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Former NFL standout says run for Minn. Senate prompted by 'burning desire'

MOORHEAD - Phil Hansen, a former standout college and professional football player, announced today that he'll seek the Republican endorsement for the District 4 state Senate seat in hopes of fulfilling a "burning desire" to hold political office.

Hansen said he wants to give back to the community.

"I just want to give something back to this region, where I live," Hansen told about three dozen people at his news conference at Scheels All Sports. "To those that much is give, much is expected."

He said the timing is right given the youngest of his three children has started school. Plus, he's had a continuing interest in politics.

"I've always had a burning desire to do something like this," Hansen said.

Earlier in the day he announced his intentions at a news conference in Detroit Lakes. District 4 covers Clay and Norman counties as well as parts of Becker County, including Detroit Lakes.

He said he's a fiscal conservative, and is appalled by the size of government debt.

"You live on a balanced budget, whether you're a business or a family," he said. "It's common sense, you pay as you go."

Hansen, 43, and his wife and children live in Detroit Lakes, Minn., where he started his day with a similar news conference.

He is also scheduled to speak at Dekko Community Center in Ada at 3:45 p.m.

Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, has held the seat since 1980. Langseth isn't seeking re-election.

Rep. Ken Eken, D-Twin Valley, has already announced he will seek the Democratic endorsement for the District 4 state Senate seat.

Hansen runs three summer youth sportsmanship and fitness camps, officiates high school football and basketball, works as a football broadcast color commentator for his alma mater, North Dakota State University, and runs a small landscaping and snow plowing business.

He grew up on a farm in Oakes, N.D.

As a defensive lineman at NDSU, he played on two Division II national championship teams.

He was chosen by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the National Football League draft in 1991.

He played on three of the Bills teams that made it to the Super Bowl during his 11-year NFL career. He was inducted into the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame in September.