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Torkelson, Kimmel discuss legislative issues

ST. PAUL — District 16B Republican Rep. Paul Torkelson of Hanska and Democratic challenger and New Ulm native Mindy Kimmel voiced their thoughts on the Minnesota legislative regular session that concluded late Sunday night without approving a bonding bill.

“I believe we will be bonding in special session,” Torkelson said. “I will gladly vote for a good bonding bill when I get the chance.”

Torkelson said he voted against the bonding bill because he thought it was too big.

“I thought it was too much debt to take on at this time,” he added. “Everybody seems to believe we will have a special session bonding bill that will pass. Plus we need to pump up the economy due to COVID-19 issues. I think transportation will do well too.”

Torkelson said he verified that Gov. Tim Walz called DFL senators and told them to vote against the Senate bill which then failed.

“I suppose he (Walz) didn’t think it was big enough,” Torkelson added.

“We had a couple late nights the last two nights of the session, going from the morning until about midnight,” Torkelson said.

Kimmel said the bonding bill is a primary legislative responsibility during the second year of the biennial.

“Too much depends on this bill, especially during this time,” Kimmel said. “Along with most Minnesotans, I believe Gov. Walz is doing an excellent job managing the COVID crisis, basing his decisions on science and fact and emphasizing protecting the lives of our people.”

Kimmel said she supports Democratic efforts to provide enough assistance to small business, farmers and communities to make a strong recovery possible.

“While we can’t be careless with taxpayer money, interest rates are low and this is not the time to be stingy,” Kimmel added. “The Republican threat to the bonding bill is partisan grandstanding that will force the legislature into a costly, special session to pass it, at greater taxpayer expense.”

Kimmel said she wants to be a greater willingness of all legislators to recognize the depth of the emergency our communities and businesses are facing, and to work together to provide help rather than score political points.

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