Seifert back at school

MARSHALL – It’s been a while since Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert last held a speaking event in town.

Seifert, R-Marshall, said Monday that it’s because he’s been hitting the campaign trail hard lately, traveling around the state to meet with voters face-to-face.

One important part of the campaign has included meeting with young voters, like the 30 or so people gathered at an event held by the Southwest Minnesota State University College Republicans on Monday afternoon. Seifert outlined some of his major campaign issues for university students, and took questions from them as well.

Seifert said his more “aggressively scheduled” campaign has been heavily focused on the Twin Cities, although he’s also been around the state from Duluth to Mankato, and many places in between.

“The response has been fantastic,” Seifert said. “I can tell the support is much more broad and deep than it was four years ago.”

In keeping with the setting of his talk at SMSU on Monday, Seifert focused on topics affecting college students and new graduates, including higher education spending, new health insurance laws, and encouraging the development and growth of businesses in Minnesota.

“More and more, the government is becoming your boss, and not the other way around,” Seifert told students. He said as governor, he wanted to work to restore the balance, and bring back an “entrepreneurial spirit” in the state.

“We want to make sure you have somewhere to go, other than your mom’s garage, after graduation,” Seifert said – and though his tone was light, he said he was serious about giving young entrepreneurs a chance to succeed.

Seifert took a couple of questions about the state of education funding in Minnesota. Seifert said he would emphasize making higher education affordable through low tuition, rather than using state funding for financial aid and hoping it would trickle down to students. Minnesota also needed to stop using state education funding to subsidize for-profit colleges, and cut back on the amount of money spent on MnSCU administration instead of classroom instruction, he said.

In response to an audience member’s question about the federal Common Core education standards, Seifert said Minnesota is at an advantage in that it hasn’t fully opted into the Common Core. He said as governor, he would be against the state following Common Core standards.

Health care reform was another hot topic for students Monday. Seifert agreed that something needed to be done.

“Health care is out of control. Prices are spiraling,” Seifert said. However, he added, “MNsure and Obamacare are not the answer.”

Addressing problems like the high cost of malpractice insurance would be one way for health care providers to be able to offer lower prices, Seifert said. Another would be avoiding putting patients through more costly care options like the emergency room.

“My idea is to try and pre-triage people,” and direct them toward less costly alternatives like urgent care, Seifert said.

Seifert said he also thought Minnesotans should also be more free to choose the health insurance coverage they want, including insurance from out-of-state providers. Mandated insurance coverage wasn’t the way to go, he said.

“That’s like forcing everyone to buy a home, and saying that will solve the problem of homelessness,” Seifert said. However, he said there isn’t much Minnesota can do to get out of federal health care mandates. The laws will have to change, and that will require action from our national legislators, he said.

Seifert’s only real jab at his opponents in the governor’s race came in a reference to Gov. Mark Dayton’s responses to issues like a trio of unpopular business-to-business sales taxes.

Those taxes were passed in the last legislative session, only to become a target to be repealed during the Unsession.

Seifert said if elected, he promised to read every bill before he signed or vetoed it. Based on his record, Seifert said, “I don’t think Gov. Dayton does that.”