By Kevin Sweeney
NEW ULM - With four candidates entered in the Republican Primary election for governor in August, Marty Seifert of Marshall is making sure he isn't going to be lost in the crowd.
A late entry into the governor's race last December, Seifert stopped in New Ulm Thursday on what is his second tour through the state (his third visit to some areas, he said) to make sure people remember he is the only candidate for governor from Greater Minnesota.
"What I try to tell delegates is I'm the most electable, I believe, I've run ahead of Dayton in the polling. When the rank and file vote free and close to home, and privately, I win. I've won the last two (straw) ballots at the caucuses, but when we get to the conventions, for some reason, they change."
As a governor from outstate area, Seifert said he would have a better understanding, and a better feel for the needs of all areas of the state. He has made it a point to visit northern Minnesota to hear about their economic concerns and learn about the impact mining would have on the state. He has visited the major cities and the small towns in between.
"New Ulm will never be flyover land for me," he said. "There are too many candidates and too many politicians who think of these smaller cities as flyover territory. That's just not the way I am."
His travels help him learn about the problems businesses in the state are having, the fact that ag processors are frustrated by the slow pace of the government permitting process. "I've talked to ag processors who have been waiting for 18 months for the government permit they need to expand. Government can't hold those things up."
Seifert said as governor he would seek to "right-size" government. "It's not a matter of slash and burn, but of finding out what government does that it doesn't have to do," he said. He pointed to the fact that the state government had its own printing shop when he went into the Legislature, with the cost of equipment and labor.
"I said, 'Why do we have our own print shop when there are printers all over the state who can do it cheaper, faster and better?'"
Seifert said he would support bonding programs that help business grow.
"I have maintained a long time that one third of any bonding bill should support transportation - roads and bridges. Everybody uses them. Then we should fund education projects and things that are needed. The Lewis and Clark Water project, for example. We need water."
Cities that don't have enough water can't attract business or new families. Towns need better roads, like Highway 14 project, to attract more business. Seifert said too much emphasis is being placed on light rail projects when the money could be used better for roads and bridges throughout the state, and for reducing traffic congestion in the metropolitan area.
Seifert said he would be a governor who would meet regularly with legislative leaders on both sides, as he met with Senate Majority Leader Margaret Kelliher, a Democrat, when he was House minority leader to discuss issues.
"We had disagreements, to be sure, but at the end of the day, government has to function. I think I can do that."