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Entenza's wife touts her husband's gubernatorial bid

PARK RAPIDS, Minn. -- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza's wife, Lois Quam, was on the campaign trail this week, making a stop in Park Rapids to promote her husband's political aspiration.

PARK RAPIDS, Minn. -- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza's wife, Lois Quam, was on the campaign trail this week, making a stop in Park Rapids to promote her husband's political aspiration.

"I expect Matt to win," she said. "I find him to be the right candidate at the right time."

The attorney who's logged six terms in the state House is facing a three-way primary race, Mark Dayton and Margaret Anderson Kelliher also vying for the spot on the ballot. Primary elections will be Tuesday, Aug. 10.

"The story of his life is meaningful," Quam said of his upbringing in Worthington, Minn., where he officially declared his candidacy.

At 15, in the mid 1970s, Entenza lost his father. The family, which included three teens, moved in with the children's grandmother, who lived in a two-bedroom home.


"Matt's teachers rallied around him," she said, which instilled an affinity for rural public schools. And when it was time for college, a local bank president took up a collection from local businesses for Entenza.

"Regional centers have done a wonderful job of putting their faith in young people and holding them to high standards," the Marshall High School graduate -- and Rhodes scholar -- said of cities such as Park Rapids. "We've created something very special in rural Minnesota.

"Matt will be the first governor in a generation to wake up thinking about rural Minnesota," she said.

Extracurricular activities, she said, are an important component to education, building "leadership skills, teamwork and a sense of resiliency." But programs are being cut and fees added.

"And there is no job where you answer multiple-choice questions," she said of state testing. "Matt wants to move us away from No Child Left Behind and teaching to the test."

Schools are penalized because the test doesn't measure a child's ongoing progress, she said. MCA test results label schools, often unfairly. And students face an exhaustive regimen of preparing for the tests.

"We've had a generation of governors who've run down our education system," Quam asserts. "Matt's running for governor because students need the state to work for education."

The decline in the quality of state's education system has affected job growth, Quam said.


"We create jobs by being a high-idea state," she said, citing a recent conversation with a Bemidji State University official. "We need people to develop the ideas for businesses of the future... that's the real opportunity."

Regarding health care, Entenza, she said, feels it's important for people to be able to get to the right doctor.

Quam said her husband was "heartbroken" over cuts to the General Assistance Medical Care program, "serving the state's neediest people.

"Minnesotans should feel pride in setting up a program like GAMC," which the former head of a major division of United Health Group said went beyond what was required of the state.

Quam, in 1989 was among the group conducting the study that led to MinnesotaCare, considered to be "groundbreaking" at the time.

This led to an invitation from Hillary Clinton in 1993 to come to Washington to assist in drafting the national health care initiative. ("Matt was home with the kids," she said of their 1-year-old twin sons and their 3-year-old son.)

Entenza, she said, was upset with legislators who agreed to set up GAMC providers located just in the Twin Cities.

The affected people end up in the emergency room, she said of the rural population.


Regional centers, such as Park Rapids, "need the attention of a governor," she stressed. "Programs like GAMC are put in place to work across the state. Matt would like to look at ways to expand the programs like MinnesotaCare because he understands how important it is for people to go to the doctor when they need to."

Many seniors face challenges with their health care, she pointed out. "In the general election, Matt's going to face an opponent, Tom Emmer, who wants to cut 30 percent of government health care costs. Imagine what that will do to health care for seniors."

And Gov. Tim Pawlenty turned down the opportunity for Minnesota to obtain $1.4 billion in federal Medicaid matching funding, she pointed out. (His decision to turn down the funds could cost Minnesota 22,000 jobs, $2.7 billion in business activity and $984 million in salaries and wages, at least for now, according to the Minnesota State House 2010 Session Summary .)

"We are at a crucial moment. We need an active governor working on behalf of the state. We need a governor who will effectively represent the state in Washington and be tireless in pursuit of new jobs and resolving the challenges Tim Pawlenty has left us with. And think it's important that person has a strong feel for rural Minnesota.

"It's a pivotal moment for the state," she said.

The Park Rapids (Minn.) Enterprise and the Herald are owned by Forum Communications Co.

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