CANDIDATE PROFILE BOX; Gil Gutknecht
Address: 3936 Birmingham Lane N.W., Rochester.
Family: Married, three children.
Work history: Eight years as school supply salesman in southeastern Minnesota, also worked as auctioneer.
Education history: University of Northern Iowa, bachelor's degree.
Community activities: Volunteered as auctioneer to help raise more than $2 million for groups such as 4-H, Pheasants Forever and the American Cancer Society.
Government history: Minnesota House of Representatives, 12 years; first elected to Congress in 1994. Serves as chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Operations Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry; vice chairman of the Science Committee; and a senior member of the Budget Committee.
Contact information: Phone, 1-800-750-1994 or (507) 252-1450; e-mail, email@example.com; fax, (507) 252-1458; Web site, www.gilg.org.
Top three issues:
1. Budget concerns -- balancing it.
2. Prescription drug costs.
3. Agriculture issues
I share the values of Southern Minnesota- faith, family, hard work, thrift and personal responsibility. I would be honored to continue representing them in Congress.
Five questions of the candidate:
1. Is the United States pursuing the right course in Iraq? Yes.
2. Do you support making permanent the tax cuts enacted under President Bush? Yes.
3. Do you favor expanding the military? No.
4. Do you favor federal school test standards? No.
5. Should the federal government block the import of prescription drugs? No.
By Mike Dougherty
Congressman Gil Gutknecht's first campaign for Congress in 1994 was based around the tenet of balancing the federal budget. After achieving this goal, federal red ink has returned to the ledger.
"We got the budget under control and did well for five or six years, but we've slipped out of the saddle in the past few years," Gutknecht acknowledged. But he says he's hopeful things have been righted. "We passed a very tough budget in the House, and if the economy continues to grow at the rate it is and we control spending, we'll have the budget back in balance in a few years."
Gutknecht, a Rochester Republican seeking his sixth two-year term representing the 1st District, says the budget remains his top priority. But during his last term, Gutknecht sought out information on why there's disparity in prescription drug costs between the United States and foreign countries. Soon, he'd found an issue that put him together with members of Congress from both parties. Gutknecht has pushed to allow U.S. consumers to have access to markets for Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs from facilities in 25 industrialized countries that are approved by the FDA. He continues to look for ways to bring less costly prescription drugs to this country.
He's risen in seniority during the first five terms he's served, and now is chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Operations Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry as well as vice chairman of the Science Committee and a senior member of the Budget Committee.
The 1st Congressional District, which stretches across the southern tier of Minnesota from South Dakota to Wisconsin, takes Gutknecht on a regular path past some of the most ripe "wind farm" areas in the state and country. It's captured his attention. He's working with others to entice a couple of entrepreneurs to Minnesota to build what could potentially be the world's most efficient wind turbines, he says. The next generation of wind turbines might be able to create energy much cheaper than other modes, Gutknecht said, noting that wind turbines built today are twice as efficient as they were five years ago.
He also remains optimistic about the U.S. war on terrorism.
"The reports we get are that many of the terrorists at large are not from Iraq," Gutknecht said. "If we fight these guys, let's fight them over there and not over here. Overwhelmingly, the Iraqi people appreciate what we've done and don't want the United States to leave.
"It's a difficult situation and a very dangerous part of the world, but I have a much more optimistic view of the situation. If we can create a much more representative democracy, we will see progress in that region of the world."