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Franken, Peterson make stop at Climax, Minn., farm

Farmer Merle Anderson of rural Climax, Minn., rallied support for Democratic candidates during a coffee and cookies meeting at his farm Monday afternoon.

Visit with the candidate
Norman County West students Shylynn Fassino, left, and Lita Villarreal visit with Al Franken Monday at a campaign stop at Merle and Lee Anderson's farm near Climax, Minn. (Herald photo by Eric Hylden).

Farmer Merle Anderson of rural Climax, Minn., rallied support for Democratic candidates during a coffee and cookies meeting at his farm Monday afternoon.

The home of Anderson and his wife, Lee, was abuzz with activity, as local producers, community leaders and high school students gathered in an adjacent shop to listen to Democratic candidate Al Franken and incumbent Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn. Franken, a best-selling author and former national radio talk show host who gained fame as a comedy writer and performer on TV's "Saturday Night Live," is challenging incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn.

Anderson said a John McCain-Norm Coleman win in Minnesota could "spell the end of all ethanol industry."

"It wouldn't be very good for sugar, either," he added, then pointing to the walls of his shop, which were decorated with Franken and Peterson signs, he said: "We need to make these changes that you see up on the walls here."

Anderson followed with harsh words for Coleman.


"If we were to re-elect Norm Coleman, he would follow John McCain right over the cliff if he asked him to."

Last week, Coleman, during a campaign swing through East Grand Forks, highlighted his stance on national issues. He said the federal government should live within its means; every Minnesotan should have access to health care, but not through federal bureaucracies; and the nation should focus on renewable energy (particularly ethanol and the possibilities for sugar beets in the industry) and conservation; and, finally, national security.

During the rally at Anderson's farm Monday, Franken said a vote for him is a vote for middle- class Americans.

"It's that everybody can have a good job and everybody can have a roof over their heads, and everybody can have affordable health care, and everybody can go to college -- if they want to," he told the crowd of more than 100 people in Anderson's shop. "That's the promise of America."

Roger Moe, 2002 DFL-candidate for Minnesota governor, praised Franken.

"You want someone who has the right values, the right heart" and honesty -- saying that Franken was the person for the job.

Peterson talked about the importance agricultural producer's play in what he described as the No. 1 issue in America: energy independence.

"We're showing that ethanol can make a difference and that those of us in agriculture will be a part of energy independence," he said.


He also talked about the farm bill and what he said was a lack of support it has had from President Bush and many Republicans.

"Sen. Coleman didn't do any damage to the farm bill," Peterson said, but then added: "He voted for CAFTA. I still will never forgive him for voting for CAFTA."

High school civics teacher Pamela Holte said she was there with about 36 students from Norman County West for a lesson in civics. Students not only were prepping for a mock election; many are eligible to vote for the first time Tuesday.

Reach Nadeau at (701) 780-1118; (800) 477-6572, ext. 118; or send e-mail to snadeau@gfherald.com .

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