Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Randy Demmer is candidate for 1st District

By Janet Kubat Willette
jkubat@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 10/25/2010 3:45 PM

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Randy Demmer says the United States is headed in the wrong direction and he wants to go to Washington to help turn the country around.

"We need representation in Washington that understands the importance of agriculture," said Demmer, a candidate for the 1st U.S. House District. The district stretches from Wisconsin to South Dakota along Interstate 90 and includes the bottom two tiers of counties. Brown, Nicollet and Wabasha counties are also in the district.

Demmer says he understands that the private sector and small businesses are the growth engine of the country and that the United States can't go down the path of buying its way to prosperity.

He wants to stop the growth and expansion of government, increase job creation in the private sector and promote personal responsibility over government oversight.

"What America needs are more opportunities to grow our private sector economy - not more government micromanagement, out-of-control spending and ill advised bailouts," Demmer writes on his website.

Congress has to find ways to keep the government lean, rather than taking more money from the private sector, he said.

The 1st District, Demmer said, is a leading agricultural county in the nation. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, it was the tenth largest district in the nation in the sale of agricultural products. The federal government needs to focus on areas of success, like agriculture and let Americans compete in a global economy, said Demmer, a free trade supporter.

Instead, the government is imposing costs on agriculture, be it the health care takeover or cap and trade. Those costs affect the ability of agriculture to compete in the worldwide market and put the United States at a competitive disadvantage, he said.

Demmer says there needs to be a safety net, which the farm bill provides, but he favors programs that do not skew and give incentives for planting or growing certain crops. Sometimes, farm policy has been overly supportive of planting one crop over another, he said, prompting farmers to go against market conditions and overproduce that commodity based on the government incentive.

He would also look for geographic fairness in the farm bill. If Republicans take control, Demmer said Rep. John Boehner, a member of the House Republican Leadership, has told him he would sit on the House Agriculture Committee. He is also hopeful he would gain a seat if the Democrats retain control.

Demmer favors an extension of the ethanol and biodiesel tax credits. The credits, he said, are investments made as a society to help spur additional growth in this sector. The money allows the new and fledging industries to grow, reinvest and become more efficient. Ethanol and biofuels are great economic development for southern Minnesota, the state and the country, Demmer said.

When it comes to transportation funding, he said the nation needs a good, solid system of transportation.

"I think it's about setting priorities," Demmer said.

The country doesn't have unlimited resources so Congress needs to make choices, he said. He puts a priority on infrastructure for the sake of commerce and safety.

On the issue of the shortage of skilled health care professionals in rural areas, Demmer said the government shouldn't get involved in managing workforces. Rather, the market should figure it out through a system of supply and demand.

He's concerned about the government coming in and trying to micromanage those types of things. Government should take care of infrastructure, rules and regulations, he said.

Another issue related to the workforce is immigration. Demmer said the United States must have control of its borders and know who is coming in, be it immigrants coming to work, drug traders or terrorists. The country must control who is coming in, he said. There must be a system in place so the government knows when visas expire and so employers can verify who is coming to work for them.

Businesses, he said, by and large, want to make sure they are hiring legal citizens and want to have a system in place where they can verify someone's immigration status.

Immigration is a very delicate, very complex issue, Demmer said, and there should be consequences if someone comes here illegally. He would look differently at folks who have solid employment and children who are citizens than folks who are not working and who are not saying out of the law enforcement system.