Next week Luverne resident Bill Weber begins his freshman term as the District 22 representative in the Minnesota State Legislature.
Luverne native Bill Weber might be the freshman representative from District 22 in the 2013 Minnesota State Legislature, but he’s been in politics a long time.
“My interest in politics goes back a long way, I guess,” he said.
“After the 1968 presidential election, when I was a kid, my parents let me stay home from school to see who won. Then, they let me stay home and watch the inauguration.”
He was president of the student council at Luverne High School in 1974. He was president of his FFA chapter, too. In the 1980s he served eight years on the Luverne City Council, then eight more as mayor.
Beginning Jan. 8, Weber will move to the next level of politics and represent an entire region of the state instead of just one small town.
“I expected that people would want to talk to me after I got elected,” he said, “But I’ve been surprised by the number of people who wanted to talk to me even before I’m in office.”
Weber, a Republican, has spent a lot of time talking since his Nov. 6 election — to county boards, city councils, commodity groups, business interests and individuals.
“A common theme seems to be the level of frustration people have with the state about overregulation. Also, there is a perceived inability of the state to communicate within itself and among its departments.” Weber said he’d like to be a part of “bringing some order to the chaos” in state government.
One thing he believes makes this district unique is the 138 miles of border it has with two states that compete fiercely with Minnesota for jobs.
“At the orientation class I attended, a metro-area person said one of her concerns was public transportation to get her constituents to their jobs. I said my concern is having jobs for my constituents to get to in the first place.”
Weber said politicians promising to “tax the rich” might be cheered by some, but that rhetoric drives others away.
“That tone isn’t particularly comforting to people considering this state,” Weber said.
“Fairmont just lost 20 jobs to Iowa. We’re losing our retired people who transfer their residency to Florida or South Dakota. We’re chasing money out the door every day in Minnesota. There is a reason the governor of South Dakota runs radio ads promoting his state in the Twin Cities.”
What will life as a state senator be like?
Weber said, “I think it’s one of those things, that until you get there and are thrown into it, you can’t really know.”
He has been appointed to four senate committees including the finance division of the E-12 committee, the finance division of the Environment, Economic Development and Agriculture committee, the policy division of the Environment and Energy committee and the policy division of the Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development committee.
Weber can be reached by phone at (651) 296-5650, by mail at 125 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155 or by email at email@example.com.