Entenza makes local push for state auditor
With the Aug. 12 election primary fast approaching, State Auditor candidate Matt Entenza is spending the final days of the campaign touring the state, as he looks for support in his attempt to wrest a spot on the November election ballot away from his fellow DFL’er, incumbent State Auditor Rebecca Otto.
Entenza’s campaign led him to the Detroit Lakes Newspapers office this past week, where he talked about the three main issues that he wants to make a priority if elected.
One of them is protecting Social Security from privatization.
“We need an auditor who will do more to protect seniors’ pensions,” Entenza said.
“I believe it’s part of the auditor’s role to protect pensions from privatization and Wall Street, to ensure that hard-working people get the benefits they deserve, and their retirement is never compromised,” he added.
Entenza is also concerned by what he perceives as “a growing inequity between rural schools and some wealthy suburban districts in the Twin Cities.”
He pointed specifically to one school district in Eden Prairie, which has a heated indoor field on which to hold its football practices.
“For our finances to stay strong in rural Minnestoa we need to make sure we improve the equity between rural and metro schools,” he added.
Entenza is also a strong proponent of local government aid as a means of strengthening the economy in rural communities like Detroit Lakes, East Grand Forks and Moorhead.
A former state legislator, assistant attorney general and white collar felony prosecutor, Entenza said that his work often brought him out to greater Minnesota, including Becker County, where he regularly prosecuted cases in the local courthouse.
“I’ve been coming to Detroit Lakes for over 25 years,” he said. “I think we need an auditor who has actually spent time in rural Minnesota and worked here… someone who has a passion to help rural communities.”
Entenza also commented about the recent voter ID controversy that has become a point of contention between him and Otto.
Entenza still contends that Otto supported new voting rules when she served in the House that would have required people to show photo identification at the polls — despite the fact that a state Office of Administrative Hearings panel rejected his claim against Otto.
The controversy came to a head when a supporter asked Otto on Facebook whether she voted in favor of voter ID while in office.
“Did you really vote for voter ID? That is a concern for me,” asked a woman named Lauren Marie.
Otto responded by saying, “No, Lauren. It was not around in 2003. No one can find a bill on the issue when I served. Disappointing Matt [Entenza] will say anything on this issue.”
Entenza’s campaign then filed the complaint alleging Otto had misrepresented her record and was violating a state law designed to combat false campaign claims.
Though Entenza’s complaint was dismissed, he said the reason was not because Otto didn’t vote in favor of a May 2003 bill that would have required voters to produce a photo ID at the polls.
Rather, he said, it was because the panel found that Otto had not deliberately lied in her statement, but “was confused.”
“In 2003, I voted against the bill and Rebecca voted for it,” he said.
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.