Sparks pledges to reclaim senate seat

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 19, 2002

District 27 Senate candidate Dan Sparks pledged to reclaim the seat for the DFL from Republican Grace Schwab during a visit to Albert Lea Thursday.

Among other issues, Sparks placed stable funding for public education as a priority. Saying Schwab’s vow to help education is a sham, Sparks said, &uot;She said she was going to be an education senator. But, we can prove from some of the votes she has taken that it is not necessarily true.&uot;

District 27 now includes a part of Fillmore County due to the redistricting decided by the Supreme Court. Sparks believes the redistrict gives a greater chance to increase his ballots since Sen. Schwab is hardly familiar with the new area.

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Sparks will also face Independence Party candidates. One of them, former KAAL-TV anchor Terry Kelley, had previously sought the DFL endorsement but lost to Sparks.

&uot;I am not going to worry about him. I am going to just focus on my campaign,&uot; Sparks said. &uot;I don’t know if anything is proven about what he is.&uot;

Sparks, a 34-year-old Austin native and loan officer at Farmers & Merchants State Bank in Austin, emphasized his ties with the region through his customers, many of which are small businesses. He used to work in production at Hormel, sold real estate and helped out on his grandfather’s farm.