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Candidate for Congress says opponent's claims about his energy policy are misleading

I first met Glen Menze during the winter of 2009-10, while competing with him (and two other candidates) for the Republican Party endorsement for the U.S. House of Representatives for the 7th Congressional District.

All four candidates agreed to abide by the endorsement, and unite to replace the Collin Peterson/Nancy Pelosi Congress. I was surprised and disappointed to learn that Glen chose to violate his word and run on the Independence Party ticket.

It appears that Glen's ambition has caused him to "misunderstand" my position on energy policy. He recently wrote that I support a Western European-style energy tax system, alluding to my Norwegian heritage.

First of all, it is true I am a dual citizen by default. I was born in America and went to high school in the Telemark region of Norway, and then chose to leave my family and make America my home at age 19. I am a proud American by choice, as well as birth.

My decision to make America my permanent home was heavily influenced by what I see as the failure of Western European progressive economics and politics. Past generations, myself included, left Norway and family for the American dream and by default kept our connection to Norway.

For Glen to make this an issue belittles the connection between our two countries and dishonors the price millions paid for the American dream.

Many energy taxes and credits are levied for the express purpose of directing investment dollars into more and newer forms of energy. I believe it is proper for the federal government to create incentive for businesses to pursue any and all energy sources that will meet the rapidly accelerating worldwide demand for energy.

Another reason to develop all possible forms of energy is to eliminate the most significant energy tax we will ever pay: the blood and treasure paid to protect the flow of oil from hostile regimes, most of which are located in the volatile Middle East.

I have worked diligently with local energy leaders from the Willmar Municipal Utility and the Kandiyohi Power Cooperative to create a framework for an all inclusive energy policy based on free market principles and not cap and trade.

I am once again disappointed in Glen Menze, as he distorts both my record and my position on this critical aspect of U.S. domestic and foreign policy. -- Lee Byberg, Willmar

(Byberg is the Republican-endorsed candidate for the 7th Congressional District seat held by Collin Peterson)