By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
It wasn’t much of a contest April 29, as former Rep. Al Doty of Royalton, and newcomer Adrian Welle of Pierz, were endorsed unanimously to run as DFL candidates for the Senate District 9 seat and House 9B seat, respectively. Don Niles was endorsed as the House candidate for District 9A.
Ben Surma, a Hamline University student and Little Falls Community High School graduate, nominated Doty as the DFL candidate for Senate District 9. “Al Doty worried about the middle class before it was cool,” he said.
Surma said during Doty’s term as House 12B representative, “He stood up to make life better for rural Minnesota … Doty is a proven voice for District 9.”
Cathy Adamek, a member of the Morrison County DFL and officer for DFL Senate District 9, said, “Al has spent his life in service to others. He’s an ethical man who’s earned respect.”
Adamek pointed out that respect extended to the Legislature. She said Democratic legislators, Sen. Tom Bakk and Rep. Paul Thissen, encouraged Doty to run for office again. Doty served as House representative for District 12B, which encompassed much of Morrison and Crow Wing counties, from 2007-2010.
In his remarks, Doty said, “The three of us are going to have our names on the ballot; but everybody in this room will be part of the campaign. It has to work that way — and it works that way for one reason — we are running for what you believe.”
Doty listed several common goals: decent paying jobs in all parts of Minnesota; fair taxation and said, “Government should protect the most vulnerable among us.”
Doty said he has made the choice to be pro-life. “Abortion is a complete failure of other things that should have happened,” he said.
Part of being pro-life, he said, is also providing health care and education for children once they are born.
“Needs have to be met and they have to be met more fairly here in rural Minnesota,” said Doty. That, he said, would take educating those who represent the metro areas about what the needs are in rural Minnesota.
“The people who founded this country came here because in Europe only the wealthy and nobles owned property,” said Doty. “They started a country that not only allowed, but guaranteed everybody was equal and had a chance to succeed. Now, for the first time in 200 years, we’re going backward.”
Doty was encouraged to run for the seat in the new Senate District 9, which encompasses most of Morrison County, all of Todd County and portions of Cass and Wadena counties, because of work he did as a senior advocate.
“People who knew me in those areas remembered that as representative I voted for what was best for seniors, veterans and rural Minnesota, and they encouraged me to run for senate to represent them,” he said.
Doty, a retired teacher, served as a senior advocate, before being elected as state representative.
Doty now serves on the Camp Ripley Citizens Advisory Board, the Royalton City Council and the Pine Grove Zoo Board.
Martin Witucki offered the nomination for Welle as the House 9B candidate. “Whether it is health care, local property taxes or education, he understands the issues. He is not just talking from a podium but from experience,” he said.
“This election is crucial to send representation to the state capitol that understands the needs of rural Minnesota,” said Welle. “It is time for the burden to be taken off local governments and its residents to fund budget shortfalls.”
Welle said cities throughout the district work hard to keep a balanced budget and from increasing their levies. Property tax increases this year, stem from the elimination of the homestead market credit, not by local levy increases, he said.
Welle, who lives in Pierz and is a lifelong resident of Morrison County, said running for office has always been a part of his plans, although probably not at age 26.
“It’s time to change the system,” he said, adding the changes needed to happen for his and for future generations.
He feels he has a unique insight to what rural Minnesota is facing because of his service on the Pierz City Council and now as the city clerk/treasurer for the city of Upsala.
Don Niles, an attorney from Wadena, was endorsed as the DFL House of Representatives candidate for District 9A. House District 9A includes portions of Todd, Cass and Wadena counties.
The Republican endorsing convention for Senate District 9 will be held Saturday, May 5, in Staples.
Senate District 9 has 60 Democratic delegates, with 24 of those from Morrison County, 20 from Todd, seven from Cass and nine from Wadena.
Morrison County residents who are officers for DFL Senate District 9 include Jim Storlie and Martin Witucki of Little Falls and Cathy Adamek and Gary Gannon of Randall.