House District 27A candidates take different approaches

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 20, 2006

By Adam Hammer, staff writer

Matt Benda, the Republican candidate for the House District 27A seat, has a strong belief in common-sense government.

&8220;Government should be better, not bigger,&8221; he said.

Benda said he is a strong voice for southern Minnesota, which is important at the state Capitol because alliances are beginning to grow on a more regional platform than political.

&8220;Politics and legislating isn&8217;t always pretty,&8221; Benda said. He said it takes a lot of compromise and deliberations. &8220;As an attorney and public leader I have learned those skills and I&8217;m ready to use

them at the state Legislature.&8221;

Benda said he understands and knows the district and would be able to help the district from the state level.

Benda, 36, is a lawyer for Peterson, Savelkoul and Benda in Albert Lea. He has a wife, Heather, and two children, Ashler and Avery.

He grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota and has lived in Albert Lea for 11 years.

&8220;I care deeply about the community and that we grow and prosper,&8221; Benda said.

The three main issues Benda is campaigning on are education, long-term investment in infrastructure and economic development in southern Minnesota.

On education, Benda looks to close the funding disparity gap in state funding between schools in the metro area and those in rural Minnesota. It&8217;s not right that schools in the district receive thousands of dollars less per student than school in Minneapolis and St. Paul, he said. He proposes an equity funding approach.

Benda said he also supports state funding of all-day, every-day kindergarten and helping schools to have access to the teachers and tools they need to focus on basic curriculum.

Benda&8217;s son will enter the public school system next year.

The district needs to invest in business, Benda said, to help keep businesses here. He said it is too easy for businesses to locate across the border in Iowa.

The success of the JOBZ program in the area shows Benda that southern Minnesota is a viable location for business growth.

&8220;It&8217;s just one indication of what possibilities are down here,&8221; he said.

Benda said there needs to be long-term investments in infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

Again, there is a funding disparity between the metro area and outstate Minnesota that needs to be closed, he said.

He said the funding formula needs to based on lane miles instead of population.