Walz: ‘We’re one Minnesota’ Gubernatorial candidate makes a stop in Austin

Published 9:08 am Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Congressman Tim Walz made a campaign stop on Tuesday afternoon in Austin.

The DFL gubernatorial hopeful greeted supporters at Coffee House on Main, answering questions and discussing issues and the campaign.

“We’re here talking about the gubernatorial campaign and a lot of things on people’s minds,” he told the Herald. “I think it’s about getting (voters) engaged and believing that Minnesota politics can work and believing that we’re one Minnesota.”

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“To be very honest on a personal note,” he added, “(Austin) has always been where my staunchest support comes from.”

With three weeks left before the Aug. 14 primary, Walz feels confident about his chances.

“I think we always knew this would be a competitive primary,” he said. “A lot of this is built on name recognition, but I think the way things are going now, with the endorsements we have from groups as diverse as the Carpenters to the Teachers Union, we think things are starting to go our way. We want to turn our voters out.”

Walz discussed the recent gridlocks in the legislature and how it has affected policy.

“What I hear from people is, whether it’s healthcare or education, they understand that if we keep doing it the same way we’re doing it, we end up in these gridlock sessions,” he said. “I think it’s really important to have a Greater Minnesota voice. I don’t have to travel to Greater Minnesota; I wake up here. My running mate is from the Twin Cities and we’re making the case that we’re stronger together. The governor’s responsibility is to find a way to break through this gridlock. I’m certainly not about to back down on the values that we care about investing in, but I’m willing to listen to folks to make sure that we get something done for all of Minnesota. We’re going to do budgets on the front end in a transparent manner and we’re going to release those early so this fight doesn’t come on. I’m absolutely baffled that the stakeholders don’t know what the budget looks like until it’s released or they don’t know what the final piece is going to be.”

Tim Walz, candidate for Minnesota governor, greets people at the Coffee House on Main during a visit to Austin Tuesday.

Despite recent political analysis that shows Minnesota’s First Congressional District as a toss up in the 2018 general election, Walz said he believes DFL candidate Dan Feehan will win in November.

“I think right now you’re seeing a predominantly agricultural district absolutely decimated by horrific policies by the (Trump) administration and not a single peep out of the folks who are running on the Republican side,” he said. “This is always a competitive district; I think that makes better legislators. I’m proud to have represented it for six terms and it appears to me that Dan Feehan is his own man and will have his own style of leadership, but I see him being close policy wise.”

Walz also talked about issues facing rural Minnesota and his recent efforts in Congress to address those issues.

“We need to invest in the people,” he said. “We need to have the best-qualified workforce we can. We need to take the pressure off of rural school districts and rural communities, such as ask how does Austin come up with $70 million to replace a water treatment plant because of mandates that were put onto them or how do we make sure people have access to that healthcare? What we want is healthy communities that have well-qualified work forces that are healthy to do their job and that they have the capacity to do these basic things. Last week, along with Mayor Stiehm, we introduced a small town and rural revitalization act that I think is going to get great traction in Congress and I think it will come back to help these small communities.”

In the end, Walz emphasized his message of one Minnesota.

“When I’m out there, I’m hearing ‘work together, educate our children, build our infrastructure and get this done in a manner that makes sense to us,’” he said. “I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”