By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, MN With Senator Steve Dille retiring in 2011, two local businessmen, Dean Mahlstedt of Cokato and Tim Benoit of Dassel, will each take a shot at the District 18 senate seat.
Dean Mahlstedt of Cokato announced he would be seeking the Republican endorsement.
“We’ve got to put the brakes on things at the state level,” Mahlstedt said.
Mahlstedt is the owner of Procare and is currently serving his seventh term on the Cokato Township board, serving as the chair this year.
During his time on the township board, Mahlstedt has done what he can to protect the property rights of those who live within the township “as much as the law allows,” he said.
Mahlstedt is very liberty-minded, he said, and believes government intervention should be limited.
Some of the major issues Mahlstedt would like to address is the size and scope of government and how much of the budget is actually necessary, he said.
As part of this, Mahlstedt believes the government can’t create jobs nearly as well as individual businesses can. “It can, but at a great cost,” he said.
He would also like to see a greater separation between the federal government and the state.
“We need to begin governing ourselves again and doing what’s right for this state,” he said.
Mahlstedt would also like to go back and adhere to the state and federal constitutions.
“That would solve a lot of our problems,” he said.
Since only one candidate will come out of the March convention with an endorsement, if Mahlstedt isn’t the person chosen, he won’t be running against the endorsed candidate in the primaries, he said.
Mahlstedt looks forward to 2010 and thinks good things could happen, but they won’t come easy, he said.
“I’m upbeat, but I’m also realistic that it’s not going to be without pain,” he commented.
For more information or to ask questions of Mahlstedt, e-mail him at email@example.com or check out his Facebook page.
Tim Benoit of Dassel is also seeking the Republican party endorsement for District 18 senate seat.
For Benoit, he says, the time is right for him to run and he would like to bring his behind-the-scenes political work to the forefront.
Several years ago, Benoit served on the Dassel City Council for nearly a full term, but chose to resign due to a conflict of interest with his father being the chief of police at the time.
He also served a full four-year term on the Dassel-Cokato Board of Education.
What has been most appalling to Benoit is the excessive taxation and the one-sidedness that is taking place in St. Paul.
“Americans today are really feeling the pinch,” Benoit said, stating that more taxes would only add to the pain.
For example, Benoit doesn’t agree that public funds should go toward building a new Vikings stadium.
Along with this, he suggests there be a “sunset” on taxes once a project has been paid for, rather than allocating the taxes to another project.
Benoit is pro-business, pro-agriculture, and pro-life, which are the three issues he really cares about.
He feels there is a lack of “intellectual honesty” with the other side and it has not been honest with education and health care, to name a few areas.
Benoit would also like to see the Republican party get back to what it used to be, adhering more closely to the platform and standing true to its values.
Church should also be turned to more often than it is, Benoit said.
“The founding fathers made it clear as glass that church plays an important part,” he said.
Benoit is excited for the process and looks forward to a great campaign if he is the candidate chosen.
He invites questions to be asked about him and his positions.
“I have a big ear for listening,” he said.
Like Mahlstedt, he, too, will not run against the endorsed candidate if he is not chosen.
Benoit can be contacted either by phone (320) 275-2065 or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Randy Wilson, Glencoe mayor (Note - print version erroneously identified him as "former Glencoe mayor"), and Scott Newman of Hutchinson, are also seeking the Republican party endorsement for this senate seat.
District 18 includes all of Meeker and McLeod counties, plus the following area in Wright County: the cities of Howard Lake, Cokato, and Annandale; and townships of French Lake, Middleville, South Haven, Southside, and Stockholm.