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Guest column: Compromise is critical in state leadership

By Joe Pacovsky

I am Joe Pacovsky and am on the 27A primary ballot to be the DFL challenger to Peggy Bennett. I have not been actively campaigning due to the pandemic, although as I review Rep. Bennett’s record I am ready to challenge her. Greater Minnesota, including 27A, was facing many problems before the pandemic hit. Now the obstacles are even greater. Rep. Bennett’s numerous votes against the bonding bill and other negative positions reinforces my view that 27A needs a change in representation. I will look for compromise and not trivial excuses to vote against progress for our state.

Joe Pacovsky

My reason for running is a concern for the economy and missed  opportunities for the people of 27A. I am the candidate who will  improve the economic competitiveness of our area by restoring healthcare, increasing public education funding, upgrading roads and continuing to improve our environment. I will work towards bipartisan support for increased state aids for local governments, public education and highways. Minnesota’s failure to maintain historic levels of state aids has resulted in higher property taxes hurting the farmers, homeowners and businesses of 27A. Minnesota needs policies that keep current and attract new employers to rural Minnesota.

We need new approaches to education, including pathways to high-paying skilled trades like welding, plumbing, machining and electrical work. Rep. Bennett’s sponsorship of a constitutional amendment expanding parent’s rights would have weakened the public schools that we depend on in rural Minnesota. This amendment would have resulted in tax resources being diverted to private schools and away from public schools. 

An issue hurting our competitiveness is the high cost of medical services and the loss of those services. This is putting our health and safety at risk. It is astounding that 27A taxpayers are paying for state aid to Destination Medical Center (Rochester) while at the same time losing our local medical services and paying the highest medical costs in the state. The remaining uncommitted destination Rochester funds should be made available to 27A and other areas where Mayo has devastated services. What is needed is a bipartisan effort to restore health services to rural Minnesota.

This is the ideal time for a large bonding bill. There are essential projects throughout Minnesota. Minnesota’s economy is in shambles and needs jobs that these projects will create. Currently, interest rates are at historic lows, and it makes more sense to employ workers to build these projects than to pay unemployment benefits. For Rep. Bennett to vote no to the bonding bill and play politics with so many needs in 27A and the state is unacceptable. Her no vote eliminated repairs to the flood-prone areas on East Main and further completion of the Blazing Star Trail.      

I was raised on a farm in rural Glenville, the oldest of six children. I am married to Katherine and have three daughters and 10 grandchildren. I graduated from Glenville High School, Austin State Junior College and University of Minnesota with a mechanical engineering degree and a graduate degree in industrial and management systems engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I retired to rural Hayward after 36 years in the utility industry — the last 27 years as manager of Marshfield Utilities, a Wisconsin Municipal Utility with more than $100 million in assets.

I strongly believe that 27A needs progressive leadership with experience to deal with difficult situations.

Joe Pacovsky lives in Hayward and is on the primary ballot for the DFL District 27A seat.