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Kiscaden makes wise choice

Senator seeks re-election on Independence ticket

Sen. Sheila Kiscaden has made a wise choice in deciding to run for re-election as an Independence Party candidate.

A small number of Republican party activists chose not to endorse her for re-election in spite of her outstanding 10-year record in the Senate. Instead, the party members chose Lynn Zaffke, whose only elective government experience is three years on the Stewartville School Board.

Kiscaden's appeal is to moderate, mainstream voters and she was concerned that low turnout in the Republican Party primary would attract mostly voters on the far right who would tend to support Zaffke.

Kiscaden has said her first allegiance is not to a party but to the residents of District 30. By running on the Independence Party ticket, she can remain true to her convictions and continue to use her best judgment in serving the residents of the district.

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Kiscaden also will benefit from the fact that Tim Penny, former 1st District congressman, is running for governor on the Independence Party ticket. Penny also is a centrist and appeals to mainstream voters. Even though he entered the race late, early polls have shown him with about the same degree of support as Roger Moe, the Democratic candidate, and Tim Pawlenty, the Republican candidate.

Leaders of the National Rifle Association have attacked Kiscaden because she did not rubber stamp their plan for "concealed carry" legislation. The legislation, which failed to pass the Senate, would have given almost anyone the right to carry a concealed weapon in a society that is already oversupplied with weapons of all kinds. Kiscaden favored a more moderate version of the bill.

Running without the support of an established major party will require an extraordinary effort. Fortunately for Kiscaden, five other candidates also are planning to switch to the Independence Party -- four Republicans and one Democrat. That will give Independence Party candidates more attention than they normally would have received.

Kiscaden has always sought to serve the interests of her district and the state. Her legislative achievements are remarkable. They include:

Authorization of the University of Minnesota branch in Rochester.

Reauthorization of Rochester's half-cent sales tax.

Passage of work-based welfare reform focusing on getting people out of poverty.

Working on Minnesota Care reform and becoming a leader on health-care issues.

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Adoption law reform.

Data privacy legislation.

Gaining leadership status in the Senate despite being a member of the minority party.

Dealing courageously with very controversial issues on a regular basis.

In addition to her Senate work, Kiscaden sets aside three or four weeks a year to do volunteer humanitarian work with the Global Volunteers. She has done so four times in Mexico and also has worked in Ecuador, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Romania, Tonga, the Cook Islands and two places in the United States. This kind of record is a reflection of her character and her unselfish commitment to public service.

Finally, we believe it is important to re-elect Kiscaden not only for her sake but for the sake of this region of Minnesota. Through redistricting, political power has shifted to the metro suburban area. Rochester and the surrounding region have great potential, but they need a persuasive voice in St. Paul to represent their interests. Rep. Dave Bishop, a veteran spokesman for the region, is not seeking re-election. It would not be in our best interest to lose a second leader with stature and a positive track record in St. Paul.

Regardless of their party affiliation, we believe District 30 voters will be served most effectively by re-electing Sheila Kiscaden to the Minnesota Senate as the Independent Party candidate.

Doing so will require a determination by her supporters to go to the polls in the general election.

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