By Lynda Jensen
COKATO, MN Hal Kimball of Cokato and Darrin Anderson of Litchfield have received the DFL endorsement for State Senate District 18, and State Representative District 18B, respectively.
Kimball served 11 years in the Army, and is running for the state senate seat that will soon be vacated by State Sen. Steve Dille (R-Dassel), who is retiring.
Anderson teaches social studies in the Willmar School District, and has also taught as an adjunct professor at Saint Cloud State University. He is running for state representative in District 18B, which is currently served by Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City).
In a speech to delegates before he was endorsed, Kimball told DFLers that the coming election offers a clear choice between the past and the future.
“We can choose a decade more of status quo in St. Paul and a deficit of common sense, or we can commit right here, today, to a new direction,” Kimball said.
Kimball challenged Republicans to back up their rhetoric on freedom and liberty with real action.
“When state budget cuts put more than 40,000 more Minnesotans at risk without access to affordable and quality health care, is that freedom? Is that liberty?” Kimball asked.
“When no-new-tax pledges force local governments to increase property taxes, pushing seniors out of their homes, homes they’ve owned for generations, is that the freedom they speak of?” Kimball asked.
“When the state literally takes $17.4 million from schools in our Senate District, is that the freedom they speak of?” Kimball asked.
Anderson addressed the crowd by saying “The torch has been passed to a new generation of leadership, a leadership of new ideas and a leadership of working for the people.”
“As a teacher, I work with students who feel they don’t have a voice, that no one will stand up for them to be their voice,” Anderson said.
When asked if the interests of the district were now being well represented at the Legislature, the delegates answered, “No.”
“Our lack of school funding is becoming a huge issue,” Anderson said.
“The state has shifted money from the schools, forcing them to take out loans and pay interest on that money, money they will not get back. I love my job as a teacher, I went into teaching to make a difference and that is why I am running for this seat, to make a difference for those who feel they have no voice,” Anderson said.
“Our communities are also hurting; last Monday (Feb. 15) Gov. Pawlenty cut $250 million in LGA from local cities, even those with a population of less than 1,000 people.
We as Minnesotans are proud of our local agencies. Our fire departments, ambulance, police, and local programs are something to be proud of and the state is asking us, rural Minnesota, to fund these services?”
“The backbone of our district is our small businesses. We need to find a way to get Minnesotans back to work and promote job growth. I will work across party lines to find ways to help business grow and help these businesses create jobs.”
The endorsements took place at a party convention at the Cokato City Hall that encompassed the District 18 area. District 18B includes the cities of Annandale, Cokato, Howard Lake, and South Haven, and the townships of Cokato, Corinna, French Lake, Middleville, Stockholm, and Southside in Wright County, and all of Meeker.
No DFL candidate has come forward yet for State representative in District 18A, which is served by Ron Shimanski. District 18A includes all of McLeod County, plus Collinwood Township, Cedar Mills, and Cedar Mills Township.
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.