WILLMAR (AP) -- The 2nd District's incoming congressman is pledging to keep focused on rural issues.
"I'm going to be a hawk looking at every issue and saying, 'How does this affect rural areas?"' U.S. Rep.-elect Mark Kennedy told the Willmar Area Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
Kennedy, a Republican from Watertown, will be sworn in Jan. 3 to succeed Democratic Rep. David Minge, who narrowly lost the election.
Kennedy said he's generally not a fan of federal regulation.
"I'm particularly sensitive to the fact regulation has a big impact on small business," he said. "If there's any regulation to be made, I would rather have them made at the state level than the federal level."
But Kennedy said he'll work to make sure southwestern Minnesota gets its share of federal road funding and makes inroads on building a better telecommunications infrastructure so its businesses aren't at a competitive disadvantage.
"Telecommunications is going to be the key road to the future," he said.
The recount in the Kennedy-Minge race didn't end until last week when Minge conceded. Because time is short, Kennedy said, he's still putting together a staff.
In Washington, he'll move into Minge's old office, and he'll do the same thing with Minge's old district office in Chaska. Kennedy said Minge has worked with him to ensure a smooth transition.
Minge has had offices in Montevideo and Windom, too, but Kennedy said he is considering a traveling office, with staff members spending a day a month in each county seat in the district, which covers all or part of 29 counties from the extreme southwest to the outer suburbs of Minneapolis.
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