17A’s Miller, Koenen to debate

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The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities has scheduled a candidate forum to discuss issues relevant to the Nov. 6 election in Minnesota House District 17A for Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Swift County Law Enforcement Center in Benson.

It is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Republican District 17A Rep. Tim Miller and Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) candidate former Sen. Lyle Koenen have been invited.

District 17A includes all of Swift, Chippewa and Renville counties and the four southern Kandiyohi townships of Edwards, Holland, Roseland and Lake Lillian.

Sara Lundquist, morning show host and program director for 93.5 KSCR Radio, Benson, and Reed Anfinson, publisher of the Swift County Monitor-News and Grant County Herald, will be the moderators. Anfinson also serves on the state’s Center for Rural Policy & Development, a non-partisan research body that advises the Legislature on rural issues.

Koenen was elected to five two-year terms in the Minnesota House serving from 2002 to early 2012. He was elected to the state Senate in a special election April 10, 2012, following the death of Sen. Gary Kubly. Koenen is from Clara City in Chippewa County.

In November 2012, Koenen won a four-year term in the state Senate handily with 55.4 percent of the vote and a margin of 3,249 votes.

However, in his bid for re-election in November 2016, he was up against newcomer Republican Andrew Lang of Olivia and the Trump wave in Minnesota. Despite being a socially conservative Democrat who had opposed same-sex marriage in Minnesota, Koenen was soundly defeated by Lang. Lang received 57.3 percent of the vote and 5,708 more votes than Koenen. He was elected to a four-year term and is not up for re-election until November 2020.

Miller defeated incumbent DFL Rep. Andrew Falk in 2014 to win his first term in the state House. In winning election to his second term in a 2016 rematch with Falk, Miller showed very strong support in Renville County and won Swift, Chippewa and Kandiyohi counties by comfortable margins. He got 59 percent of the vote against Falk’s 41 percent.

Miller, 53, is from Prinsburg in southern Kandiyohi County.


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