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GOP candidates speak at Stevens County Republicans Convention

MORRIS, Minn. - Four candidates looking for local support for the November elections spoke at the Stevens County Republican's county convention last Friday night.

Rep. Torrey Westrom, who will be seeking the District 12 Senate seat this fall, said he will need support from the district to win the election.

"As you know, the redistricting map changed District 12," Westrom said. "After looking at the seat, talking to my wife, we prayed about it, talked to many supporters, our kids our family, and we decided this was the right opportunity and right time to make a change."

Two candidates seeking the endorsement to run for the District 12A House seat, which Westrom is vacating, also introduced themselves.

Scott Dutcher, a member of the Brandon City Council and Executive Board of the Republican Party of Minnesota, told the group that it is important to bring conservative values to St. Paul.

In the next two years, Dutcher said it would be important to balance the state budget, repeal "Obamacare," end "the discrimination against our kids in the education finance system," develop a real national energy policy and protect second amendment rights in Minnesota.

Jeff Backer, a resident of Browns Valley who previously ran for the Minnesota Senate in District 9, outlined his experience as a small business owner, volunteer EMT, city council member and mayor.

Backer said he is pro-life - "I believe that life starts at conception and ends at natural death" - and believes that the state needs to learn to live within its means.

Lee Byberg, a Willmar businessman running for the U.S. Congress in Minnesota's 7th District, said he had learned lessons from his first campaign two years ago against incumbent Rep. Collin Peterson.

"I don't think we can win if this is about Lee Byberg or Gretchen Hoffman or anybody else against Collin Peterson because the system is built in such a way that 80 to 85 percent of his fundraising comes from outside Minnesota and/or special interest groups," said Byberg. "What we are working on is a movement of people coming together ... to rededicated ourselves to the Constitution.

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