No break for Gutknecht, Wellstone
By Angela Greiling Keane
WASHINGTON -- There's little rest for weary politicians in August.
Congress traditionally takes a break during August, leaving lawmakers time to head home or go on vacation.
But there's no vacation time built into the recess for Rep. Gil Gutknecht, a Rochester Republican, or for Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone, both campaigning for re-election.
"Basically he's everywhere," Stephanie Brand, Gutknecht's spokeswoman said of his August plans. "He's spending his time essentially traveling throughout the 1st District meeting with folks."
Gutknecht's congressional district was changed by this year's redistricting. He has a less compact district now that stretches across the southern portion of Minnesota.
"It's been very trying to reach all corners," Brand said. "He is spending some time on the campaign side of it of course, getting out to meet the new folks."
Gutknecht has already visited Farmfest, the agriculture trade show in Redwood Falls, and plans to make agriculture a focus of his discussions this month. He also plans to unveil a medical savings account initiative next week at the state Capitol and to tour the National Guard Training Center that is under construction in Mankato.
Wellstone's month will mostly involve campaigning in his race against Republican Norm Coleman.
"He's doing a bunch of different stuff," said Wellstone spokeswoman Sara Kuban. "He's, of course, on the green bus going all over the state doing different meetings."
He is taking a swing through southeastern Minnesota, including Rochester, in mid-August, campaign spokesman Jim Farrell said.
Unlike Wellstone, Sen. Mark Dayton is taking some time off. But he, unlike Gutknecht and Wellstone, is not campaigning for re-election.
Dayton isn't planning to travel outside of Minnesota during his 10 days of vacation. Rather, he adopted two German shepherd puppies and is using the time to get to know them.
"We're going to puppy class, the three of us," Dayton said. "And I'm going to be spending some time with my two sons who are home."
Dayton, Wellstone and Gutknecht all plan to spend time at the Minnesota State Fair, which opens Aug. 22.