Attention candidates: Candidate questionnaire to be printed in the Aitkin Age – Email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org, please limit in entirety of 250 words or less. Deadline: Friday, July 15, 9 a.m.
Community service groups/organizations:
Prior city, county, or school civic service: (Boards/commissions, etc):
Campaign contact: (website, Facebook page, etc.)
If elected, what is your top priority for the 2023 Legislature?
County Commissioner District 5 – Anne Marcotte
Ann Marcotte, Aitkin County Commissioner, District 5, has filed for re-election.
Commissioner Marcotte was first elected in 2010 and as such, she brings years of experience to the county board. She has been an active board member having served on a number of committees. Currently, she is Chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission which addressed a record number 46 conditional or interim use permits in 2021.
Since 2017, she has been Board Chair of Northern Counties Land Use Coordinating Board (NCLUCB). (www.nclucb.org) In 2021, NCLUCB authorized a study to examine the legislative intent and the distribution of PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) and whether a county’s PILT equals, exceeds or underpays relative to what the county property taxes would be on the tax-exempt PILT land. Marcotte explained, “I testified at the Tax Committee presenting our PILT study and requested an increase in PILT. These additional PILT dollars will have a major impact on the Aitkin County budget and would be a continuing revenue source of potentially over $500,000 per year.”
Marcotte was recently re-elected District One Director on the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) Board advocating for rural county issues and working to protect the enjoyment of our small communities knowing an estimated 80% of all bills introduced into the Minnesota State Legislature have some sort of impact on counties. Marcotte stated, “It has been my privilege to serve as an Aitkin County Commissioner and it would be an honor to be re-elected. I promise to continue to promote economic development in our County to increase our tax base and to tackle our labor market shortage to ensure services are maintained. I respectfully ask for your continued support, Vote Marcotte!”
Ron Kresha – District 10A
Address: P.O. Box 181, Little Falls, MN 56345
What is your occupation: Chief Operating Officer
Community service groups/organizations: Our Lady of Lourdes Chuch
Prior city, county, or school civic service: (Boards/commissions, etc): State Representative 9B
Why are you running for office? I believe in servant leadership. My father and grandfather instilled the importance of public service and actively taking on leadership roles in the community. As I have traveled the newly formed House District 10A, I continue to be impressed by the families, entrepreneurs and community leaders who dedicated their time and energy toward future development. I want to harness that passion and carry that voice of success to the MN House of Representatives so our area isn’t ignored.
If elected, what is your top priority for the 2023 Legislature? Passing a budget that helps families survive the upcoming recession and downturn. The people of 10A need reduced tax liabilities, an improving economic climate and a better outlook for 2023. The State should lower the individual economic burden caused by the global, rising inflation.
What do you see as key issues in your legislative district? Economic growth and a fair business environment.
What will be your approach to the budget in terms of spending and taxes? Be as specific as possible. Public safety issues and curbing criminal activity are major concerns among Minnesotans. What would you want to see in legislation addressing these issues?
Right now the dark clouds of uncertainty hang over everyone’s head. Public confidence in our economy is at an all-time low from the record-setting inflation and recession we are experiencing. Every night people hear about more and more crime and drug activity. The State budget must reflect those concerns by reducing individual tax liabilities and assisting local communities with more public safety funds. Economic security and public safety are critical to our future success.
Nathan Wesenberg – District 10A
Nathan Wesenberg has launched his campaign to be the state senator for District 10, which includes Morrison, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Aitkin, Benton, Kanabec and Isanti counties.
Wesenberg was born and raised in Little Falls and still lives there with his wife Dr. Jenny Wesenberg and their three children. A lifelong Republican, he is a trained wildlife biologist and worked for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He has been an active organizer in Morrison County pushing back against what he said was illegal and unconstitutional lockdowns. He has successfully advocated and won lifting a mask mandate for kids at Our Lady of Lourdes. “The science is very clear that COVID doesn’t aggressively target children and these policies were negatively affecting our youth,” he said.
“People want a fresh face who isn’t a part of the political class and someone who will fight for their values, not be a rubber stamp for party leadership,” he said. “Our country is not recognizable to the one I grew up in,” Wesenberg said. “We need to fight back now, to save our nation for our children and future generations.”
