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Constituents line up with concerns for Walz

Area residents brought a grocery list of concerns to 1st District DFL Rep. Tim Walz as he met with constituents Friday afternoon in the produce section of Hy-Vee Barlow in Rochester.

The stop was the last in a series of "Congress on your Corner" events. Walz met with residents in Rochester, Mankato, Winona, Worthington and Owatonna. The name of the events is what U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona, called her events. She was shot and wounded by a gunman on Jan. 8 at one of the events in Tucson, Ariz. Six people were killed and 13 were injured.

Among the first in line at Hy-Vee was Richard Skillestad of Eyota, an advocate for prisoners of war. He sought Walz's help in returning the remains of 32 Minnesota soldiers listed as missing in action during the Vietnam War, he said.

"I want them home," Skillestad said.

Next up were Jim and Jean Clark who were concerned about the "mess in Wisconsin" in regards to stripping union rights.


"We don't want that to come to Minnesota," Jean Clark said.

Fritz Breitenbach of Rochester came wearing a purple "Pancreatic Cancer Survivor" cap to advocate for equal distribution of cancer research funding. Pancreatic cancer is one of five deadly cancers but receives only 2 percent of funding, he said.

Kim Anderson's list of concerns ranged from the need to soften the regulations on drilling for oil in the United States to the growing number of toxins and chemicals in food.

The Rochester woman was energized to talk directly to Walz. She said she's written letters to him but received only form letters in return, she said. Here she knew her concerns would be heard, at least after Walz's mother, who happened to be staying with his brother in Rochester, cut in line for a quick visit with her son.

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