Benson leaning on health care, economics to win seat

Published 10:08 am Tuesday, January 21, 2014

State Rep. Mike Benson says his opposing stance on health care and the economy will help him oust Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz from office this fall.

Benson, R-Rochester, who last summer declared he would challenge Walz for Minnesota’s First Congressional District, is one of several Republican challengers for Walz’s seat. He visited Austin and surrounding communities on Monday. Benson said if he wins the First District Republican Convention in April, he’ll take Walz to task over Obamacare.



“After winning the convention,” Benson said, “I’m devoting my full attention to beating Tim Walz in November.”

Email newsletter signup

Benson made it clear repealing the Affordable Care Act would be one of his major focuses, as he criticized Walz for not only supporting it but overtly celebrating the health care reform act. Benson, a 30-plus year employee and leader of the Postal Service and recent economics professor at Crossroads College in Rochester, fears the economic impact of Obama’s plan and wants to help repeal it.

“The government taking over 6 percent of our economy couldn’t be a good thing,” he said.

Benson pointed out how young, uninsured people still aren’t signing up for health insurance under the new act, and that premiums for Minnesotans are on the rise. He said the health insurance marketplace needs to be more like the auto insurance marketplace, not driven by regional expenses and open to interstate competition.

Benson reiterated repealing the Act is the only way to fix the health care system.

“The only way to improve it is to repeal it,” he said on Monday.

Aside from his health care stance, Benson said he sees the importance of SNAP, or food stamp benefits, and a new federal Farm Bill. Benson said the two issues should be separate. Furthermore, he stated the government needs to cut spending, instead of just trying to rebalance it without results.

Benson has previously met with supporters in Austin, including at the Mower County GOP picnic last summer, and again in a political meeting just before Christmas.

“We will be back a number of times between now and April 5,” Benson added.

Precinct caucuses begin across the state on Feb. 4. The Republican 1st Congressional District Convention will be on April 5 at Southwest Middle School in Albert Lea. The candidate forum will be held the night before, at Wedgewood Cove in Albert Lea.

Benson, 58, faces some GOP competition, including Jim Hagedorn, 51, of Blue Earth, and Aaron Miller of Byron.