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Emmer makes stop in Park Rapids

"This will be the most important election of our lifetime," governor candidate Tom Emmer told Hubbard County Republicans Friday. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Republican governor candidate Tom Emmer made a stop in Park Rapids Friday evening, greeted by a group at GOP headquarters who were reminded winning the November election requires "a team effort."

"We do represent the average Minnesota family," he said, introducing wife Jacquie. As a small business owner, he said he identifies with his counterparts who are struggling to make a living.

"We're running against a couple of political insiders," he said of Democrat candidate Mark Dayton and Independent Party contender Tom Horner.

"The only guy representing people living outside the Twin Cities is the guy standing in front of you," he said.

"He's the wrong guy with the wrong message," he said of Dayton. "Mark Dayton has been running for office since 1982. He doesn't understand what the average Minnesota family is feeling. We've had Democrats running on his message since 1913. Raise taxes; protect government. He's part of the political elite that does not understand what the average family is feeling.

"And the other guy voted for Obama," he said of Horner, drawing chuckles.

"We are dealing with political insiders who don't know what it's like to run a business. They don't know what it's like to fill a refrigerator with milk for seven kids. To buy a pair of pants not just for the kid you bought them for, but maybe the next one, or the one after that. They have never had to live on a budget like that. They haven't had those issues," he said of Dayton and Horner.

"It's time that people outside of government, people living with the rules, the obstacles," are elected to office.

"Let's start bringing jobs back to the state of Minnesota," he told his hoped-for constituents. "If you vote Republican, you will be voting for jobs. This will be the most important election of a lifetime.

"What we've been doing hasn't been working. We can't continue to fund expanded growth of government. We need to start representing people again, putting government back in a position of serving us, you and me.

"We'll give it every ounce of energy over the next 32 days," he said Friday. "We are going to be successful. But we need your support," he told the Hubbard County Republican contingent.

"This will be the most important election of our lifetime. If we are not successful, think about the world our kids will be left with. They will be left with debt in the next decade that they will never be able to pay off. For the first time, the next generation may not have a better life than we've had. We want it to be a generation like all the ones that have preceded us," he said.

"We'll get Minnesota back on track."

Emmer pointed out he represents Wright County, a rural agricultural county. He said there is "an imbalance. Twin Cities liberals see Greater Minnesota as their ATM machine. We disagree. The message I send is that we're about all of Minnesota.

"Government should be a resource for our agricultural community, not a regulator. Every farmer I've met in this state is an environmentalist. They see their role as protecting the land. The land is their future.

"Bigger government is not the answer."

The state must stop the outflow of businesses and jobs, Emmer said.

He's proposing more than $600 million in business tax incentives, reducing corporate tax rates by a point in the next two years, putting $30 million in hands of businesses to make capital purchases and assisting small businesses to promote hiring.

"We have a bloated, oversized government. We only have a deficit if we're committed to spending more than we have," he said, citing proposed Health and Human Services costs, which are expected to grow 32 percent in the next biennium. "We need to reform programs and educate people."

Emmer said he is proposing an increase in HHS spending by $650 million in the next biennium.

Dayton and Horner, he said, are proposing increases of $12 billion during the same period.

'That's fiscal insanity, to continue down this road. If HHS continues to grow at this level, there will be no money left," he said.

Emmer also cited spending in the general fund, which he said is not sustainable. "It's a cycle of destruction that's been going on for decades."