Reform Party endorses U alumnus for Senate

Michelle Kibiger

The newly named Minnesota Reform Party endorsed University alumnus Dean Barkley Saturday at its state convention. Barkley will contest incumbent Senator Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., in November’s U.S. Senate election.
As the Reform Party’s chair, Barkley has been a key leader in making the party a major player in Minnesota politics.
“I believe there’s an opportunity in 1996 to win the U.S. Senate race,” Barkley said. “I wouldn’t be in it if I couldn’t win it.”
Previously called the Independence Party, the organization’s roots lie in Ross Perot’s 1992 bid for the presidency. Although Barkley didn’t win, he was the party’s candidate for federal seats in the last two general elections. Renamed the Reform Party, it gained credence in the 1994 U.S. senate race. Running against Rod Grams, R-Minn., and DFL candidate Ann Wynia, Barkley won enough votes to receive campaign funds from the federal government.
The party is striving to win enough seats to attain a strong voice in the Minnesota Legislature, Barkley said. “There is no representation for middle class, moderate voters in either party.”
Fiscal responsibility is the main tenet of Reform Party philosophy. Barkley said this year’s platform includes an overhaul of political campaign methods in all parties. These methods include campaign funding and the endorsement of candidates.
“(This election) is a referendum on the current, broken, corrupt, two-party system,” Barkley said. Barkley also emphasizes saving future generations from today’s fiscal irresponsibility. “It’s immoral what we’re doing to Generation X and others,” Barkley said.
Under the direction of newly-elected chair Don Anderson, the Reform Party will promote reforming social security and Medicare, balancing the budget and reducing the deficit.
Wellstone and former Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, one of the Republican contenders in this year’s race, also sought endorsement from the Reform Party.
At the University, Barkley earned an undergraduate degree in business administration in 1972 and a law degree in 1976. The Reform Party also endorsed Dick Gibbon for the Fourth District congressional seat, which includes the St. Paul campus. The party did not nominate a candidate for the Fifth District congressional seat, which contains the Minneapolis campus.