Byron's Duane Quam (R) is eyeing a second term in State House of Representatives District 25A, while Kasson teacher John Vossen (DFL) feels he's a better fit.
The position is a two-year term in a district that serves Dodge Center, Mantorville, Kasson, Byron, Oronoco, part of Pine Island and portions of Rochester, including Country Club Manor.
Quam, 52, like many in local, state and national politics, feels that jobs will be the most important issue in the near future.
"We have to continue to show businesses that we are bringing Minnesota up to a competitive stature with our neighboring states," Quam said.
For instance, he said, IBM located a new facility in Iowa instead of here.
He added that we also have to look at programs statewide and figure out what's working and what's not, noting that the modern economy is different than what a lot of our laws are set up for.
"If it's good, we'll keep it," Quam said. "If it's just ok and needs fixing, fix it. If it's out of date, we need to stop that program and use those funds for another program."
Quam is a physicist and engineer by trade and authored 11 bills that passed in his first term.
He's also on five committees, including: Education finance; health and human services policy; government operations and elections; environmental and natural resources; and energy.
"I have a good background with the diverse communities and businesses we have in the district," Quam said. "I'm also effective in getting legislation through."
Vossen began teaching at fifth grade at Glencoe Silver Lake School District as part of the state's residency program. When his residency ended, he accepted a position in the Kasson-Mantorville District.
This year, he will be finishing his 15th year at Kasson-Mantorville, having taught both third and fourth grades.
"Politics weren't always on my radar, but things are getting more and more logjammed in St. Paul, and I think I can help the people in southeastern Minnesota," Vossen said. "We've seen more and more gridlock, and I think I can do a better job working collaboratively with my fellow legislators and fighting for the people instead of fighting with each other."
He said in his field, he works with administrators, school boards, parents, students and staff and has learned to work with people by listening and caring.
"My wife always said I try to find the good side of every problem or any solution," Vossen said. "If it's negative, I try to look at the positive."
He added that the biggest issue he would face if elected is a budget shortfall, although he pointed out the Republicans believe there will be a surplus.
He said it's important to not only balance the budget, but also find a fiscally responsible way to do it, including paying back our schools as soon as possible.
"The whole political thing seems so far out of reach and like nothing I would get involved in," Vossen said. "But it feels like things have lined up for a purpose. It feels right."