Wesenberg said he is running to stop what he described as illegal and unconstitutional COVID policies as well as to institute election integrity with voter ID laws, auditing and disclosure of the voter rolls, pass Constitutional Carry, restoring constitutionally protected rights, Stand-Your-Ground laws to protect families and businesses, Life At Conception legislation and “ending income tax laws that steal from people and to punish criminals who commit violent crimes.”
Wesenberg will be on the Tuesday, Aug. 9, Republican primary election ballot.
John Ulrick – District 10B
Address: 37844 73rd St, Hillman, Minnesota 56338
Occupation: Farmer, retired military, and owner of a manufacturing facility
Community service groups/organizations: MLMB (Mount Morris, Lakin, Morrill, Buckman) First Responders, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Wounded Warrior Project, Farm Bureau.
Why are you running for office? I am running for Minnesota House 10B because I believe with my experience and wisdom acquired throughout my life and my willingness to listen to the people, I can inspire new thinking in St. Paul to get our state government back under control.
If elected, what is your top priority for the 2023 Legislature? Voter integrity is number one, we must change our voting process and ban the ways to cast illegal votes. Second priority is pro-life, I believe that life starts at conception, we must ban abortions or limit when they can be performed.
What do you see as key issues? All of them listed above to include medical freedom.
What will be your approach to the budget in terms of spending and taxes? We need to return the tax surplus back to the people, defund programs that have not performed, defund abortion programs, cut taxes and stimulate the economy. All future surpluses should be required by law to be returned to the people, not spent on new programs. I believe that we must provide funding to law enforcement all the way down to the frontline medical first responders for training, equipment and new programs. We need to pass Constitutional Carry, Stand-your-Ground and Castle Doctrine. We need to change our education system and give control of the educational system back to the parents.
Jim Newberger – District 10
Address: Milaca, Minnesota, 56363.
Occupation: Property management/operations and maintenance director, former over-the-road trucker and retired paramedic.
Why are you running for office? My prior district included a large part of our new district. I became familiar with the issues facing the folks who live here. I am concerned about the governor’s abuse of executive powers. We must stop this runaway inflation.
My top priorities if elected? Protect our kids. Stop the use of drive-up voter ballot boxes. Enact legislation that will keep the DNR off of our farmers’ backs. Make it illegal for state agencies to transfer funding to pay for abortions.
What do you see as key issues? Farming, tourism, logging and mining. The biggest problem most of these have is over-regulation and over-taxing. Taking care of veterans is also a priority for me. We must continue to support our energy industry. We must stop taxing Social Security. This is a double tax on people. We are over-taxing our citizens while sitting on one of the biggest budget surpluses in our history. Give the surplus back to the people. If this cannot be agreed to, the surplus should be spent on tax relief and paying off Minnesota’s debt.
I worked side-by-side with law enforcement and firefighters. We need to do everything in our power to recruit and retain good officers and increase penalties for those who choose to riot or shut down roads while protesting. I support Constitutional Carry and the Stand-Your-Ground laws.
Wild card: Benton County Republicans held an official convention for their top choice for this race. I won in the first round with 88%. I am pro-life. I am pro-Second Amendment.
Steve Wenzel – District 10
Occupation: Professor of Political Science, Central Lakes College and executive director, Gordon Rosenmeier Center for State and Local Government, Central Lakes College.
Groups: St. Mary’s Church, Little Falls; Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, Little Falls Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus, Central Lakes College Foundation, and recent chair on Minnesota State Commission, Center for Rural Policy and Development, 2009-2021; Minnesota and Morrison County Historical Societies, Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley and the American Political Science Association.
Why are you running for office? I made the decision to run because I am convinced that our great state and nation are on a dangerous, perilous course due to the policies of the Walz-Biden administrations. I feel obligated to do all that I can to alter and reverse the course we are on. I will propose new policies that will help change the direction to one which serves families, farmers and working people; policies that will protect unborn human life and end taxpayer funding of abortions; policies that will increase economic growth and job creation; new policies to improve basic education in our schools and colleges and changes in state law that will improve public safety. I believe my background as a lifelong resident of Morrison County, my experience as a legislator for 28 years representing the people of Morrison, Mille Lacs and Morrison counties, my service in President George W. Bush’s administration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and my work as a college professor of political science will enable me to effectively represent the people of District 10 in the Minnesota Senate.
