1st District foes Walz, Demmer spar at Farmfest

Farmfest debate
A crowd watches a congressional debate at Farmfest in Redwood Falls, Minn., on Tuesday, August 3, 2010.
MPR Photo/Mark Steil

The candidates for Congress in the 1st Congressional District traded barbs today over who is best equipped to serve southern Minnesota in Washington.

Democratic Rep. Tim Walz and Republican Randy Demmer were part of a nine candidate forum at FarmFest near Redwood Falls.

Demmer criticized Walz for talking like a fiscal conservative at home but voting in Washington for the stimulus, the health care overhaul and climate change legislation.

"He talks about doing something about the deficits that we're running every year, but he goes to Washington and votes for the appropriations and the spending to do it," Demmer said.

Walz said Demmer is trying to portray himself as an outsider even though he's been in the Legislature since 2002. He said Demmer is surrounding himself with special interests, and people should consider how he might vote on issues like energy.

"The person advising my opponent is the lobbyist for Exxon/Mobil," Walz said. "I can't stress that enough. That's fine but that's going to be your perspective.

Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, who chairs the House Committee on Agriculture, told the audience that he's focused on reducing the deficit. He said the next Farm Bill will not increase spending.

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