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Lee Byberg, Republican 7th Congressional District candidate, speaks at a rally Thursday in Bemidji. He was also in Bemidji on Sunday, where he was in the Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival Parade and participated in an ice cream social meet and greet. The Willmar businessman says Washington needs new ideas and a business attitude. Pioneer Photo/Brad Swenson

Byberg says Congress needs new, fresh ideas

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Congress needs new and innovative ideas, and fresh representation, says Lee Byberg, the Republican candidate for U.S. House.

"I'm very different from Collin Peterson," Byberg said Sunday in an interview about 10-term U.S. Rep. Peterson, DFL-7th District. "I come from a private, entrepreneurial point of view. I think it's time to get business leaders involved in politics, because we know how to create jobs and we know how to be fiscally sound."

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Born in Chicago and raised in South America and his parents' native Norway, Byberg speaks with a heavy Norwegian accent.

He is currently vice president of operations of Life-Science Innovations, parent company of Willmar Poultry Co. and other affiliated companies.

Byberg worked the crowd at Sunday's Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival Parade, while his huge Greyhound-like campaign bus followed. After, he participated in a "meet and greet" ice cream social on the Beltrami County Courthouse lawn, sponsored by Beltrami Republicans.

Peterson was also in the parade, on the back of a pickup truck, but immediately left for the next parade.

Most Republicans look to Peterson's vote last year on an environmental bill containing cap and trade proposals as his downfall, although Peterson said he had no choice because he held out for agriculture concessions' and he got them. He might now vote against the measure, if those concessions are removed.

Cap and trade is a proposal where carbon emissions are capped but manufacturers exceeded the caps can purchase credits from others which make below the caps. Opponents say utilities would be hurt the most and homeowner electric bills would skyrocket.

But Byberg goes beyond that.

"He should be thinking about all the people of Minnesota,, all the citizens of the United States," and not just the agriculture community, Byberg said. Peterson is chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.

"What legacy would he leave behind him if he is the one, the leader of the Ag Committee, who caved in to a policy that is not pro-market, that's not pro-competition?" Byberg asks. "It leads into the mindset that government and the state brings the solution. That's the wrong ideology. It's not the American framework."

Byberg said the nation needs a balanced approach, using the latest in coal technology, but also wind and solar, and nuclear.

Byberg says Peterson "is a nice guy" and he respects him, but "he's not leading with the right approach."

He said Peterson flip-flopped the same way on health care, first voting against the health care reform package and now refusing to sign onto efforts to repeal it.

"On health care, yes we have an issue, we have something to solve," Byberg said. "He voted against it, now he's saying he's not going to work to replace it. He wants it both ways. Both sides of the population are unhappy with him, because he doesn't have a straight approach.

"So, he will go back and forth depending on where he sees the political wind driving him," Byberg added. "Today the issues are such that we need clarity in what kind of economic principles will give just and good solutions."

It means that Americans today must choose between "going back to the principles that require a balanced budget at the federal side, policies that will bring innovation and job creation coming from free enterprise, and not from the state or big government mandating."

Big government, as a model, has failed, he said. Just look at European nations, where big government isn't working.

"Why should we copy a system that's failing?" Byberg asks. "Let's go back to what made America strong at the very beginning. There are business leaders today, all over the country, with knowhow, capital to invest, but they are not doing so until they see clarity coming from the federal government-- policies that are pro-job creation from the private sector."

That means spending restraint, not higher taxes, he says.

"The longer we continue the spending, the printing of money, not taking the people through the process of saying what we can afford and what we cannot afford," he said, "until we go through process, I believe that job creation will be curtailed."

Instead, there will be a slow, steady gain in governmental jobs, he said. "We need free enterprise jobs to create more tax revenue for the local communities."

As a congressman, the Republican said he would work to resize government, "put it back in its proper role, but then be part of what takes to rebuild the local communities."

Many 7th District cities are either stagnant or in decline, Byberg said. "What's different between those communities that are growing is that they still have some local businesses with local ownership which are choosing to stay because they love the community."

The tax burden in Minnesota is becoming unsustainable, he said, which is leading to more lost businesses.

"If we are thinking about jobs for the next generation, we'll need to make Minnesota more job friendly," Byberg said. "By having more jobs, we create more tax revenue for the local communities to have more of the programs they want."

The difference between conservative and liberal approaches "is that the conservative approach says if you reduce the tax burden, you will create growth, more tax revenue eventually," he said, "versus adding tax rates that will kill job growth, and eventually you kill the local economic activity as well."

Peterson, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, is a deficit hawk. But Byberg said Peterson has had 20 years to make a budget imprint and the federal deficit still soars.

Byberg says Peterson's position as chairman of the Agriculture Committee is important, but at the expense of all other 7th District citizens.

"District 7 is the most agricultural district in the state of Minnesota," Byberg said. "Agriculture is huge. But we also have to understand that as agriculture keeps advancing, and it will keep advancing, while the demand for food in the world is expected to double, so Minnesota and District 7 will be strong, we need to bring policies for the farmers that helps them to be more productive and more profitable.

"At the same time, we need to think of jobs for everybody else," Byberg adds. "That means we have to create engineering jobs, bioscience, and we have to create jobs for all spectrums so the local towns can continue to grow."

