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A GUIDE TO THE CONGRESSIONAL RACES: MINNESOTA

18 minute read
TIME

MINNESOTA

Population (1994): 4,496,000 (up 2.2% from 1990), 1.8% of U.S. total

Voting-age population: 3,362,000; 1994 turnout, 53%

Median age: 32.5 years

Median household income: $33,644 ($1,380 above U.S. median)

Unemployment: 3.4% (2.2% below U.S. average, March 1996) Last presidential election: Clinton (D): 43% Bush (R): 32% Perot (I): 24%

Congressional delegation: Seven Democrats, three Republicans

Minnesota’s German and Scandinavian roots are reflected in its strong individuals, respect for work and generous social programs. Minnesotans take care of their own–the top 78 of the state’s companies contribute 5% of their earnings to charity–and citizens participate in their government via local precinct caucuses. It’s the land of 10,000 lakes and the Mall of America, the home of the Mayo Clinic and the state bird, the loon. These days the state of moderate Hubert Humphrey is also home to one of the nation’s most vociferous antiabortion groups, as well as its most liberal Senator.

RUDY BOSCHWITZ (R) SENATE CHALLENGER

BORN: Nov. 7, 1930, Berlin, Germany EDUCATION: Johns Hopkins U, B.S., 1950; New York U, LL.B., 1953 FAMILY: Wife, Ellen; four children RELIGION: Jewish MILITARY: Army, 1954-55 OCCUPATION: Retailer POLITICAL CAREER: Republican National Committee, 1971-78; U.S. Senate, 1978-90 ADDRESS: 7415 Wayzata Boulevard, Minneapolis 55426. Tel.: 612-545-9696

Boschwitz, the German-born founder of Plywood Minnesota, faces a rematch with the unknown who unseated him in 1990 by 1% of the vote. He says Wellstone is a liberal with an itchy wallet, while he supports a conservative fiscal policy. On social issues, however, Boschwitz, in more moderate Minnesota, has distanced himself from the radical right wing of his party.

THE ISSUES

Budget NR Medicare NR Defense NR Abortion NR Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia NR NAFTA NR Welfare NR National Service NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “Our election in 1996 is about the year 2000 and beyond. It’s about the kind of America we and our children and grandchildren will live in…It’s about smaller government, lower taxes and individual responsibility.”

PAUL WELLSTONE (D) SENIOR SENATOR

BORN: July 21, 1944, Washington EDUCATION: U of North Carolina, B.A., 1965, Ph.D., 1969 FAMILY: Wife, Sheila; three children RELIGION: Jewish MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Professor POLITICAL CAREER: Democratic National Committee, 1984-90; U.S. Senate, 1990- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 65588, St. Paul 55165. Tel.: 612-643-0828

Wellstone, the stocky upstart who shocked Minnesota politicos with a victory in 1990, faces the same man this year; now, however, Wellstone’s the incumbent. He has also ruffled stodgy senatorial feathers with his wardrobe and rambunctious speeches, but the former Carleton College professor has earned respect for his solid liberalism: he’s the only Senator running for re-election who voted against the recent welfare-reform bill.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare YES National Service YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I don’t want to be glib, but I think in general, politics in the country…has become quite harsh and sometimes brutal. Debate is sharp, and people go after you.”

GIL GUTKNECHT (R) District 1 (Southeast–Rochester; part of Mankato)

BORN: March 20, 1951, Cedar Falls, Iowa EDUCATION: U of Northern Iowa, B.A., 1973 FAMILY: Wife, Mary; three children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Real estate broker; school-supplies salesman; auctioneer POLITICAL CAREER: Minnesota House, 1983-94; U.S. House, 1994- ADDRESS: 1530 Greenview Drive, S.W., Suite 109, Rochester 55902. Tel.: 507-252-1450

Gutknecht has had to dodge a fusillade of negative ads in this campaign–not from challenger Mary Rieder but from the AFL-CIO, which targeted him as part of a $35 million effort to unseat G.O.P. freshmen nationwide. Still, Gutknecht says Medicare is growing too fast and favors proposals to slow spending on it. He has also vowed to take no more than a third of his funding from PACs.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense YES Abortion YES Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: [On Medicare] “The No. 1 worst thing we could do is to do nothing. The second worst thing would be to allow Medicare to become a political, partisan issue.”

