Seifert touts job growth and changing state funding system

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Former state House of Representatives Minority Leader Marty Seifert is on the road this week spreading a messages of “common sense government,” job growth and economic reform as part of his campaign for governor.

Seifert, R-Marshall, who stopped at Albert Lea City Hall on Tuesday to meet with area residents, said the government has gotten out of control and needs to be pushed back.

He said when he’s traveled around the state he has met people and business owners who’ve had a hard time moving forward because of the government. This causes the state to lose too many businesses to Wisconsin or Iowa, he noted, and this is unfortunate.

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At the end of the day, Seifert said, people need to ask what is the role of the government. They need to ask how things can be done in a more efficient manner. Right now the government is too big and too cumbersome, he noted.

Regarding health care, Seifert said he is against the plan in Washington, D.C., up before the Legislature right now.

He said the solution to the health care crisis actually comes in developing a free market for health insurance.

When there’s a free market, the prices go down and quality goes up, he said. Right now in Minnesota three insurance companies control more than 80 percent of all the people with insurance.

With a quasi-monopoly in any given place, Seifert said, the prices will go up.

He gave the example of car insurance. He said car insurance is not a huge issue where people complain about not being able to get insurance. That’s because there’s a nationwide market, he said.

Regarding education, Seifert said he does not think the federal government has any right to be running Minnesota’s schools with the No Child Left Behind Act.

“Minnesota knows how to run its own schools, and I don’t think the federal government needs to step in there.”

He said he thinks there is a broken formula for both local government aid funding and how state funding to schools is determined.

Students need more academic contact time with their teachers, as it is at the lowest it’s been in the state’s history.

Regarding welfare abuse, he said Minnesota needs to develop a system where people with welfare cards need to only use their cards in this state. Those people need to have a photo ID that matches the name on the card, they shouldn’t be able to get any cash back, and they should be restricted from buying items such as cigarettes and alcohol.

“If I were governor, I would veto the welfare bill until we got reform,” he said.

Currently, 10,000 to 20,000 people per year move to Minnesota for one of the state’s four welfare programs, Seifert said. This needs to change, he said.

He said in the upcoming election Republicans need to choose a leader who is electable and principled — someone who will not change their values but who can reach out to conservative-minded Democrats and Independents.

That person needs to be the voice of the people.

He said he’s proven to be able to reach out to conservative Democrats and independents to get elected to his own seat in the House of Representatives.

Seifert said if he’s elected as governor, he will be aggressive in demanding more reform.

Meanwhile, during the upcoming legislative session, people should expect him to balance representing the Marshall area and hitting the governor trail. He said he obviously won’t be the spokesman for the party.

He is serving his seventh, two-year term in the state House of Representatives.