Savick, Bennett file for 27A

Published 10:12 am Friday, May 30, 2014

District 27A Rep. Shannon Savick and her Republican opponent Peggy Bennett filed their bids for office on Wednesday.

Savick, DFL-Wells, is nearing the end of her first two-year term in the House of Representatives, while Bennett, of Albert Lea, is finishing her 33rd year as an elementary school teacher.

The District 27A seat, in past elections, has drawn state leaders from both parties to town to rally for their candidates. Outside groups have also spent big money on candidates in the district as both sides struggled for power in the state Legislature.

Shannon Savick

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Savick said she just completed a successful legislative session, and she wants to see Minnesota continue to advance economically.

She cited tax deductions for middle-income residents and farmers, a surplus in the state budget and major investments in education as some of the highlights of the last session.

“It was a very exciting two years,” she said.

She noted her role in creating a pilot program to help recruit and retain firefighters and other first responders in Greater Minnesota.

Under the program, every volunteer firefighter, first responder and emergency medical technician will receive a $500 stipend from the state for three years. Fourteen counties — including Freeborn and Faribault counties — are included in the program.

She also talked about funding the Legislature awarded to local projects, including $7.5 million to dredge Fountain Lake, $433,000 to extend the Blazing Star Trail from Myre-Big Island State Park to Hayward and $700,000 for the installation of a fish barrier on the Albert Lea Lake dam.

Savick said if she is re-elected she plans to help seniors receive better representation and look at a way to better fund long-term care.

“If we don’t look for a way to fund long-term care, within five or six years it’s going to break the state,” she said.

She also hopes to lower the MNsure rates for people in Freeborn County, who she said have some of the highest insurance rates in the state.

Savick is the former mayor of Wells and previously worked in the high-tech computer industry for more than 20 years.

Peggy Bennett

During a ceremony outside the Freeborn County Courthouse on Wednesday, Bennett said she is running for office for the more than 750 students she has taught during her time as a teacher.

“I’m afraid they won’t have an America with the potential we had,” she said.

She said the people of the district are the main reason she is running and she wants to be a public servant.

She talked about protecting individual rights and creating financial opportunities for people in the district. A lot of times, that involves eliminating unnecessary government involvement and increasing opportunities for education and jobs, she said.

She has previously stated she is concerned the state is leaning toward too much government control instead of local control, which can create bureaucracy where it is not needed.

Bennett said she promises to put “people before politics,” which has been her campaign slogan.

“Government often moves from a people-driven agenda to a party-driven agenda,” she said.

Bennett, who grew up in the Twin Cities area but moved to Albert Lea in 1981, said she plans to go on a leave of absence from teaching at the end of the school year to focus on her campaign.

She received the District 27A Republican endorsement against Hart Bros. Weaponry owner Milan Hart at the end of March.

Filing for city, county and state races began May 20 and continues through June 3.