MARY RIEDER (D) District 1

BORN: Feb. 18, 1942, Grand Rapids, Mich. EDUCATION: Aquinas College, B.A., 1964; Iowa State U, Ph.D., 1973 FAMILY: Husband, Edmund; four children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Financial adviser; college professor; economic adviser; university official POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: P.O. Box 9250, Rochester 55903. Tel.: 507-545-2011 After dropping out of the 1994 primary due to lack of funds, Rieder is back, this time with more money. A Winona State University professor, Rieder wants to use her economics expertise to balance the budget. She won the endorsement of Hillary Clinton, who visited the district in September. Rieder has also renewed a 1994 campaign pledge she called “Buck the Debt,” vowing to donate $1 from every campaign contribution to reduce the national debt.

THE ISSUES Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “America must recommit to its historic spirit of community…we will ultimately solve our nation’s problems within our families and our communities.”

DAVID MINGE (D) District 2 (Southwest–Willmar)

BORN: March 19, 1942, Clarkfield EDUCATION: St. Olaf College, B.A., 1964; U of Chicago, J.D., 1967 FAMILY: Wife, Karen Aaker; two children RELIGION: Lutheran MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: U.S. House, 1992- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 364, Montevideo 56265. Tel.: 320-269-6382

On Election Night 1992 Minge went to bed thinking he’d been defeated, only to wake up and find he had won by 569 votes; in 1994 he won just 52% of the vote. Despite those close calls, Minge has kept an independent streak, often voting with his party on social issues, but supporting key G.O.P. ideas like term limits and a balanced-budget amendment. This Labor Day weekend, he hit the campaign trail on his bike, riding 160 miles in three days–a tradition since 1992–and is ready for a tense rematch against conservative Gary Revier.

THE ISSUES Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion YES Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO* Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I don’t think this is a safe congressional district. I see this as a challenging race, and I’m sure [Revier] thinks so too.”

GARY REVIER (R) District 2

BORN: Dec. 18, 1946, Redwood Falls EDUCATION: Redwood Falls High School, diploma, 1964 FAMILY: Wife, Nancy; three children RELIGION: Lutheran MILITARY: Navy, 1964-67 OCCUPATION: Tire-and-service company co-owner POLITICAL CAREER: Redwood Falls city council, 1971-79, mayor, 1979-84, 1991-94, board of education, 1986-89; Republican nominee for U.S. House, 1994 ADDRESS: 115 First Avenue East, Shakopee 55379. Tel.: 612-445-0760

Revier hopes this race won’t be deja vu all over again: he lost to David Minge in 1994. This time Revier is pushing a $548 billion tax cut over six years, balanced by cuts in the Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts. He proposes block grants to fight crime, and though he supports tough sentencing for crimes involving guns, he defends the right to bear arms.

THE ISSUES Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NR Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “We need to lock up criminals, and not in country-club jails.”

STANLEY LEINO (D) District 3 (Western Twin Cities suburbs–Bloomington; Minnetonka)

BORN: Feb. 4, 1963, Eveleth EDUCATION: U of Minnesota, B.A., 1986; Hamline U, J.D., 1995 FAMILY: Wife, Lynn; one child RELIGION: Lutheran MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Administrative assistant POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: 7118 France Avenue North, Brooklyn Center 55429. Tel.: 612-897-0673

Leino has built his campaign on three issues: education, entitlements and the environment. He strongly supports student loans for higher education and wants more attention to public education rather than giving out vouchers to attend private schools. Juggling two part-time jobs during the campaign, Leino says entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid should stay under federal control. And he wants regulations on business in order to preserve open space for future generations.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NR Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “My party endorsed me to do a job: get Newt Gingrich out of the Speaker’s chair and preserve our children’s future.”

JIM RAMSTAD (R) District 3

BORN: May 6, 1946, Jamestown, N. Dak. EDUCATION: U of Minnesota, B.A., 1968; George Washington U, J.D., 1973 FAMILY: Single RELIGION: Protestant MILITARY: Army Reserve, 1968-74 OCCUPATION: Lawyer; legislative aide POLITICAL CAREER: Minnesota Senate, 1981-90; U.S. House, 1990- ADDRESS: 8100 Penn Avenue South, Suite 104, Bloomington 55431. Tel.: 612-884-0266

Ramstad is looking for a fourth term to continue tackling the deficit: in 1996 he was rated the No. 1 deficit hawk in the House by the National Taxpayers’ Union. A recovering alcoholic, he sponsored a bill in August to fund a $3 million study on alcoholism, and often speaks on the subject. A long-time politico, he met President John F. Kennedy in 1963 at the same, now famous Rose Garden ceremony attended by a young Bill Clinton.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense YES Abortion YES Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “[The G.O.P. freshmen] made some mistakes. We tried to do too much too fast, exerting too much influence, and we were being perceived as extreme.”

