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Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, points to his nomination supporters during his nomination speech Saturday at Walker. He was endorsed for a seventh term to House 4B. Pioneer Photo/Brad Swenson

Republicans endorse Howes for seventh term

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WALKER -- Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, mused that should he win re-election -- and the Republicans recapture the House -- he'd be chairman of the House Capital Investment Committee.

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"If we take over the majority, I'll have the gavel to one of the most powerful committees in the state of Minnesota," Howes said Saturday to delegates of the Senate 4 endorsing convention.

They made fast work of Howes Saturday, with the dozen House 4B delegates unanimously endorsing him for a seventh term at the convention held at Northern Lights Casino.

He's currently the ranking minority member on the Capital Investment Committee, which determines public works bonding bills in conjunction with a similar Senate committee.

"I just thought of that today," Howes said. "More important, is that we need to win, we need to take the majority."

Howes has owned a campground, worked construction and served as an activist on several statewide GOP campaigns. He's also been a union member.

He faces opposition this fall from Meg Bye of Pequot Lakes, the former longtime Duluth City Council member and Duluth human rights officer. The two squared off in 2008, with Howes handily winning re-election.

Howes said he enjoys public service, especially when he can help someone. He told of an Outing couple having trouble with adopting a child from China. He finally found an official who would undo the red tape.

"All I really did was make three phone calls," he said, "but I made two friends for life."

His greatest honor, he said, was being chief author of the bill that created lifetime fishing and hunting licenses.

"I was able to buy my grandson fishing license No. 1," Howes said. "So if I'm defeated, if I get run over by a car, or if I retire, I don't think they can take that away from me."

Howes said that when people ask on how he will vote on an issue, he always tells the truth. "Most of the time, they like it. Sometimes they don't, then I know I'm involved in 10 or 15 minutes of trying to explain why."

There isn't a situation where a legislator hasn't had his feet stepped on or made enemies, Howes said. "I know I have a lot of enemies and my toes hurt a lot. But I think I've gotten a few things done."

Media have characterized the current mood in St. Paul as angry, Howes said, and that's not the way to go. "You must be cheerful," he said.

"I am not angry, I'm not angry at all," he said. "But I am determined to do the things that the people in my district want. ... God and family. That's what the people of my district want."

Howes said he represents all the people of the district, but is "solidly" conservative and the only anti-abortion legislator with a 100 percent voting record.

During a convention break, Howes told delegates that it will be a busy week as the Legislature must have its work done by next Sunday. It adjourns May 17, but no votes can be taken on that last day.

He disputed the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that said Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unallotments last year were illegal. "It was constitutional, the timing he chose was in error."

The DFL says they tried ratifying Pawlenty's unallotments but the vote failed. But Howes said attached to the bill was a provision that the cuts were temporary and not permanent budget-reducing measures. Pawlenty would not agree to that, Howes said.

Lawmakers are trying to balance the budget, but Howes said Pawlenty will never call a special session unless there is prior agreement that doesn't include tax increases.

With the mood at the Capitol switching from liberal to conservative, Howes said this election he'll be running "with the wind at my back."

Y bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com

WALKER -- Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, mused that should he win re-election -- and the Republicans recapture the House -- he'd be chairman of the House Capital Investment Committee.

"If we take over the majority, I'll have the gavel to one of the most powerful committees in the state of Minnesota," Howes said Saturday to delegates of the Senate 4 endorsing convention.

They made fast work of Howes Saturday, with the dozen House 4B delegates unanimously endorsing him for a seventh term at the convention held at Northern Lights Casino.

He's currently the ranking minority member on the Capital Investment Committee, which determines public works bonding bills in conjunction with a similar Senate committee.

"I just thought of that today," Howes said. "More important, is that we need to win, we need to take the majority."

Howes has owned a campground, worked construction and served as an activist on several statewide GOP campaigns. He's also been a union member.

He faces opposition this fall from Meg Bye of Pequot Lakes, the former longtime Duluth City Council member and Duluth human rights officer. The two squared off in 2008, with Howes handily winning re-election.

Howes said he enjoys public service, especially when he can help someone. He told of an Outing couple having trouble with adopting a child from China. He finally found an official who would undo the red tape.

"All I really did was make three phone calls," he said, "but I made two friends for life."

His greatest honor, he said, was being chief author of the bill that created lifetime fishing and hunting licenses.

"I was able to buy my grandson fishing license No. 1," Howes said. "So if I'm defeated, if I get run over by a car, or if I retire, I don't think they can take that away from me."

Howes said that when people ask on how he will vote on an issue, he always tells the truth. "Most of the time, they like it. Sometimes they don't, then I know I'm involved in 10 or 15 minutes of trying to explain why."

There isn't a situation where a legislator hasn't had his feet stepped on or made enemies, Howes said. "I know I have a lot of enemies and my toes hurt a lot. But I think I've gotten a few things done."

Media have characterized the current mood in St. Paul as angry, Howes said, and that's not the way to go. "You must be cheerful," he said.

"I am not angry, I'm not angry at all," he said. "But I am determined to do the things that the people in my district want. ... God and family. That's what the people of my district want."

Howes said he represents all the people of the district, but is "solidly" conservative and the only anti-abortion legislator with a 100 percent voting record.

During a convention break, Howes told delegates that it will be a busy week as the Legislature must have its work done by next Sunday. It adjourns May 17, but no votes can be taken on that last day.

He disputed the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that said Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unallotments last year were illegal. "It was constitutional, the timing he chose was in error."

The DFL says they tried ratifying Pawlenty's unallotments but the vote failed. But Howes said attached to the bill was a provision that the cuts were temporary and not permanent budget-reducing measures. Pawlenty would not agree to that, Howes said.

Lawmakers are trying to balance the budget, but Howes said Pawlenty will never call a special session unless there is prior agreement that doesn't include tax increases.

With the mood at the Capitol switching from liberal to conservative, Howes said this election he'll be running "with the wind at my back."

bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com

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