If elected, he said he would focus on agriculture, energy and job creation, plus education which will dictate the competitive state of communities 10 years from now.

Byberg and his wife, Nancy, have three sons.

Y bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com

Congress needs new and innovative ideas, and fresh representation, says Lee Byberg, the Republican candidate for U.S. House.

"I'm very different from Collin Peterson," Byberg said Sunday in an interview about 10-term U.S. Rep. Peterson, DFL-7th District. "I come from a private, entrepreneurial point of view. I think it's time to get business leaders involved in politics, because we know how to create jobs and we know how to be fiscally sound."

Born in Chicago and raised in South America and his parents' native Norway, Byberg speaks with a heavy Norwegian accent.

He is currently vice president of operations of Life-Science Innovations, parent company of Willmar Poultry Co. and other affiliated companies.

Byberg worked the crowd at Sunday's Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival Parade, while his huge Greyhound-like campaign bus followed. After, he participated in a "meet and greet" ice cream social on the Beltrami County Courthouse lawn, sponsored by Beltrami Republicans.

Peterson was also in the parade, on the back of a pickup truck, but immediately left for the next parade.

Most Republicans look to Peterson's vote last year on an environmental bill containing cap and trade proposals as his downfall, although Peterson said he had no choice because he held out for agriculture concessions' and he got them. He might now vote against the measure, if those concessions are removed.

Cap and trade is a proposal where carbon emissions are capped but manufacturers exceeded the caps can purchase credits from others which make below the caps. Opponents say utilities would be hurt the most and homeowner electric bills would skyrocket.

But Byberg goes beyond that.

"He should be thinking about all the people of Minnesota,, all the citizens of the United States," and not just the agriculture community, Byberg said. Peterson is chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.

"What legacy would he leave behind him if he is the one, the leader of the Ag Committee, who caved in to a policy that is not pro-market, that's not pro-competition?" Byberg asks. "It leads into the mindset that government and the state brings the solution. That's the wrong ideology. It's not the American framework."

Byberg said the nation needs a balanced approach, using the latest in coal technology, but also wind and solar, and nuclear.

Byberg says Peterson "is a nice guy" and he respects him, but "he's not leading with the right approach."

He said Peterson flip-flopped the same way on health care, first voting against the health care reform package and now refusing to sign onto efforts to repeal it.

"On health care, yes we have an issue, we have something to solve," Byberg said. "He voted against it, now he's saying he's not going to work to replace it. He wants it both ways. Both sides of the population are unhappy with him, because he doesn't have a straight approach.

"So, he will go back and forth depending on where he sees the political wind driving him," Byberg added. "Today the issues are such that we need clarity in what kind of economic principles will give just and good solutions."

It means that Americans today must choose between "going back to the principles that require a balanced budget at the federal side, policies that will bring innovation and job creation coming from free enterprise, and not from the state or big government mandating."

Big government, as a model, has failed, he said. Just look at European nations, where big government isn't working.

"Why should we copy a system that's failing?" Byberg asks. "Let's go back to what made America strong at the very beginning. There are business leaders today, all over the country, with knowhow, capital to invest, but they are not doing so until they see clarity coming from the federal government-- policies that are pro-job creation from the private sector."

That means spending restraint, not higher taxes, he says.

"The longer we continue the spending, the printing of money, not taking the people through the process of saying what we can afford and what we cannot afford," he said, "until we go through process, I believe that job creation will be curtailed."

Instead, there will be a slow, steady gain in governmental jobs, he said. "We need free enterprise jobs to create more tax revenue for the local communities."

As a congressman, the Republican said he would work to resize government, "put it back in its proper role, but then be part of what takes to rebuild the local communities."

Many 7th District cities are either stagnant or in decline, Byberg said. "What's different between those communities that are growing is that they still have some local businesses with local ownership which are choosing to stay because they love the community."

The tax burden in Minnesota is becoming unsustainable, he said, which is leading to more lost businesses.

"If we are thinking about jobs for the next generation, we'll need to make Minnesota more job friendly," Byberg said. "By having more jobs, we create more tax revenue for the local communities to have more of the programs they want."

The difference between conservative and liberal approaches "is that the conservative approach says if you reduce the tax burden, you will create growth, more tax revenue eventually," he said, "versus adding tax rates that will kill job growth, and eventually you kill the local economic activity as well."

Peterson, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, is a deficit hawk. But Byberg said Peterson has had 20 years to make a budget imprint and the federal deficit still soars.

Byberg says Peterson's position as chairman of the Agriculture Committee is important, but at the expense of all other 7th District citizens.

"District 7 is the most agricultural district in the state of Minnesota," Byberg said. "Agriculture is huge. But we also have to understand that as agriculture keeps advancing, and it will keep advancing, while the demand for food in the world is expected to double, so Minnesota and District 7 will be strong, we need to bring policies for the farmers that helps them to be more productive and more profitable.

"At the same time, we need to think of jobs for everybody else," Byberg adds. "That means we have to create engineering jobs, bioscience, and we have to create jobs for all spectrums so the local towns can continue to grow."

If elected, he said he would focus on agriculture, energy and job creation, plus education which will dictate the competitive state of communities 10 years from now.

Byberg and his wife, Nancy, have three sons.

bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com

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