ST. PETER Area agribusiness man and author Tim Gieseke focused his campaign plans on pushing the idea of shared governance and independence from party politics Saturday after receiving the Independence Party endorsement for the Minnesota House district 19A special election. He was the only candidate to announce a run for the endorsement.
The special election is being held to fill the vacancy left by Rep. Terry Morrow's (DFL St. Peter) resignation earlier this month. The special election will be held Tuesday, Feb. 12, with the primaries held Tuesday, Jan. 29.
Gieseke heavily focused on the idea of shared governance, which seeks partnership of government and private business to solve problems. The proposal has private business largely taking over the responsibilities for important programs or policies, such as water quality, on the local level by acting as an extension of the government. Gieseke said the government is removed in these situations, since it remains important and active as an auditor of the partnered privates businesses. He argued this approach assumed both sides had something to contribute and could tackle complex issues through economic forces, such as attaching a monetary value to environmental quality as an incentive to farmers.
Gieseke also discussed several hot topics being debated in the Legislature. He said he was generally supportive of raising taxes as part of mixed approach to balance the state budget and was specifically supportive of the proposal to extend sales tax to online purchases. He did object to extending taxes to previously untaxed items like clothing, which he said would only produce a minimal income but seemed likely to be complex enough to have unintended consequences. He said he was initially supportive of raising the minimum wage, but wanted to talk with the business community about their objectives before finalizing his opinion.
Gieseke said he was uninterested in pushing discussion about same-sex marriage, but would vote for a bill legalizing it if elected. He said his primary reason was his concern about people's rights being limited due to legal issues wrapped around marriage status, such as being able to see a partner in the hospital or access to certain benefits. He said he supports the right for people to spend their lives with those they chose.
Beyond that, Gieseke said focusing on finding a method to sustainably fund the state's highway system is essential to being able to address the problems of Highway 14. On education, he said he was interested in investing in early education, but skeptical about further funding for higher education when too much money is being spent on administration instead of education.
Gieseke's campaign said it is realistic that the Independence Party will lack the party network of the DFL and Republican parties in the 19A campaign and that the DFL will continue to set the legislative agenda regardless of who wins the special election. The campaign said it would seek to appeal to voters by offering a fiscally conservative and socially progressive alternative to the dead-locking partisanship exhibited by both major political parties.
Gieseke bluntly said he chose to run as an Independence candidate over the benefits of one of the established parties because he did not think either party would allow him to fully push his ideas if any special interest objected. He said by running with a third party, he could be free to be a bold voice in the Legislature.
The campaign said its battle plan would focus on seeking as many debates as possible for Gieseke to participate in. The goal in this approach is to make up for the lack of infrastructure by fully impressing Gieseke's sincerity on the audience and showing off the strength of his sophisticated message over party line messaging. Gieseke also said he is partially working on the possibility that the district is more centrist than it initially appears because it has only run DFL candidates with limited Republican alternatives. He said that with the three options in this special election, the voters would be able to voice show their more independent side.
The campaign does not plan buy any radio or TV ads itself, but the state Independence Party is planning to buy radio ads supportive of Gieseke and the party as an alternative in this election.
Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.