Gunther, Klassen win endorsements

FAIRMONT — State Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, and rural Butterfield resident Heather Klassen have won their party endorsements for Minnesota House District 23A.

Gunther secured the Republican nod recently at the district convention in Winnebago. He has served as the state representative in the Fairmont area since 1995. The district includes portions of Martin, Faribault, Watonwan, Jackson and Blue Earth counties.

Despite his past successes, Gunther admitted to feeling some nerves when election time rolls around.

“Every time I run, I think I’m going to lose,” he said.

He said he counters those feelings by focusing on doing a good job for the people he represents.

“All I can do is my best,” he said.

Klassen picked up the Democratic endorsement recently at the District 23 convention in Fairmont.

“We are more than Republicans and Democrats here in southern Minnesota,” Klassen said in a press release. “We are Minnesotans. We take care of each other. I am ready to bring our rural values to St. Paul.”

Klassen says she has been busy, visiting every community in the district and attending meetings of local government bodies. She believes she has gained a unique perspective on the challenges facing District 23A.

“Our people are our great resource,” she said. “We need to find ways to better support our families and communities.”

Gunther said he had considered stepping aside this year after his many years of service, but changed his mind when a half-dozen of his freshmen colleagues approached him and asked him to stay, saying they valued his experience.

Gunther says he has been working during the current legislative session to help area communities secure funding for various projects, including a $6 million infrastructure plan in Winnebago, a veterans memorial park in Jackson and a new industrial park in Fairmont.

He also says he remains focused on three main priorities: affordable workforce housing, the daycare shortage and ensuring a trained workforce.

Gunther was not challenged by anyone for the party endorsement. Nor has anyone emerged to challenge him in the August primary.

On the Democratic side, no one has announced a primary challenge to Klassen.