Benson leaning on health care repeal, economics to win seat

Published 9:48 am Tuesday, January 21, 2014

AUSTIN — State Rep. Mike Benson said his opposite stance on health care and the economy will help him oust U.S. Rep. Tim Walz from office this fall.

Benson, R-Rochester, last summer declared he would challenge Walz when he threw his hat into the race for Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District. He is one of several Republican challengers for the seat and visited Austin and surrounding communities on Monday. Benson said if he wins the 1st District Republican Convention in April, he’ll put Walz to task over “Obamacare.”

“After winning the convention,” Benson said, “I’m devoting my full attention to beating Tim Walz in November.”

Mike Benson

Mike Benson

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Benson made it clear repealing the Affordable Care Act would be one of his major focuses, of which he criticized Walz for not only supporting but overtly celebrating. Benson, a 30-plus-year employee and leader of the U.S. Postal Service and recent economics professor at Crossroads College in Rochester, fears the economics of Obama’s plan and wants to help repeal it.

“The government taking over 6 percent of our economy couldn’t be a good thing,” he said.

Benson pointed out how young, uninsured people still aren’t signing up for health insurance under the new act and said premiums for Minnesotans are on the rise. He said the health insurance marketplace needs to be more like the auto insurance marketplace, not driven by regional expenses and open to interstate competitions.

Benson reiterated repealing the act is the only way to fix the health care system.

“The only way to improve it is to appeal it,” he said on Monday.

Among the health care stance, Benson said he sees the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp benefits, and a new federal farm bill. Benson said the two issues should be separate. Furthermore, he simply stated the government needs to cut spending, instead of just trying to rebalance it without results.

Benson last summer met with supporters in Austin at the Mower County GOP picnic and again in a political meeting last month.

“We will be back a number of times between now and April 5,” Benson added.

Precinct caucuses begin across the state on Feb. 4. The Republican 1st Congressional District Convention will be on April 5 at Southwest Middle School in Albert Lea. The candidate forum will be held the night before that, at Wedgewood Cove Golf Club in Albert Lea.

Benson, 58, faces some GOP competition, including Jim Hagedorn, 51, of Blue Earth, and Aaron Miller of Byron.