Crow Wing County Commissioner Terry Sluss is exploring a possible run for state Senate in 2007.
The announcement came Wednesday as Sluss stated he was forming an exploratory committee to determine what support he would have in a bid for the District 12 Senate seat as a "moderate, centrist Democrat."
Sluss said he had intended to announce his candidacy within two weeks. He decided to make the announcement late Wednesday shortly after incumbent Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, announced he was gay.
"I had always intended to announce this," Sluss said from his Baxter home Wednesday. "I made all the plans. The (Koering) announcement today obviously moved that up a little bit so people would not come back and say 'you are doing this now because Mr. Koering might appear to be vulnerable' and that is not my intention at all."
Sluss said he heard rumors about Koering's sexual orientation for months, but did not hear it confirmed until Wednesday. Intentions were to announce a possible Senate candidacy before a Koering announcement was made, Sluss said, adding he learned Wednesday that would not be possible.
Sluss said he informed his immediate supervisor at the Area Education Center in Brainerd more than a week ago about his intention to establish the exploratory committee. Options before him are not to seek political office, to run again for his commissioner's seat or to run for Senate, Sluss said.
Sluss indicated he intends to focus on education, public safety and public health. Another focal point is the effect market value property systems have on people in agriculture and on fixed incomes as their property taxes continue to escalate, Sluss said.
Koering announced he plans to run for re-election.
Sluss said he agrees with Koering on certain issues and totally disagrees on others, specifically education. He noted Koering's introduction of a bill a few weeks ago designed to make teachers essential employees in an effort to break strikes.
Sluss was elected three times as a Crow Wing County commissioner. His current term is up in 2006. He is the county's methamphetamine prevention coordinator and serves on the state Supreme Court Chemical Dependency Task Force.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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