Former state GOP Rep. Randy Demmer's farm subsidies proved to be a thorny issue when he unsuccessfully took on 1st District DFL Rep. Tim Walz in 2010. Now another Republican challenger could face similar criticism in his quest to unseat Walz.
Between 1995 and 2010, Republican Allen Quist has received $577,725 in farm subsidies. So how does the St. Peter farmer react to criticism about taking these subsidies?
Quist said voter anger over farm subsidies really should be directed at 1st District DFL Congressman Tim Walz.
"Really the person to go after is Walz. He is the one who voted for the subsidies. I've never voted for the subsidies," he said.
He added that in many ways, farmers do not really have a choice when it comes to taking subsidies.
"In theory the subsidies are optional, but they really aren't because every farmer competes with every other farmer, and if your neighbor who is bidding to rent land and is also bidding to buy land, etc. is getting the subsidies and you aren't, you are at an extraordinary competitive disadvantage," he said.
So would he support continuing farm subsidies? If elected, Quist said cuts to farm subsidies would need to considered as part of the overall effort to cut federal spending.
Quist is one of two candidate vying for the Republican nomination in the 1st District congressional race. Also running is state Sen. Mike Parry of Waseca.