Pine Island veteran Jim Engstrand officially announced today he will seek the Republican endorsement for the 1st Congressional District Seat.
Engstrand returned from Iraq less than a month ago, where he served as the Lt. Col. in the Minnesota Army National Guard. In a news release, he said he felt compelled to run for the seat held by Democrat Tim Walz out of frustration that Walz continues to support President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's programs despite opposition within his home district.
Here is a quote from his news release:
"While serving in Iraq, I became very troubled when I learned what was happening back home. The Country I love was becoming divided over issues like terrorism, healthcare, freedom, government spending, and middle class tax hikes. From the other side of the world, I watched Americans begin to push back with Tea Parties and massive healthcare rallies on the steps of the U. S. Capitol. Even so, President Obama and Congress continued to advance their agenda, showing little regard for what Americans actually wanted. When I saw Tim Walz supporting Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi with every vote, even though there was strong opposition from his constituents back home, I knew Minnesotans deserved better. At that point I realized I needed to continue serving my Country, only this time it would be in the U.S. House of Representatives instead of a military uniform."
Engstrand joins four others vying for the GOP endorsement. They are state Rep. Randy Demmer, of Hayfield, former congressional staffer Jim Hagedorn, of Blue Earth, veteran Frank McKinzie of Rochester and former state Rep. Allen Quist of St. Peter.
Two other candidates are also running. They include U.S. State Department employee Steven Wilson of Rochester, who is running for the Independence Party nomination. He formerly ran as a Republican against fellow Republican Steve Drazkowski for the Minnesota Senate, winning the GOP endorsement but losing in the primary to Drazkowski.
Also running is food safety certification trainer Lars Johnson, of Rochester, who is running independent of any party.