Paul Koering's first two bids for the state Senate were close and closer, finishing a few percentage points behind Sen. Don Samuelson in 1996 and only 411 votes behind him in 2000.
This time, with redrawn district boundaries, the Fort Ripley Republican hopes he'll come out on top.
"I still believe strongly in public service," the owner of Koering Livery Service, a funeral car service, said Friday as he announced his state Senate candidacy. "A new voice is always a good thing."
His legislative priorities would include working to keep college tuition costs down; striving for affordable health care, including prescription drugs for seniors and low-income Minnesotans; and providing support for agriculture and hunting, fishing and gun owner rights.
The new district includes parts of Morrison and Crow Wing counties, from Elmdale in the south to Crosby in the north and from west of Randall to Mille Lacs Lake.
While he lost the northern and more Republican half of Crow Wing County to the new District 4, Koering is comfortable with his new Morrison County townships and cities such as Upsala and Royalton.
Even though he sold his herd last year, Koering said his 15 years of experience as a dairy farmer fits the Senate district well.
The lifetime resident of Crow Wing County pledged to be a determined advocate for rural Minnesotans at a time when representation for outstate Minnesota has decreased. He is pro-life and promises to vote for pro-life leadership if elected to the Senate.
Despite his unsuccessful attempts to unseat the Brainerd DFLer, Koering thinks he's established a good rapport with the district voters.
"They see I'm not a quitter," he said. "They see I'm serious about this office in particular."
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