I wish to express my strong disapproval in the announcement by Sen. Paul Gazelka (Brainerd Dispatch, Feb. 28) that he is moving his residency from Brainerd/Crow Wing County to East Gull Lake (area) for the sole purpose of seeking the state Senate seat in District 9. The new District 9 is comprised of Morrison, Todd, Wadena and Cass counties.
For the record, in the recent Minnesota court-ordered redistricting decision, Gazelka was not redistricted out of Crow Wing County. Gazelka, in fact, is the sole incumbent for District 10 which will comprise Crow Wing and Aitkin counties. The Dispatch article states, “Gazelka...said the move would allow him to represent...Morrison County.” But Gazelka is not moving to Little Falls or Morrison County. He is instead moving to East Gull Lake. Gazelka does not now — and has never had — residency in Morrison County or District 9.
I contend that the real reason Gazelka is changing districts is because the new District 9 retains historically a significantly higher Republican voting record than does District 10.
I believe Gazelka’s decision truly violates the principles of representative democracy. His actions are cynical, blatantly political and self-serving.
It has now been 42 years since a resident of Little Falls, Gordon Rosenmeier, so ably represented Crow Wing and Morrison counties in the Minnesota state Senate. Morrison County and the new Senate District 9 is one that is primarily agricultural/family farms and small businesses. Little Falls and Morrison County is also the largest population base in District 9.
I am not a candidate for District 9. But I believe it is important that the person elected to represent us have the necessary background and residency, the qualifications, the integrity and great dedication to the people of our district. In doing so, we advance the best interests of representative government.
STEVE WENZEL represented Crow Wing and Morrison counties in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1973-2001. He is the uncle of Rep. Mike LeMieur, R-Little Falls.