Herald JournalHerald Journal, Nov. 24, 2003

Kubasch to vie for state representative endorsement

By Ryan Gueningsman

Aaron Kubasch of Winsted recently announced that he is throwing his name into the hat for the special election for Tony Kielkucki's House of Representatives seat.

Kielkucki's resignation goes into effect today, and he will begin his job as assistant secretary of state Tuesday.

This leaves open the remainder of Kielkucki's fourth term in the House of Representatives.

Persons affiliated with both major political parties have expressed interest in the special election that will take place in the near future. Gov. Tim Pawlenty has 30 days from the date of Kielkucki's resignation to announce the special election timetable.

On the Republican side is Aaron Kubasch of Winsted. Kubasch is co-owner of Kubasch Excavating in Winsted.

Kubasch graduated from Howard Lake High School and went to Concordia in St. Paul. He and his wife, Patty, have two children ­ Amanda, 12, and Brooke, 10. He attends St. James Lutheran Church in Howard Lake.

"I've been involved in Republican politics probably since 1980, right before I graduated from high school," Kubasch said. "I've dropped literature for people, done phone banking, put up signs, and am currently the secretary of the McLeod County Basic Political Organizational Unit."

Kubasch has worked closely with Kielkucki since he was elected in 1996. He sites his parents as a major political influence in his life.

"Tony told me about it, and I thought 'this is a good opportunity,'" he said. "It's different in that there is a special election, the campaigning won't be as long, and it's our downtime in work right now, it'll be easier to campaign.

"If it works out, it works out," he said. "If it doesn't, it's not the end of the world for me. I'm not a big political animal ­ I'm just Aaron Kubasch. I'm just trying to give back a little bit."

Someone asked Kubasch if he is planning on filling the shoes of Kielkucki, and he said that is something he will never be able to.

"I can't do it," he said. "The things he did are just unbelievable. He was an absolute giant when it came to getting things done."

Kubasch thinks less government is more.

"I want to look at how a bill will affect families. I'm a pro-life candidate," he said. "I think government should get out of the way. Hold the line on regulations and taxes, and just let businesses and families go and live without government being in everything all the time."

To get the delegate votes for the Republican endorsement, Kubasch has sent letters to delegates, in addition to following up with phone calls.

He is up against three Hutchinson residents for the Republican party endorsement ­ attorney Scott Newman, Lester Schuft of KDUZ Radio, and Roger Stearns of Stearnswood, Inc.

The endorsing convention will take place at the Victorian Inn, located at 1000 Hwy. 7 W., in Hutchinson, Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m.

In order to receive the Republican endorsement, a person must receive 60 percent of the vote of the delegates, said McLeod County Republican party co-chairperson Julie Schafer.

If no candidate receives 60 percent of the vote, there would be a primary election, she said.

On the DFL side, Lowell Ueland of Glencoe, who ran against Kielkucki in the last election, has once again expressed interest in the seat, according to McLeod County DFL chairman Paul Wright.

Several others from the Hutchinson and Glencoe area have expressed an interest to Wright; however, no one has said a definite "yes."

"The Democrats are excited because we feel the district hasn't been represented," Wright said. "Tony had his causes and that can be appreciated, but he's really been carrying water for the governor's agenda."

The Democrats will have an endorsing convention Thursday, Dec. 4 at the Main Street Bar and Grill, located at 18 N. Main in Hutchinson at 7 p.m. Wright encouraged anyone interested in the Democratic endorsement to attend.

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