Schminke files for House seat, run against Poppe

Published 9:30 am Thursday, May 26, 2016

Republican Dennis Schminke officially filed this week to challenge Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, for a second time for her District 27B House of Representatives seat.



Schminke, 63, of Austin says his seven grandchildren inspired him to run again, and he officially announced his run at Piggy Blues BBQ in April.

“Because of that I care about things like the long term prosperity of the state,” Schminke said. “It doesn’t come from government. It takes strong private sector growth. Minnesota could do a lot to improve that, but not by raising taxes.”

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Schminke said he believes rural Minnesota is coming out on the short end of things, such as transportation and broadband. He added the DFL tends to favor the metro side of things while rural Minnesota is left behind.

He would also like to see the general fund and surplus money used for transportation and not impose a gas tax increase.

“Pay attention to basic things and not get distracted by other stuff that doesn’t need doing, like the light rail. Everyone benefits from a good transportation system,” Schminke said. “It’s all about priorities and choices.”

Schminke said revenue has increased since the 2010-11 biennium and the state should be able to find a solution to road funding.

He would also like an answer for education and why the state isn’t seeing better education results with a large amount of money being contributed to the cause.

“No one has the political courage to take the issue head on,” Schminke said.

Schminke also cited MNsure as another area that needed a going-over and could soon start using up money and eating into the education budget.

“The government should do the basics well and take care of taxpayers’ money,” Schminke said. “We want prosperity and we’ll get there with good education.”

He added the farther away from the basics the state gets, the less effective they are with spending money.

Schminke grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and he and his wife, Vickie, have lived in Austin for many years. He has a background in accounting and finance. He retired in 2012 after working for Hormel Foods Corp. for 38 years. He also work in IT and later operations research at Hormel.

Schminke has been involved with the Mower GOP for several years.

He challenged Poppe in 2014, losing the race with 45.8 percent of the vote to her 54.1 percent. He also unsuccessfully ran for a school board seat.

Poppe is seeking her seventh term in 27B, but she hadn’t yet officially filed as of press time.

—Jason Schoonover contributed to this report.