Anderson seeks change in U.S. Senate

MARSHALL — Bob Anderson said he considers himself a “common-sense conservative,” one focused on finding ways to help all Minnesotans. But as a political outsider, he also had the opportunity to change things up in our national government, like President Donald Trump has.

“I think we can change the culture in the Senate,” Anderson said. “It should really be about serving.”

Anderson, who is running for U.S. Senate in the Aug. 14 Republican primary, made a stop in Marshall on Tuesday. Anderson is seeking the Senate seat currently held by Tina Smith.

Anderson said he’s been traveling around Greater Minnesota and meeting with voters, and so far the response has been positive.

“The momentum is huge,” Anderson said of the campaign. The Hastings resident said it’s also been a learning experience, as he hears from Minnesotans about the issues that affect them. Agriculture has been a major topic of discussion with Greater Minnesota residents, he said.

“I can appreciate what they’re talking about with their soybeans,” Anderson said. While farmers have said they support the president, at the same they’re feeling a real sense of anxiety over tariffs on American ag exports, as well as recent severe weather drowning out crops, he said.

If elected, Anderson said he plans to use what he’s learned to bring forward farmers’ concerns.

“I think it’s an overall area where they need a voice. I will be a voice for them,” Anderson said.

Anderson said other key areas he’s campaigning on include health care reform, encouraging trades careers, and improving access to mental health care.

Anderson said he has experienced anxiety and depression, and 15 years ago he started working to raise awareness and break the stigma on mental health issues.

“I was fighting for mental health parity,” Anderson said. He even started a cable access television show to support the mental health parity act supported by Sen. Paul Wellstone. The act requires insurance companies to treat mental health care coverage the same as physical health care.

“I didn’t like the way (the act) was passed, under TARP,” the Troubled Asset Relief program that bailed out banks in 2008, Anderson said. But having access to mental health care is still a crucial issue today, he said.

“I want to make sure people get the mental health treatment they need,” he said. Less stigma and better access to treatment could help prevent shootings and acts of violence, he said.

Anderson said health insurance reform was also a key issue for him.

“I want an affordable option out there. I want more competition, not less,” Anderson said. Having a public option to compete with private insurers could help set more competitive prices, he said.

Anderson is also bringing his experience as a business owner to his campaign. Anderson is a dental technician who started working in his family’s business. He said he wants to be an advocate for more young people entering trades.

Anderson said he was in support of term limits, and wanted to focus on making a difference instead of benefiting from being in office.

Anderson voiced support for Trump on issues like enforcing border security, and said Trump was working to bring back business to the U.S. At the same time, he said, he didn’t like the divisions growing in the country. He wanted to focus on Minnesotans’ common ground and finding solutions to shared problems.

“I want us to unite. I want us to have civil dialogue,” Anderson said.