MN GOP-backed candidates take on mining as campaign issue

By KBJR News 1

June 2, 2014 Updated Jun 2, 2014 at 7:54 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Republican candidates packed their endorsements from the weekend and flew to Duluth Monday to roll out their campaign pitches.

We are going to be working for the next five months to bring some accountability, some common sense and frankly some balance to Government in Minnesota," said Republican Gubernatorial Candidate, Jeff Johnson.

The current Hennepin County Commissioner along with the other candidates, brought messages about the important impact of mining on Minnesota's economy.

"I'm going to be a champion for using the resources God has given this state to actually create good jobs. There is no better example of that than here in Northern Minnesota and the mines," Johnson said.

The PolyMet Copper-Nickel mining project in Hoyt Lakes has been at the center of heated debate for several years.

The company promises to invest $650 million dollars and create more than 350 jobs.

The project is currently under environmental review by the state, a process that Johnson says is taking too long.

"It's taken seven years and $150M of regulatory reviews and we still don't have an answer," said Minnesota Senate hopeful Mike McFadden.

Democrats avoided a debate about the issue during the state DFL convention this weekend.

It's an issue that has split environmentally-minded DFL'ers in southern Minnesota and those on the Iron Range.

Governor Mark Dayton remains tight lipped on the debate.

5:26 Our State Auditor is not for the Northland. She last year came up and voted against the leases for mining that we need to have up here. If Rebecca Otto had her way, the Northland would be a National Park," said Republican candidate for State Auditor, Randy Gilbert.

Republicans hope their stance will help sway voters in November.

Republican endorsed candidates
Mike McFadden for US Senate
Jeff Johnson for Governor
Randy Gilbert for State Auditor
Dan Severson for Secretary of State
Scott Newman for Attorney General
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt

Written by Kevin Jacobsen
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