DENNIS NEWINSKI (R) District 4 (St. Paul and suburbs)

BORN: Aug. 21, 1944, Minneapolis EDUCATION: De LaSalle High School, diploma, 1963 FAMILY: Wife, Sharon; four children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Machinist POLITICAL CAREER: Republican nominee for Minnesota House, 1988; Minnesota House, 1991-93; Republican nominee for U.S. House, 1994 ADDRESS: 480 Cedar Street, Suite 580, St. Paul 55101. Tel.: 612-222-6918

After a brief stint in the state legislature, Newinski is using some innovative methods to run for Congress. His lawn signs, for instance, are decorated with opponent Bruce Vento’s name and a red slash, with the caption 20 years is too much. For his part, Newinski says he will fight tax hikes, work to get more prisons built and institute inmate work programs where wages earned go toward restitution for victims.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare NR Defense YES Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “The true poverty in the United States is a poverty of moral values. The greatness of America starts at home.”

BRUCE VENTO (D) District 4

BORN: Oct. 7, 1940, St. Paul EDUCATION: U of Minnesota, A.A., 1961; Wisconsin State U, B.S., 1965 FAMILY: Divorced; three children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Science teacher POLITICAL CAREER: Minnesota House, 1971-76; U.S. House, 1976- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 65254, St. Paul 55165. Tel.: 612-298-1412

Vento hopes the Fourth District, which hasn’t elected a G.O.P. Congressman since 1948, will stick with tradition and give him an 11th term this fall. The former science teacher has been at the forefront of environmental issues, favoring taxes on high-level energy users, stronger clean-water and clean-air laws and increasing fees charged to companies that mine on public lands. Vento got a scare in 1994, when Dennis Newinski made a strong showing for the seat.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO* Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “These past two years, the Republican majority has gone too far. They have attacked our commitment to the environment and to quality education.”

MARTIN SABO (D) District 5 (Minneapolis and suburbs)

BORN: Feb. 28, 1938, Crosby, N. Dak. EDUCATION: Augsburg College, B.A., 1959 FAMILY: Wife, Sylvia; two children RELIGION: Lutheran MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Public official POLITICAL CAREER: Minnesota House, 1961-78; U.S. House, 1978- ADDRESS: 2425 East Franklin Avenue, Suite 310, Minneapolis 55406. Tel.: 612-377-7534

Sabo won his first election at age 22, and at 58 is still enormously popular. Even after redistricting in 1992 and 1994 lowered the number of Democrats in the Fifth, he has never won with less than 62% of the vote. Sabo was a tenacious champion for raising the minimum wage, and from his position on the Appropriations Committee he works to get research funds for the University of Minnesota and help the high-tech companies flourishing in his district.

THE ISSUES Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “A livable minimum wage is an essential extension of the work ethic. It tells individuals that work is important and should be rewarded appropriately.”

JACK ULDRICH (R) District 5

BORN: July 17, 1964, Minneapolis EDUCATION: Drake U, B.S., 1986; U of Minnesota, M.A., 1991 FAMILY: Single RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: Navy, 1987-89; Naval Reserve, 1989-95 OCCUPATION: Government-affairs director; political-advocacy official POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: 3109 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 55408. Tel.: 612-824-8810

Running against a popular incumbent who reviles the Contract with America, Uldrich combines G.O.P. policy with his own detailed agenda. He would spare Social Security and Medicare, for example, but cut expenditures by raising the age of retirement in proportion to the increasing life-span. He supports tax policies that reward savings and investment, and the Bipartisan Clean Congress Act, which limits PAC contributions.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “Government should only do that which the individuals cannot do for themselves. By following this simple rule, government can still play a useful, but much smaller, role in our lives.”

TAD JUDE (R) District 6 (Eastern, southern Twin Cities suburbs)

BORN: Dec. 13, 1951, St. Cloud EDUCATION: U of St. Thomas, B.S., 1972; William Mitchell College of Law, J.D., 1977 FAMILY: Wife, Gail; six children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: Army Reserve, 1971-77 OCCUPATION: Vending-company owner POLITICAL CAREER: Minnesota House, 1973-83, Senate, 1983-89; sought Democratic nomination for U.S. House, 1992; Republican nominee for U.S. House, 1994 ADDRESS: 1656 Hastings Avenue, Newport 55055. Tel.: 612-768-8786

Jude is campaigning on three issues: taxes, taxes and fewer taxes. He wants a $500-per-child tax credit, a capital-gains tax cut and a balanced-budget amendment. Jude joined the G.O.P. in 1992, claiming the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party had become too left-wing, and lost a nail-biter to William Luther in 1994.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NR Abortion YES Guns NR Gays NO Bosnia NR NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “[T]he next generation will be the first in American history that cannot expect to be better off than the previous. The outrageous debt accumulated by the Federal Government is a shameful situation, and it must change.”

