MARSHALL - Minnesotans tend to demand excellence from their lawmakers, but they haven't been getting it, Mike McFadden said. McFadden, a Republican candidate in the midst of a campaign against U.S. Sen. Al Franken, said Thursday that there are a lot of areas where voters would like to see change, and he'd like to work toward those changes.
McFadden was in southwest Minnesota on Thursday, visiting Farmfest, touring a Schwan Food Co. facility in Marshall and holding a meet-and-greet session with local residents.
McFadden said his visit to the region has been a good opportunity to learn people's concerns on agriculture policy.
"I'm trying to do a lot of listening," he said. "One of the things I'm hearing is how frustrated people are." One-year extensions of the farm bill, while lawmakers can't agree on a new bill, are a bad outcome, he said.
McFadden said he was also concerned about free trade and allowing Minnesota farmers open access to markets in Asia and Europe.
"I think long term, we need access in those markets," he said.
McFadden briefly spoke about a variety of concerns he would like to address if elected.
"I'm very concerned about the direction of the country," he said. Among other issues, the nation needs to encourage economic growth and employment. "We need to work at creating good jobs."
McFadden said possible ways to help do that include making regulations less of a roadblock for businesses and simplifying the tax code.
"It's really inefficient," he said.
Health care, especially the effects of implementing the Affordable Health Care Act, was another area of concern. However, McFadden said it's not going to be enough for Republicans to simply oppose the act, as they have been doing.
"Our party isn't bringing forward any ideas," which is frustrating, McFadden said. If elected, he said, he will be "right in the middle" of the search for alternative solutions to health care issues.
"Some common sense needs to be applied to the system," McFadden said.
McFadden said his background in business would help him as a senator. He said it's given him leadership skills and the ability to get things done.
"You're elected to get things done. Keep your principles but get things done," he said.
McFadden said he will continue his campaign, with a focus on defeating Franken.
"(Franken) is absolutely beatable," McFadden said. While McFadden may not have as much money to spend on a campaign as Franken, he said fundraising results have also been positive so far. McFadden's campaign raised more than $700,000 in a single month, he said. McFadden said he's also making use of social media like Facebook to connect with voters.