27B Republicans endorse Schminke for House; ‘A heady responsibility’

Published 11:01 am Friday, June 17, 2016



Dennis Schminke officially has the backing of District 27B Republicans heading toward the Nov. 8 election.

District 27B Republicans endorsed Schminke earlier this week. While he was the only Republican candidate challenging Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, Schminke called the endorsement an important part of the process and of grassroots politics.

“I go into that understanding that that’s a heady responsibility,” he said.

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Schminke, 63, of Austin is focusing his campaign on education, transportation, and taking care of people who can’t care for themselves. He also said he wants to promote accountability in government, while being a good steward of taxpayer money.

Schminke wants to be elected to serve the needs of the district only, which is why he’s opted to only accept donations from individuals and not special interests.

He also said he wants to prevent make sure the Legislature is focused on all Minnesotans and not just the Twin Cities, as he said some policies in Minnesota make it tough for border communities like Austin to compete.

“I don’t think that rural Minnesota and Mower gets its fair due,” he said.

He argued recent growth has been centralized in the Twin Cities, not in Greater Minnesota.

District 27 Republicans also endorsed Gene Dornink of Hayfield to challenge Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, and Schminke said Dornink received strong support from 27B Republicans.

“I’m excited about the fact that we’re contesting both seats,” he said.

Schminke called the endorsement an “important process” and said he’ll work to serve the needs of the district if elected, while he also noted he would strive to govern and compromise, something he said is vital to getting work done in St. Paul.

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.