Freshman Minn. lawmaker jumps into U.S. Senate race

  • Article by: RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 8, 2012 - 9:47 PM

GOP's Kurt Bills said he wants to take "Econ 101 to Washington."


Rep. Kurt Bills, R-Rosemount, shared a moment with his 5-year-old daughter Olivia after announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Thursday.

Photo: Marisa Wojcik, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Announcing his run for the U.S. Senate, Republican state Rep. Kurt Bills said he wants to "bring Econ 101 to Washington."

Speaking from his hometown of Rosemount, Bills said that "I've been teaching economics at Rosemount High School. ... I've watched in great detail the various deficits and debt that our county has have grown to shockingly large proportions." The freshman legislator took both parties to task for the borrowing problem: "It doesn't seem to matter who is in charge," he said.

Bills said Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar may be well-liked but is still beatable because she has not helped shrink the deficit and has helped clear the way for "the federal takeover of our health care system."

Klobuchar, who has $4.6 million in campaign funds in the bank and one of the highest approval ratings of any Senator in recent polls, said that she too is concerned about the country's debt.

"Senator Klobuchar has supported bipartisan solutions to reduce debt in a balanced way while fighting for policies that support economic growth. She will continue to put Minnesota first regardless of her opponent," said Justin Buoen, Klobuchar's campaign manager.

Bills spent just a few minutes answering questions before cutting the news conference short, saying he had to return to the Capitol and a scheduled committee meeting. He said he would get into details on his proposed cuts to the federal budget later.

"Today's all about getting to know me and where I come from," Bills said.

Bills, 42, supported Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul and has said that he has strong libertarian leanings.

Earlier this year Bills proposed measures to study the adoption of an alternative currency system by the state "in response to the abdication by the United States Congress of its constitutional duty to regulate the value of its money."

He said he would abide by his party's endorsement, which means Bills will drop out if his party backs someone else at its state convention in May.

Former Republican state Rep. Dan Severson, war veteran Pete Hegseth, fugitive felon Jack Shepard, Republican activist Harold Shudlick and frequent candidate Bob Carney also are vying to be the GOP nominee against Klobuchar.

Rachel E. Stassen-Berger • Twitter: @rachelsb

  • related content

  • Dan Terrell held a sign backing the Senate candidacy of Rep. Kurt Bills. Twin 10-month-olds Ade­laide and Emelia Bockwinkel were there because their mom, Sarah, is a former high school student of Bills’.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters