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DL Newspapers Endorsement - Our picks for area legislative seats

Senate District 4: Hansen

The residents of Minnesota Senate District 4 are fortunate to have two strong candidates on the Nov. 6 ballot -- Republican Phil Hansen and DFLer Kent Eken.

The district includes Detroit Lakes and the townships of Lakeview, Lake Eunice and Cormorant. It also encompasses Clay and Norman counties.

Eken, a teacher in Twin Valley, has served his constituents well over his five terms in the Minnesota House, where he has risen to a party leadership position.

But our endorsement goes to Hansen, a Detroit Lakes business owner and former pro football player.

We expect good things from Hansen, who brings a common-sense, bi-partisan approach to politics reminiscent of Amy Klobuchar.

Hansen is a high-achiever who knows how to set -- and reach -- goals.

But he is also a man with a heart, as shown by the free athletic camps he has put on for area children since he moved to the Detroit Lakes area.

Hansen believes in public service, and he is pragmatic -- he wants to fix problems and make Minnesota a better place, and is quite willing to work with Democrats, Independents or anyone else who can help him accomplish those goals.

We also like the fact that Hansen has declined to accept any campaign contributions from political action committee or other groups that might expect quid pro quo treatment if he is elected.

House District 4B: Marquart

Residents of Minnesota House District 4B have a strong advocate in Paul Marquart, and the six-term DFLer from Dilworth deserves to be reelected.

He is running against Republican Paul Sandman, who works in radio sales, has roots in Hawley and loves antique farm equipment. His political experience is limited to a year and a half as a township supervisor.

Sandman has a tough row to hoe against the popular Marquart -- who is a passionate warrior in the urban-rural battle over property tax fairness for outstate Minnesota.

Marquart understands that state action -- things like state aid to cities and counties, the Homestead Tax Credit, and sufficient K-12 education funding -- make a big difference in keeping smaller towns and regional centers across the state vibrant and livable.

Marquart has a ready ear and is very tuned into the district. He's probably the only legislator in the state that goes door-to-door every year, whether he's up for election or not.

Voters should keep Marquart's positive attitude, intelligence, political experience and passion for the people of this area working for them in the Minnesota House.

Senate District 2: Skoe

In District 2 (which includes most of Becker County) incumbent DFL Sen. Rod Skoe is being challenged by Republican Dennis Moser.

Skoe, a wild rice farmer from Clearbrook, is a conservative Democrat who has served his district well over three Senate terms.

He is an active, engaged legislator who understands the needs of his rural district well.

Skoe is pragmatic and works with anyone that will help him to get the job done. He makes himself accessible to constituents and takes his responsibilities as a lawmaker very seriously.

Moser, whose slogan is "Faith, Freedom and the Constitution," and considers himself a "Constitutional conservative" is also from Clearbrook and lost to Skoe in 2010.

Skoe is a committed, hard-working lawmaker who stays on top of the issues to make sure state tax and education policies are fair, effective -- and don't hurt the people of outstate Minnesota. He deserves to be re-elected.

House District 2B: Sailer

House District 2B includes most of Becker County and part of Hubbard County, including Park Rapids.

DFLer Brita Sailer is running against Republican Steve Green.

Green, a self-employed contractor in Fosston, won a close primary battle against Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Director David Collins.

Collins was endorsed by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the NRA, but he did not seek the Republican Party endorsement.

Green has run for the Legislature before -- in 2008 and 2010 -- and has not been successful.

We believe Collins would have been a stronger general election candidate.

As it is, we give the nod to Sailer, who has a thorough understanding of the legislative process, having served in the Minnesota House from 2005 to 2010.

During her time in the Legislature, Sailer focused on education -- and on furthering cooperation between state agencies and local government.

This time around, she wants to focus on jobs and small business -- by streamlining regulations, eliminating red tape, and providing rural Minnesota with competitive broadband.

Restoring the Homestead Tax Credit is also high on her list. Our endorsement goes to Brita Sailer.