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Fairmont engineer joins District 23A race

FAIRMONT — The race to replace state Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, is getting crowded.

Michael Sukalski of Fairmont has become the fourth Republican to throw his hat in the ring.

“I am running to serve and give back to the community that has done so much for me,” he says. “I will build on Rep. Gunther’s example of strong leadership in the Capitol. I will be an unwavering advocate for the citizens of District 23A and will back legislative solutions that support the prosperity and well-being of our community.”

Sukalski says he is passionate about the following issues:

o Supporting the rural economy, promoting agriculture, and defending agriculture from governmental overreach.

o Supporting local businesses, including child care providers, and protecting them from overregulation so they can grow and create new job opportunities.

o Supporting the schools, bolstering courses that teach life skills, including personal finance, and promoting vocational studies.

o Supporting rural community hospitals and maintaining service for communities.

o Pushing back against over-taxation and the runaway spending of the state government, and putting more money back into the pockets of hard-working Minnesotans.

o Funding for roads and infrastructure for Greater Minnesota outside of the metro area.

o Defending religious freedom and personal liberties.

o Supporting and defending the Second Amendment.

o Advocating the pro-life cause.

Sukalski says he was born and raised on a farm south of Fairmont, where his family’s roots run deep.

“On my family’s farm, I learned strong Christian principles and the value of hard work, dedication and the importance of helping others,” he said. “My siblings and I were never idle. When we weren’t working on the family farm, we were helping neighbors and landlords with yard work, followed by discussion of their life stories, experiences and wisdom. These opportunities further solidified my principles.”

Sukalski attended Granada-Huntley-East Chain Schools, then went on to South Dakota State, studying agriculture and biosystems engineering as an undergraduate and graduate student.

After college, he returned to the area, working in Martin and Faribault counties. He bought a home in Fairmont and began a career at AGCO in Jackson. He later joined Harsco Rail in Fairmont, designing rail and track maintenance equipment.

He notes that he has volunteered with the Soybean Growers Association, Corn Growers Association, United States Soybean Export Council and the Martin County Farm Bureau. He has recently become involved with the Fairmont High School Robotics Club.

Sukalski has invited the public to an open house to be held 4-7 p.m. Monday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Fairmont. More information can be found on his website: sukalskiformn.com

Gunther announced in December that he will not run again for the seat he has held for 25 years, making the legislative session that began Tuesday his last. His district — 23A — extends from Jackson in the west to east of Blue Earth, and includes Fairmont. It stretches north almost to St. James.

Three other candidates previously announced they are running, all Republicans. They are Shane Schofield, the chairman of the Watonwan County Republican Party; Tom Nelson, the economic development director in Jackson; and Bjorn Olson, the mayor of Elmore.

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