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FUTURE OF DISTRICT 27: Republican candidates promote return to rural values on Mower County tour

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Gene Dornink and Patricia Mueller at Grand Meadow campaign event

GRAND MEADOW, Minn. (KTTC) -- With Election Day getting closer, those on the campaign trail are in the final stretch.

Two Republican candidates were on a tour of Mower County as they gear up to face two longtime Minnesota House and Senate members.

"Yes I think I can make a difference. Having a dozen children, I've learned to listen," said Gene Dornink, candidate for Minnesota Senate District 27. "I believe the answers are out here."

"Our area has changed. They need to have new, fresh, unique voices that will represent them," said Patricia Mueller, a former Austin High School teacher running for Minnesota House District 27B.

Both Patricia Mueller for Minnesota House and Gene Dornink for state senate are running against incumbents who have held their positions for decades.

"I think what happens too many times is people spend too much time there and they forget where they came from," said Dornink, who supports term limits.

The candidates believe that Minnesota Congressional District 27, which includes both Freeborn and Mower Counties, is unique and full of room for growth.

"One of the reasons I love living here is that the world is coming here because of the opportunities that we have," said Mueller.

"The values of greater Minnesota are different than the metro," Dornink said. "Too often, there's that one size fits all. With the pandemic, we really saw it."

While Dornink agreed with the shutdown, he believes businesses in the district should have been opened much faster.

"We need those businesses in these small communities," Dornink said. "If we lose them, these towns start to die and we don't want that."

Dornink also says other things being spoken about in the capitol go against the values of most southern Minnesotans.

"Late term abortion, sanctuary cities, defunding the police being in there," said Dornink.

He has also been critical of state bonding bills in the past and hopes to work to blend bipartisan ideas to help projects in the district.

"Budgeting we will have be careful. We're going to have to look for the waste, the fraud and trim government," said the GOP candidate.

Both urge those in their district to pay attention to local elections as much as the presidential one.

"Local government is what's going to impact your life the most," Mueller said. "You want to have a person that's involved in the community and takes pride in what is happening here."

We reached out to incumbents Dan Sparks and Jeanne Poppe who were unable to speak on camera today. We will profile them in the coming days leading up to the election.

Alex Tejada

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