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Minnesota GOP candidates stop by Grand Forks

Republican candidates for four major Minnesota offices held an informal meet and greet Monday, Nov. 5, at Grand Forks International Airport to hype up voters for Election Day on Nov. 6.


Republican candidates for four major Minnesota offices held an informal meet and greet Monday, Nov. 5, at Grand Forks International Airport to hype up voters for Election Day on Nov. 6.

Grand Forks was one of seven stops for the GOP candidates-Jeff Johnson for governor, Donna Bergstrom for lieutenant governor, Doug Wardlow for attorney general and Pam Myhra for state auditor.

Johnson, an outgoing Hennepin County commissioner, said he has spent his tour highlighting three initiatives-keeping taxes low, holding the government accountable and improving state agencies.

"They don't seem to understand their role is to serve the people," Johnson said, mainly referring to groups like the Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which he said have hurt Minnesota farmers with regulations like the buffer strip rule.

"They don't seem to think of farmers when they're making these regulations," he said.


Many of the constituents he met Monday wanted to talk about health care and immigration, Johnson added. He's against making Minnesota a sanctuary state, saying he believes Minnesota should cooperate with the federal government on immigration.

Bergstrom noted most of the people she talked to are eager for a "change in government" after years of mostly Democratic leadership.

"We just really feel we represent that to them," Bergstrom said. "People just want to know government can be held accountable again."

Wardlow agreed, stating he plans to remove all politics from the Attorney General's Office by building a more "robust" criminal division.

"It's really been eviscerated over the last few decades," Wardlow said, adding he believes that's what has been contributing to elder abuse and human trafficking across the state.

Wardlow accused opponent Keith Ellison of being too political.

"He wants to use the office to wage a political war," Wardlow said. "That's simply not appropropriate for taxpayer dollars."

Ellison's campaign responded by referring to his closing remarks from the attorney general's debate Oct. 21, when Ellison accused Wardlow of being equally political for recent remarks he made about firing 42 Democratic attorneys and replacing them with Republicans.


Mhyra, a former audit manager with auditing company KPMG, said she's spent most of her campaign highlighting her private sector experience and her public experience as a state legislator. She said she helped author two major bills that she said improved government transparency.

"It really showed me people across Minnesota care how their taxpayer dollars are used," she said.

Myhra's opponent, Julie Blaha, highlighted her own legislative experiences as a member of the Public Employee Pension Commission, where she helped pass a bill to help stabilize pensions.

"The next auditor really needs to understand pensions well," Blaha said. "My opponent hasn't talked about pensions on the campaign trail, as far as I can tell. The next auditor needs to talk about investment. I haven't heard her bringing it up."

Johnson's Democratic opponent Tim Walz said in a statement his campaign also has been traveling. "We're excited for folks to head to the polls next week and cast their vote for quality schools, affordable health care, and good-paying jobs," Walz saidon behalf of himself and Democratic Lt. Gov. candidate Peggy Flanagan. "That's our vision for one Minnesota."

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