WILLIAM LUTHER (D) District 6

BORN: June 27, 1945, Fergus Falls EDUCATION: U of Minnesota, B.S., 1967, J.D., 1970 FAMILY: Wife, Darlene; two children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Minnesota House, 1975-77; Minnesota Senate, 1977-94; U.S. House, 1994- ADDRESS: 1399 Geneva Avenue North, Suite 103, Oakdale 55128. Tel.: 612-730-4288

While most members of Congress fight the label of career politician, Luther is proud of his 22 years as a legislator. He recently began a bipartisan effort, with Gil Gutknecht of the First District, to offer taxpayers $363 million in savings over five years by capping the number of political appointees at 2,000. He also returns to his district every weekend for “listening sessions” with constituents.

THE ISSUES Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NR Bosnia NO NAFTA NR Welfare NO* Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “We need to get a handle on the budget. The annual deficits being run up by the government act like a multibillion-dollar lead weight tied to the ankle of our economy.”

DARRELL MCKIGNEY (R) District 7 (Northwest–Moorhead; part of St. Cloud)

BORN: July 22, 1965, Villard EDUCATION: Carleton College, B.A., 1987 FAMILY: Single RELIGION: Christian MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Political-advocacy executive; congressional aide POLITICAL CAREER: Republican nominee for Minnesota House, 1986; sought Republican nomination for Minnesota Senate, 1992 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1265, St. Cloud 56302. Tel.: 320-202-8166

Faced with limited name recognition, McKigney has turned his campaign into a scathing critique of the incumbent, centering on his opponent’s acceptance of PAC money. McKigney promises to limit his own PAC money to one-third of total contributions and pays tribute to the virtues of a balanced budget, tax cuts and the eradication of the IRS. He steers clear of divisive social issues–good politics in a politically moderate district.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense YES Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “People have little confidence in their influence in government. They feel their Congress is being bought by special-interest groups.”

COLLIN PETERSON (D) District 7

BORN: June 29, 1944, Fargo, N. Dak. EDUCATION: Moorhead State U, B.A., 1966 FAMILY: Divorced; three children RELIGION: Lutheran MILITARY: National Guard, 1963-69 OCCUPATION: Accountant POLITICAL CAREER: Minnesota Senate, 1977-87; sought Democratic nomination for U.S. House, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988; U.S. House, 1990- ADDRESS: 2423 West Division Street, Saint Cloud 56301. Tel.: 320-202-0314

Peterson tried five times to get his seat, and now he means to keep it. His congressional record mirrors the concerns of his district, filled with farmers and laborers who look to government aid but vote conservative on social issues. He has championed sugar-beet growers by forming the anti-NAFTA caucus and opposed gun control. Nevertheless, his past two victories have been squeakers: 2% in 1994 and 1% in 1992.

THE ISSUES Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia YES NAFTA NO Welfare NO* Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I’m not against tax cuts, it’s just that I feel like spending needs to be cut and the budget needs to be balanced before we cut taxes.”

ANDY LARSON (R) District 8 (Northeast–Iron Range; Duluth)

BORN: Feb. 25, 1930, Pine County EDUCATION: U of Minnesota, B.A., 1953; William Mitchell U, L.L.B., 1958 FAMILY: Wife, Barbara; seven children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer; accountant; municipal judge POLITICAL CAREER: Municipal judge, proctor, 1961-73; Republican Party district chairman, 1993-95 ADDRESS: 315 West Michigan Street, Duluth 55802. Tel.: 218-733-1385

Larson was once a law student by day and a Northern Pacific railroad clerk by night. If he wins this seat, he promises to allow more development in the Boundary Waters Area and Voyageurs National Park. He sounds many G.O.P. themes, like lower taxes and less government.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I’m in the mold of Newt Gingrich and the freshman Republicans. We need to reform government and create more and better job opportunities.”

JAMES OBERSTAR (D) District 8

BORN: Sept. 10, 1934, Chisholm EDUCATION: College of St. Thomas, B.A., 1956; College of Europe (Brussels, Belgium), M.A., 1957 FAMILY: Wife, Jean; six children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Language teacher; congressional aide political career: Sought Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, 1984; U.S. House, 1974- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 465, Duluth 55802. Tel.: 218-723-8813

The son of an iron-ore miner, Oberstar has an unflinching belief in the good of government. He voted against NAFTA, and as a member of the Aviation Subcommittee, he helped arrange KLM’s investment in Northwest Airlines and its repair facilities in Duluth and the Iron Range. He parallels his district’s conservative values, opposing both gun control and abortion.

THE ISSUES Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “The reductions in Medicare, Medicaid, student loans, child-nutrition programs…are a massive transfer of wealth from middle class to the 1% upper stratum of society.”

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