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Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert makes visit to Park Rapids

Marty Seifert, center, and John Carlson, right, a candidate for Senate Dist. 4, greet Roald Fuglestad Thursday. Seifert spoke before an audience of about 25 on his aspirations to downsize state government. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Republican candidate for governor Marty Seifert made a whistle stop appearance in Park Rapids Thursday evening, reminding his audience the state is at a fundamental crossroads.

"I love this state too much to see it become a smaller California," he said of people exiting the Pacific state at a rate of 1,000 per day. "They are leaving behind a bureaucratic nightmare."

Minnesota government is the state's largest employer, he said. "Government is too big, too expensive and has too much power. We need to downsize," he said of "fundamentally deconstructing state government.

"And that person in Washington is crushing the country, billions at a time," he said of President Obama. He took exception to the federal government micromanaging schools, citing No Child Left Behind. Historically, decisions on schools have been made at the local level, he said. "Somewhere along the line, the federal government became involved."

Seifert said he's running on "fundamental principles," noting "this is a wonderful state, a great place to raise a family. But it's a tough place to do business."

Minnesota, he reminded his audience, has the third highest corporate tax rate in the world. "And we're now competing with countries like South Korea." He cited corporations such as Medtronic's move to Texas as examples of the state's attrition.

Initiating an enterprise like Schwan's "would be ludicrous now."

Seifert said he and wife Traci recently spent nine hours filling out paperwork for a business, neighboring states requiring a fraction of this. "We're drowning entrepreneurship."

He's proposing a "structural downsizing of government... We will offend," he predicts.

Seifert suggests the state sell a portion of government owned land, noting the state is the fourth biggest landowner in the country.

He pointed out the state is facing a zero balance in budget reserves, "a sad testament to Democrat-run government.

"It's critical to win the governor's race," he told the 20-plus group of Republicans, "or we're looking at a single party rule."

But Seifert cautioned he cannot win with just the GOP vote. "We have to grab people who share our perspective, our values," he said of conservative Democrats.

"Government is a self-serving bureaucracy," he said, "a parasite that kills its host."