he is also a promoter of better education.

Wagner has previously served on the city council in New Market, along with the planning and zoning commission there.

—Kevin Coss contributed to this report