1113election - state
By Janet Kubat Willette
There will be new faces at the Minnesota Legislature come Jan. 6.
Some members chose not to run for re-election and others lost to challengers. In southeast Minnesota former Rep. Greg Davids, a Republican, defeated Rep. Ken Tschumper, a Democrat, to win his seat back. In central Minnesota, Republican Paul Anderson will fill Rep. Bud Heidgerken’s seat. Heidgerken chose not to run for re-election. In southwest Minnesota, DFLer Andrew Falk will fill the open seat created by Rep. Aaron Peterson’s retirement.
Overall, the Democrats won a couple more seats in the House and retained control of the Senate.
Kevin Paap, president of Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation, said the budget deficit will be the No. 1 issue before the Legislature. Gov. Tim Pawlenty will base his budget on the November forecast. The Legislature will use the February forecast.
Minnesota Farmers Union president Doug Peterson expects the Legislature to deal with the issues of raw milk, atrazine, animal rights and animal welfare, and California cars.
House ag committee makeup will probably be similar, said Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar.
Juhnke hopes agriculture has a seat at the table when it comes to distributing funds from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy amendment passed by voters. He’d like to use the money to develop individual conservation plans for farmers and hopefully provide cost-share for implementation of conservation practices.
Juhnke said it’s smart for agriculture to play offense when it comes to clean water and soil conservation.
"We’re still bullish on agriculture down here at the capital, so buckle in and get ready," he said.