Republicans say total party unity is key for election

Emily Dalnodar

A surge of Republicans flooded the State Office Building in St. Paul on Monday morning to file for candidacy, headed by gubernatorial candidate Norm Coleman.
Minnesotan Republican candidates showed their unity by holding a day of talks, speeches and campaign strategies.
The GOP promises safer streets, better education and lower taxes. But total party unity is key, said Steve Sviggum, district 28B representative. As governor, Coleman could not introduce his policies without strong Republican legislative backing, party members said.
“If you really want permanent tax cuts, you need a Republican majority,” the St. Paul mayor said to the crowd. “It’s not just about us getting elected, it’s about governing.”
Though tax cuts are a top priority for the party, Coleman would not elaborate on specifics of any definite plan.
Unlike the Democrats, Coleman is not running against other same-party candidates for the gubernatorial party nomination. His solo position affords him more time to hammer out a plan, while some democratic candidates have already completed their proposed tax-cut plans.
With just more than 100 days until the November election, Coleman is expected to have a plan ready by the September primaries.
Coleman also briefly addressed the subject of the Minnesota Twins stadium issue. He called the Twins a “community asset” but declined to comment on the details of their lease, saying he is not directly involved.
With regards to the expected surplus tax money at the end of the fiscal year, Coleman said there was only one thing to do: Give it back to taxpayers.
But in the wake of nationwide school shootings — and closer to the University, the Como-neighborhood homicide — the Republican candidate stood firm on his new gun policy stance.
“We have the laws, let’s enforce them,” Coleman said. Before switching to the Republican Party, Coleman espoused stricter gun control than he now promotes.
“D.C. has the toughest gun control laws in the country. It doesn’t help them. We need to enforce those laws,” he said.
Robert Fowler, University law student and Republican candidate running for the University community’s District 59B, agreed. “We need clearer standards. Law-abiding citizens don’t break the law,” he said.
Criminals with guns need stricter punishment, Fowler said. And children need education about guns to prevent such tragedies as the school shootings in Jonesboro, Ark., and Pearl, Miss.