DFL activists endorsed St. Olaf College Physics Professor Jason Engbrecht in the race to replace retiring GOP state Sen. Dick Day. Engbrecht, who is on the Faribault School Board, said he's focused on job creation, education and health care. When it comes to the state's budget problem, he said revenue and spending cuts need to both be on the table.
"As a scientist, I had to learn to accept the way the universe is and try to study it for what it is. And that's the approach we need to take when looking at our finances at the state level right now. There's a harsh reality that needs to be faced and the simple is that we can't fix the problem by raising taxes by itself. We can't fix the problem by making cuts by itself."
Engbrecht said he was in favor of "across the board" spending cuts but didn't specify a preference on how he would raise revenue/taxes.
He did make a hiccup on the issue of unemployment. He mistakenly said the state's unemployment rate is higher than the national average. That's incorrect. The national average is 10 percent. Minnesota's unemployment rate is 7.4 percent.
You can listen to my interview with him here: Listen
Side Note: Since Day is leaving his position to become a lobbyist for Racino, I called Engbrecht back to ask if he supported adding slot machines to the state's two horse tracks. He said he had "no opinion" on it but was willing to take a look at it. He added that it wasn't a key concern for his constituents.
I'm waiting for a call back from Mike Parry, the GOP endorsed candidate in SD26. I'll post the interview if/when he calls me back.
The Special Election is scheduled for January 26th. Waseca Mayor Roy Srp is also running as a member of the Independence Party.