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Fischbach and other GOP candidates meet in Detroit Lakes as early voting gets underway

As early voting got underway in Minnesota on Sept. 23, Rep. Michelle Fischbach and other GOP candidates running for office in the region met in Detroit Lakes with members of the Becker County Republican Party to seek volunteers and hand out yard signs for the upcoming 2022 general election.

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Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R-Minn., chats with attendees at the Becker County Republican Party Chapter event on Friday, Sept. 23 in Detroit Lakes.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES — Ballots are officially being cast in the 2022 general election as early voting got underway statewide in Minnesota on Sept. 23.

Members of the Becker County Republicans hosted Rep. Michelle Fischbach and other Republican candidates running for state legislature at an early-voting event at their Republican Party Victory Office near Lake Avenue and the Washington Square Mall, in Detroit Lakes. About a dozen volunteers and supporters also attended the event.

As the office filled with people before the event started, whispers of Fischbach being minutes away made it clear she was woman of the hour.

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Decorations and treats were available for those attending the Becker County Republican Party Chapter event on Friday, Sept. 23 in Detroit Lakes.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Callaway resident Karolyn Zurn, who attended the rally with her husband Bill, noted they had worked with Fischbach for years. The two are members of an agricultural roundtable that Fischbach created to gather feedback about proposed or passed bills impacting farmers.

“She actually listens,” Zurn said. “There are less of us (farmers), but we all need to eat, so agriculture is an important subject.”

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Mixed with area residents awaiting Fischbach’s arrival and chatting with other Republican candidates were volunteers for the local chapter of the party. Brian Ahlsten, who moved to Detroit Lakes from the Twin Cities, said getting involved was easy.

“It’s one step, you show up,” he said.

By showing up, Ahlsten was able to share his analytical mind and assist in creating a database for the local chapter. Now, the group has a list of people who traditionally support posting a candidate sign on a high-visibility property.

While being a proactive member in supporting a political ideology that aligns with his, Ahlsten said getting involved with the local chapter also had a secondary benefit of improved people skills. Chatting with strangers about the party platform or helping people learn how to register to vote helped with his public speaking abilities.

Rick Anderson, the chair of the Becker County Republican Party Chapter, said volunteers are always welcome, as are area property owners interested in putting up a candidate sign.

Anderson has been involved in the county’s Republican Party the past eight years. He noted it all started after he met President George W. Bush in St. Cloud, Minn.

After becoming inspired to get involved, he has shared the fun with other volunteers. He also noted there are plenty of opportunities for residents to get involved, including: knocking on doors; sharing information about candidates; asking residents to place signs in high-traffic areas; and spending time at the headquarters, where voters can stop in to pick up yard signs.

Once the event started, the candidates each took their turn speaking to supporters on a range of topics.

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Rep. Michelle Fischbach. R-Minn., speaks during a meeting of the Becker County Republicans in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 23, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Fischbach spent some of her time promoting the congressional Republican's new initiative: Commitment to America . The broad plan outline highlights four main pillars, including: an economy that's strong; a nation that's safe; a future that's built on freedom; and a government that's accountable. She also pushed back on a key provision in the Inflation Reduction Act, which budgets for additional IRS employees, that was passed through Congress and signed into law in August.

"I heard (House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy) on the news this morning talking about those 87,000 IRS agents, day one, he said, day one, and it will be good to get rid of all that threat," said Fischbach. She also said people she's talked to want government officials to focus on inflation and crime and not abortion and January 6.

"They know that the Democrats are doing it," she said. "Democrats are not trying to get more police on the streets, they are not trying to protect us, they are not trying to help us with inflation."

Because of those issues, Fischbach said, she predicted Republicans would take back control of the U.S. Congress and defeat Gov. Tim Walz this November.

Dan Bohmer, the Republican candidate for Minnesota Senate District 4, which includes parts of Clay and Becker counties, said he needs a strong turnout outside of the Moorhead area because of the city's increasingly liberal leanings.

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Dan Bohmer, Republican candidate for Minnesota Senate District 4, speaks during a meeting of the Becker County Republicans in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 23, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"Because Moorhead is little Minneapolis, unfortunately, and so we need to overcome those votes in Moorhead as best we can and that's all you folks out here that are Greater Senate District 4, outside the liberal epicenter there in Moorhead, where I live," said Bohmer. "It's super, super important that you get out there and you get your friends and neighbors out there to vote. We can't let anybody sit home this election."

Jim Joy, the Republican candidate for Minnesota House District 4B, said he echoed the comments from Fischbach and Bohmer.

"I love rural Minnesota, I've got a heart and value for this area," said Joy. "We need to keep small businesses. We need to keep the crime out of here and we cannot let metro Minneapolis come up here ... and that's why we're running. We want to make sure we keep our values up here. That's important for us."

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Jim Joy, Republican candidate for Minnesota House District 4B, speaks during a meeting of the Becker County Republicans in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 23, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

He also said he doesn't want to see any retired people forced out of their homes because of inflation.

"Michelle (Fischbach) knows a lot of stuff that she can help us with on the federal level and we can help with on the State," he said.

For more information about volunteering, or to request candidate signs, call 320-761-1173.

The next Becker County Republican Party chapter meeting is Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Post 15 at: 810 West Lake Drive, Detroit Lakes.

Multimedia News Lead Reporter
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