Paul Gazelka will be the 2004 Republican candidate for the District 12A seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives being vacated by Rep. Dale Walz, R-Brainerd.
Gazelka received the required minimum of 60 percent of delegates on the first ballot at the Republican District 12A endorsing convention Saturday at the Sawmill Inn in Brainerd. Gazelka beat out Crow Wing County Republican Chair Karen Toman for the endorsement.
"I was thrilled they had nominated me. I realize Karen also was a good candidate, and you never know until the votes are cast," said Gazelka Sunday. "It really is an exciting process."
Added Crow Wing County Republican Deputy Chair Brian Lehman, "Obviously, we're very happy Paul is our candidate. We think Paul will be able to keep the seat and he has a lot of people in the community behind him."
Gazelka said he and Toman have remained friends throughout the endorsing process, and after he was selected Saturday she said she would support him 100 percent.
Gazelka said he will campaign on four major issues; affordable health care, keeping and creating jobs in the area while taking care of the natural environment, quality education for children and pro-family issues.
"As I look out over this area, I see that it has drastically changed; lots of new people moving into area, new roads, new houses and new business. This is a growing community and with that we have needs that are changing," said Gazelka. "I think we need a candidate that has fresh outlook ... and the energy to work hard on issues we have to address. I believe I am that candidate."
A rural Brainerd resident, Gazelka, 44, and his wife, who've been married for almost 22 years, are the parents of five children. He owns Paul Gazelka Insurance Agency Inc., a State Farm Insurance agency, in Baxter. With his nomination in place, he said his next step is getting out and meeting voters.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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