Dahms, McFarquhar in GOP primary for state Senate

MARSHALL — A number of Minnesota state and U.S. congressional races are headed to primary elections on Tuesday, as political parties in Minnesota narrow down their choice of candidates for November’s general election.

Republican voters in Lyon County will be choosing between two candidates for Minnesota Senate District 15, which includes Lyon, Lac qui Parle, Yellow Medicine, Redwood, Brown and part of Blue Earth County.

Republican candidates in the District 15 primary are Gary Dahms and Larvita McFarquhar. Dahms is a current Minnesota state senator, and a resident of Redwood Falls. McFarquhar is a Lynd resident.

The Independent recently gave both McFarquhar and Dahms a series of questions about issues facing southwest Minnesota, as well as their key priorities if they are elected. Below are the questions, as well as each candidate’s response.

What are the key issues and priorities you would address if you are elected?

Gary Dahms: Lowering costs for families, eliminating the Social Security tax, improving public safety, helping our kids recover from the pandemic, reducing the unilateral powers of the executive branch, helping us in rural Minnesota be able to compete, and building greater confidence in our elections.

Larvita McFarquhar: 1. Health freedom. 2. Make sure the “Never Again” Bill gets passed, so businesses could never be shut down again like mine. 3. Reduce the size of government. 4. Lower taxes by eliminating state income tax. 5. Less government and more people involvement. 6. Pro-life. 7. Pro-Second Amendment.

What will you do to make southwest Minnesota’s voice/needs heard in the state Legislature?

Gary Dahms: I have been a strong champion for our area since joining the Legislature. I have always stood up for our farmers, our small businesses, and our southwest Minnesota families. My ability to build relationships with my colleagues has allowed our area to have a seat at the table when decisions are being made at the Senate. Of course, there is more work to be done and that is why I hope to continue to be a strong voice for southwest Minnesota.

Larvita McFarquhar: I will continue to push for the needs of our corner of Minnesota with the leaders of the Senate and with the House, to ensure our taxes are used for projects in my home district.

What do you see as being the biggest challenge or challenges facing Minnesota, and how should we address them?

Gary Dahms: Inflation is the number one thing I see hurting Minnesotans today. We need to give Minnesotans tax relief to help pay their bills, cut unnecessary regulation that is driving up costs, improve our supply chains, and have the government stop spending so much of our money. That is why it is imperative we send folks to St. Paul and Washington who are focused, like I am, on battling inflation.

Larvita McFarquhar: The biggest issue is the overreach of government and not following the U.S. Constitution and the Minnesota Constitution. According to Article 4, Section 17 (of the Minnesota Constitution), all bills need to be single item bills. Unlike my opponent Gary Dahms, who signs on to illegal omnibus bills.

A number of state bonding requests for projects in southwest Minnesota weren’t passed by the end of this year’s legislative session. What can be done to address that?

Gary Dahms: Unfortunately, a bonding bill could not pass this session. The bill failed because House Democrats wanted wasteful projects in the Metro that were outside the scope of what should be included in a bonding bill. As a senior member of the bonding committee, I have made it a priority to get good local projects inserted into the bonding bill. I am hopeful we can work on these issues next session along with utilizing federal transportation dollars to fund needed local projects.

Larvita McFarquhar: I am against government debt. We need to appropriate the proper amount of money for valid projects and not saddle our children with continued debt.

What does Minnesota need to do to encourage economic growth?

Gary Dahms: First, we need to lower taxes, so we are competitive with our neighbors in South Dakota and elsewhere. Second, we need to get government out of the way by reducing unnecessary regulations. We need to allow the private sector room to innovate and create good-paying jobs. We also can’t afford to let Greater Minnesota fall behind the metro area for opportunities. That is why it is important we support our agricultural economy, improve internet connectivity in Greater Minnesota, and make investments in our infrastructure.

Larvita McFarquhar: Reduce regulations for farmers and businesses. Get government out of businesses and allowing free market economics to take over. Also a reduction in taxes and making Minnesota a welcoming state for businesses to come and thrive. And eliminate state income tax.

How can we address the ongoing need for child care in Minnesota?

Gary Dahms: We need to increase the supply of child care providers by supporting our existing providers and reducing barriers of entry for new providers. The state is overregulating our childcare providers which is driving up costs and causing many excellent providers to leave. There is no reason childcare should be unaffordable and unavailable for so many families.

Larvita McFarquhar: It is the time to address fatherlessness in the home. We need to make fathers accountable to their children, the mother of those children and to the community. Help expand home daycare or develop community daycare in neighborhoods. Community Day care is a concept that I have been working on. Since I am a mother of four girls that are now young women, I know parents in many instances have to both work. My concept is that a neighborhood start a “co-op day care,” where parents each select a day to watch each others children whether in someones home or a “community center.” There would be a nominal cost to cover utilities. And we can give back the surplus to the people!


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