Five candidates hoping to become Minnesota’s next governor flexed their rural Minnesota credentials at a Farmfest panel to argue their case for replacing Gov. Mark Dayton.
“We need a governor who won’t stiff-arm farmers, and will include them as partners, not adversaries,” said former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican hoping to defeat Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson in next week’s primary.
Tariffs and a trade war with China were discussed early in the panel. Each of the five candidates expressed disapproval with the Trump administration’s policy.
“This trade war needs to end,” says Democratic Congressman Tim Walz, who’s in a three-way race with Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and Rep. Erin Murphy for the Democratic nomination. “As governor, I’ll make sure that’s heard loud and clear.”
Regulation, infrastructure, taxes and health care were among the topics discussed during the genial 80-minute panel.
“The biggest problem with agriculture in Minnesota is the fact that agriculture policy is being set by bureaucrats in St. Paul,” Johnson told the packed crowd inside the Wick Building at Farmfest. “You should influence ag policy in St. Paul, and you will when I’m governor.”
Pawlenty touted his support of renewable fuels during his two terms at Governor (2003-2011).
“The unquestioned champion of renewable fuels as the governor of a state in the modern history of the country is talking to you right now,” said Pawlenty, who championed Minnesota’s move to B20. “No one has surpassed a commitment and drive to help greater Minnesota and rural America with those kinds of approaches than me.”
Swanson highlighted her role in defending biodiesel in lawsuits against the minimum blending requirement.
“I went to court to defend the biodiesel mandate, and we won that case,” she said.
The primary for both parties is set for Tuesday, Aug. 14.
“Minnesota is stronger when we recognize the state works as one,” Walz said. “This is pretty simple for people to see. We are one Minnesota that is united around a common cause.”
The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association is a non-partisan organization that does not endorse any political candidate.