Pawlenty to MSGA: You’ve got a friend in me

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty expressed support for Minnesota agriculture during an hour-long campaign stop Wednesday at the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) quarterly board meeting in Mankato.

Pawlenty, who served as Minnesota governor from 2003 to 2011, says he’ll govern under the guiding principle, “If it’s good for farmers, we’re for it.”

Pawlenty called agriculture the backbone of Minnesota’s economy, citing a study finding that 20 percent of Minnesota’s economy is related to agriculture. He thanked the MSGA board and vowed to protect farmers’ best interest if elected to succeed current Gov. Mark Dayton.

“If you’re going to be governor in Minnesota, you better be a champion for farmers,” Pawlenty said. “What we can do for our agriculture industry is incredibly important to our economy.”

If governor, Pawlenty vowed to revisit the Groundwater Protection Rule (aka Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule) and help to control farmers’ input costs.

Former Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty appeared at MSGA’s June 13 board meeting during a campaign stop in Mankato.

“I’ve got concerns with the current administration’s approach,” he said. “We’re going to have to have balanced and reasonable people (enforcing statutes), not extremists, I assure you. And the next governor is going to have a chance to revisit that (Groundwater Protection) rule.”

The former governor, who helped champion renewable fuels during his two terms in office, said focusing on the economic well-being of middle class Minnesotans will be a priority.

“The people being squeezed out are the ones working day in and day out,” he said.

Pawlenty also laid out his vision for infrastructure, taxes, water quality, rural mental health, vocational training and lowering health care costs.

“I’m quite aware of the role this group plays in advancing agriculture,” Pawlenty said. “This is a sector of innovation.”

Pawlenty hopes the earn the Republican party’s nomination during the GOP primary on Aug. 14.


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