Area re-elects representatives to Minn. House

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 11/10/98.

“We should have an interesting and probably a chaotic year in the Legis-lature,” Rep. Doug Stang, R-Cold Spring, said after the recent election.

The House will be controlled by the Republicans, the Democrats hold the majority in the Senate and there is a Reform Party Governor.

“Ventura surprised everybody by winning the governor’s race,” Stang said. “It seemed the gubernatorial candidates had to struggle to get a lot of acceptance this year.”

Stang was pleased to be returning to office for his second term in the House in District 14B. Stang received 11,954 votes to Pat Bodelson’s 4,462. “The people noticed the work I did the first term and I hope I can continue to serve the district’s needs,” Stang said.

Rep. Bob Ness, R-District 20A, Dassel, was re-elected to another term as well. “I was very pleased with the voter turnout. It far exceeded anyone’s expectations. I really appreciate the support I received from my district. I have worked hard to be accessible to the people,” Ness said.

Ness agreed with Stang that this could be an interesting year in the Legislature. “I know there will be many changes made. When the session opens in January, the reorganization of the House will be a challenge in itself. The Republicans will need to develop a legislative agenda and establish com-mittee schedules,” Ness added.

Ness said among the items that will need to come to the forefront will be the need to curb spending. There will also be a need for a balanced approach to government spending.

“The people want stability and predictability in tax reform and relief. We will need to be prudent and continue our government services in the areas of education and assistance to the elderly,” Ness added.

“We need to focus on reinvesting in rural Minnesota. Everything doesn’t need to go to the metro area. Rural areas need to be able to provide good jobs with which a person can make a livelihood,” Ness stressed.

“During the last two sessions, the governor and the House had made a lot of tough policy decisions which brought the state from a deficit to a surplus budget status. The challenge will be to sustain, nurture, and protect that surplus,” Ness said.

Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-District 15B, won re-election over Joe Gimse. “The next couple of years can be very “fun,” and maybe chaotic at times. There will be a lot of checks and balances seen during the next four years because of no one party being in control of both branches of government,” Juhnke said.

Juhnke believes the Legislature will have a moderate tone. Bills will be molded and formed until all three (Republicans, Democrats and Reform party) agree. “We need to have both sides of the aisle on board when it comes time to pass a bill,” Juhnke added.

“I think it will take a couple of weeks for everything to be ironed out when the Legislature reconvenes in January. The House will need to reorganize with new committee chairs. The House will have a whole new dynamics this year. Maybe there will be less arguing and more ‘Minnesota Nice’,” Juhnke said about the upcoming session.

Juhnke said the issues will probably be the same this year. This House will be looking at electrical deregulation, nuclear waste storage issues, crime packages and education issues.

Juhnke has joined two other members of the House DFL Caucus to form a “Minnesota Blue Dog Democrat” subcaucus, a new effort to identify and appeal to moderate and middle-income Minnesotans. “We want people to know that there are moderates in the DFL, and as our “Blue Dog” caucus grows, we will bring our party more in line with the moderate Minnesotans,” Juhnke said.

Other members of the Blue Dog Democrats are Reps. Doug Peterson, and Gene Pelowski.

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