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Dave Olson, Published July 23 2010

Governor candidate vows diversion support

Margaret Anderson Kelliher vowed Thursday that if she is elected governor of Minnesota, one priority will be to make sure the state provides matching dollars to ensure that a North Dakota Red River diversion project gets built.

“Being able to make the commitment to the Minnesota part of what needs to happen next is important to me,” said Kelliher, adding that she grew up on a farm near the Minnesota River that often flooded.

“I know how devastating that can be,” the DFL-endorsed candidate for governor said during a stop in Moorhead.

State Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, said Kelliher, as Minnesota’s speaker of the house, was instrumental in securing nearly $140 million in flood mitigation and recovery funds, much of which went to communities in the Red River Valley.

“I’ve worked with Margaret Anderson Kelliher for 10 years, and what you see is what you get. And what she says is what gets done,” Marquart said.

“She knows, as we do, that in the Red River basin, the No. 1 issue is flood control,” agreed Keith Langseth, a Democratic state senator from Glyndon, Minn.

Kelliher vowed to work for a new school funding formula that would reduce the property tax burden on Minnesotans, and she said she would recommit the state to supporting higher education.

Kelliher also said she would push for $1 billion in infrastructure improvements across Minnesota.

Asked how the state can fix a budget deficit of approximately $6 billion, Kelliher said part of the solution could come from increasing income taxes on those earning $250,000 or more and closing loopholes in corporate taxes.

“That’s the reality; the tax system has become less fair,” Kelliher said.

She said cuts would also have to be made, and she vowed a crackdown on things like fraud.

“I think it makes a lot of Minnesotans angry that people would want to defraud their state government. That’s at least

$100 million,” Kelliher said.

DFL candidates for governor will square off in Minnesota’s primary Aug. 10. The primary winner will then advance to the November general election.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555