Blake Paulson – District 10B
Address: 750 Penn St., Foley, Minnesota
Occupation: Worship director.
Groups/organizations: Becker Evangelical Free Church, NRA, MN Young Republicans.
Why are you running for office? I was inspired, even “challenged,” to run by these words from Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same… .”
What is your top priority? To establish myself right away as a principled legislator who is accountable to his constituents. Legislatively, I have several priorities: I will support measures to ensure the integrity of our elections. As a result of the long-overdue overturning of Roe v. Wade, we can expect the Democrats to fight tooth and nail to make Minnesota the go-to place for abortions, inviting women from all the surrounding states. I will work with other conservative Republicans to find a way to impede that from happening and to pass pro-life legislation that will save lives. Another concern is to prevent and combat the introduction of an un-American curriculum in our public schools. I will also assist where the environmental lobby is forcing the shut-down of fossil-fuel powered, reliable generation of electricity. Our state has tremendous natural resources and farmland that can create more jobs, opportunity and a better way of living if the government and its regulations would just get out of the way.
What will be your approach to the budget? I believe our state’s budget “surplus” should be returned to the people – and companies – who actually paid the taxes that created it.
Isaac Schultz – District 10B
Address: P.O. Box 279 Upsala, Minnesota.
Occupation: Auctioneer; district director.
Groups/organizations: President of the Minnesota State Auctioneers Association, Sons of the American Legion, American Legion Boys State counselor, Boys and Girls Club, National Auctioneers Association
Why are you running for office? I love Minnesota, my family’s roots run deep in this district. My family has lived and worked here for five generations. God-willing, my fiancé Julia and I look forward to raising a sixth generation here. I am running because Minnesota deserves better.
I believe life begins at conception and ends at natural death. I support the Second Amendment. Minnesota needs to be more affordable. Going to the grocery store and filling our gas tanks should not be such a financial burden.
Minnesota’s hard-working taxpayers deserve a break. Return the budget surplus back to those who paid the taxes and eliminate our state’s income tax. Minnesota needs voter ID and stronger election integrity laws. We need to let our kids be kids. There is no place for CRT or progressive sex education in our schools. School choice is a must. Our law enforcement, armed forces and first responders always have our backs. I will continuously support them and fight for all their needs.
Government agencies like the DNR have run amuck under the control of Gov. Tim Walz. Mille Lacs Lake has suffered, our farmers and small business owners have suffered, and most of all, the people of Minnesota have suffered. We must return the power to the people.
I will be your voice, and together we can make Minnesota a great place to live, work, play and raise a family.
Charles Parins – District 10A
Address: 11878 Zebulon Shores Dr., Little Falls, Minnesota.
Occupation: Township official and retired community servant.
Groups/organizations: A lifetime member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA), American Legion Riders (ALR), and National Guard Association of MN, as well as a member of the Minnesota Association of Townships, Freedom Flight, Inc., La Societe Des – 40 Hommes Et 8 Chevaux, National Rifle Association (NRA), Lone Eagle Auto Club and ATV Association of Minnesota.
Why are you running for office? To make a positive impact for the citizens of Minnesota House 10A. If elected to run for House District 10A as a personal means of greater service to the communities of the district and the state overall.
What is your top priority? Decrease the overall tax burden within our state as part of the budgeting process. Minnesota is one of the highest taxed states within the U.S. (in the top 10). Minnesota relies on nearly every tax known to mankind. There needs to be a deliberate choice and limitation on types of taxes that still meet the basic needs of government. Taxes that allow for redistribution of income are not warranted for providing services.
Seeking the greatest opportunities for our senior citizens to stay in their homes is a key issue.
Inflation is also crushing our way of life in out-state Minnesota. Policy-makers legislating from the Twin Cities are making it more and more difficult for rural Minnesotans to maintain their way of life, from day-to-day living expenses, agriculture and energy policies, as well as our tourism and recreation opportunities. Another key issue is Constitutional Carry.