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Minnesota Lt. Governor candidate Matt Birk makes tour stop in Bemidji

Minnesota Lt. Governor candidate Matt Birk made a quick stop during a "Heal Minnesota" tour for a meet-and-greet event on Tuesday at Bemidji Aviation Services.

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Minnesota Lt. Governor candidate Matt Birk deplanes on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, during a tour stop at Bemidji Aviation Services.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI — Minnesota Lt. Governor candidate Matt Birk made a quick stop during a "Heal Minnesota" tour for a meet-and-greet event on Tuesday at Bemidji Aviation Services.

His day started with a stop in Crookston at noon, followed by Fergus Falls at 2 p.m., before landing in Bemidji around 3:45 p.m. Meanwhile, Minnesota Governor candidate Dr. Scott Jensen visited Winona, Worthington and Grand Rapids earlier in the day and would later make a stop in Brainerd at 4:45 p.m.

After shaking hands with the around 40 people in attendance at the Bemidji airport, including area legislators and several Bemidji school board candidates, Birk spoke for about 30 minutes on a wide range of topics.

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Bemidji school board candidate Marie Claire Richey shakes hands with Minnesota Lt. Governor candidate Matt Birk on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, during a tour stop at Bemidji Aviation Services.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Republican legislators pose with Minnesota Lt. Governor candidate Matt Birk on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, during a tour stop at Bemidji Aviation Services. Pictured from left: Steve Green, current House 2B representative and Senate District 2 candidate; Matt Birk; Matt Grossell, current House 2A representative and candidate; and Matt Bliss, current District 5A representative and 2B candidate.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

"Thanks so much for being here, it's an honor to be standing here as a Lieutenant Governor candidate," Birk said. "I'm here because, like a lot of you, I'm concerned. After what we've seen the past few years — it's not a Republican or Democrat issue — it's just bad government making decisions and policies for their party, not the people. The government is supposed to be there to serve its citizens."

He referenced displeasure with how current politicians, including current Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, handled issues and situations related to the coronavirus pandemic citing lockdowns, mandates and the riots that took place in the Twin Cities area.

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Birk is a former football center who played in the National Football League for 14 seasons and spent most of his professional career playing for the Minnesota Vikings. After detailing the series of circumstances that led him to run for office alongside Jensen, he explained his motivation for moving from a football career to wanting to work as a state politician.

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Headwaters Republican Women President Lisa Richards poses for a photo with Minnesota Lt. Governor candidate Matt Birk on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, during a tour stop at Bemidji Aviation Services.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Minnesota Lt. Governor candidate Matt Birk speaks on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, during a tour stop at Bemidji Aviation Services.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

Birk referenced wanting to cut taxes, including eliminating the social security tax, reduce government overreach and mandates, support and create access to education, and help improve industry and agriculture in the state.

"We're going to unleash mining, farming, logging, we're going to encourage young people to start businesses by removing some of those barriers to entry," he said. "We're going to get our schools going again and put parents back in control of the education system. We're going to send a message that bad guys don't win in Minnesota. ... Let's show Minnesota, regardless of Republican or Democrat, what a good government looks like."

Birk also mentioned how those supporting the Democratic party had spent millions of dollars on negative campaign ads against him and Jensen and their stance against abortion.

"I don't mind, because I believe all life has dignity and should be respected," Birk commented. "We've raised more money than any Republican candidate in the history of Minnesota. It's not from billionaires and millionaires, it's from everyday people like you. ... We have over 43,000 individual donors to our campaign. People are sending in their hard-earned dollars to support us."

Before taking questions from the crowd, he encouraged everyone to spread the word and exercise their right to vote on Nov. 8 and thanked those in attendance for coming and supporting the pair.

"It's been unreal, it's been a blast. I've learned a ton and love getting to meet people like you every day," Birk said. "I get to hear people's stories and hear what they need. I know this is important and I'm grateful that God has me standing here before you today."

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Minnesota Lt. Governor candidate Matt Birk speaks on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, during a tour stop at Bemidji Aviation Services.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Attendees listen to Minnesota Lt. Governor candidate Matt Birk speak on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, during a tour stop at Bemidji Aviation Services.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Steve Green, current House 2B representative and Senate District 2 candidate, shakes hands with Minnesota Lt. Governor candidate Matt Birk, right, on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, during a tour stop at Bemidji Aviation Services.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Attendees listen to Minnesota Lt. Governor candidate Matt Birk speak on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, during a tour stop at Bemidji Aviation Services.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Matt Grossell, current House 2A representative and candidate, shakes hands with Minnesota Lt. Governor candidate Matt Birk, right, on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, during a tour stop at Bemidji Aviation Services.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

Annalise is the editor and a photographer at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is a Mass Communication graduate from Bemidji State University. Her favorite pastime is exploring the great outdoors and capturing its natural beauty on camera. Contact Annalise at (218) 333-9796, (218) 358-1990 or abraught@bemidjipioneer.com.
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