MORRIS – Delegates at the Stevens County Republicans annual convention voiced support for resolutions to the party platform that would protect gun ownership and repeal gay marriage. Delegates also heard from candidates seeking an endorsement in the District 12A race for the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Delegates supported 13 of the 18 resolutions that were proposed during and after precinct caucuses in February. One resolution that garnered broad support would have the party support an amendment to the state constitution that would guarantee “the right of individuals to acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms” and that any restriction be subject to “strict scrutiny.”
Although many participants expressed their concern about the political implications of taking on gay marriage again, attendees also passed a resolution to repeal the state’s same sex marriage laws.
Another resolution that was passed would “promote research into the use of the ingredients of Marijuana (sic) for medical purposes” but that medical marijuana should also be ingested in ways other than smoking.
Candidates Jeff Backer and Nancy Taffe addressed the caucus, asking for their support as they both seek the Republican endorsement to run for the District 12A seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Backer, a small business owner from Browns Valley, argued that his work campaigning against incumbent Democratic Senator Keith Langseth in 2010 showed that he has the resources to be competitive in the city of Morris and Stevens County.
“There’s no doubt that Morris is not a friend to Republicans,” said Backer.
Backer compared Morris to Detroit Lakes, a city of a similar size with similar demographics, which he ended up winning with 54 percent of the votes.
Backer also touted his experience in local government, education, business ownership and volunteer opportunities.
“Rural Minnesota is already at a disadvantage with fewer legislators than we had 20 and even 10 years ago – that is why experience matters,” said Backer.
Taffe, a small business owner from Morris, emphasized her pro-life and pro-gun credentials and history in the community.
“Our one party Democrat control in St. Paul has resulted in higher taxes on hardworking families, more regulations on our farms and small business owners and our own dysfunctional version of Obamacare,” said Taffe.
“I will fight for local control of our schools and I’ll be a strong voice for equitable funding for metro and rural schools,” Taffe added.
Stevens County Republicans co-chair Steve Fults urged attendees to think towards the election in November and not disengage with the party if a favorite candidate does not get an endorsement.
“If you aren’t completely satisfied with all the Republican candidates, don’t pick up your marbles and go home,” said Fults. “Don’t be a perfectionist – we may not be able to build your perfect party, so let’s build the best campaign to win in November.”
“This year is going to be a critical year,” concurred co-chair Dan Pagel. “This House district race is one that with some hard work, if we all pull together, we can win this race back – this is a conservative district and we have no business with Jay (McNamar) representing this district.”
Republican delegates in District 12A will choose a candidate on Saturday, March 22 at the district endorsing convention in Elbow Lake.
The delegates elected to represent Stevens County at the Seventh Congressional District Republican Convention on March 28 and 29 and the Republican State Convention on May 30 and 31 included Jerry Woetzel, Del Curfman, Dan Pagel, Andrew Brevig and Steve Fults.