MANKATO - A flat tire in Mankato prevented U.S. Senate candidate Chris Dahlberg, R-Duluth, from attending a meet and greet Saturday in New Ulm, but it didn't prevent him from calling The Journal for a phone interview.
"I've traveled to too many places, my tires are going flat," Dahlberg said from the Hilton Hotel parking ramp Saturday morning. "I'm on a whirlwind tour. I'm even going door to door."
A 52-year-old Esko native and Duluth attorney, Dahlberg is currently the Chairman of the St. Louis County Board of Commissioners and a Duluth Seaway Port Authority Commissioner. Dahlberg formerly worked at the Georgia-Pacific Superwood plant in Duluth.
"I'm troubled by the country's $17 trillion national debt and government over-regulation caused by national leaders' inability to prioritize," he said. "You tackle the federal deficit in the same manner as one eats an elephant - one bite at a time. With focus, we will prevail. When everything is a priority, nothing is," Dahlberg said.
"The U.S. Senate needs more real-life knowledge of the military. My 25 years of (U.S. Army Reserve) military service including work as an engineer, in civil affairs and Judge Advocate General (JAP), plus Mandarin-Chinese training makes me uniquely qualified to address serious national security issues."
Dahlberg said Sen. Al Franken takes a serious political approach but he's too quiet, taking "fluff tours" and not seriously addressing issues like the national debt and Obamacare. A statewide poll conducted Oct, 27-29, 2013 by Public Policy Polling reported the gap between Franken and Dahlberg was just 10 points - 49 percent for Franken, 39 percent for Dahlberg, with all other candidates totaling only 11 to 13 percentage points. For more information, visit www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/polls/
"My young daughter and her generation won't be helped much by that," he said. "I'm more interested in old-fashioned reading books than using electronic devices. I'm a scrapper, a hard worker. Franken has all the money and Minnesota ties, but he left soon after he was born here."
Dahlberg said the best way to learn what people want is to talk to them, face-to-face, on front porches, in coffee shops, and on Main Street, which is what he said he's doing these days.
Dahlberg said his proudest accomplishments surround prioritization of core services including a push for services to the private sector including a county nursing home that was losing millions of dollars a year but is now expanding with new construction projects.
"Washington D.C. has busied itself with too many activities that are really state's roles," he said.
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.