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Gazelka, Anderson talk to Cass board

State legislative redistricting has put two-thirds of Cass County this year into districts where candidates to represent them will be new to them.

Tuesday, two more new candidates to Cass County appeared at a Cass County Board meeting to introduce themselves.

Republican Paul Gazelka has been a state senator from District 12, but now will be in the new District 9, covering southern Cass County and Morrison and Todd Counties. He was elected to the House in 2004 and to the Senate in 2010.

He currently lives in Fairview Township in Cass County.

He said he is a strong proponent of local government control. He noted the last legislative session began with a $6 billion deficit. After that session, the state currently has a $1.3 billion surplus and was able to repay part of the money held back from school districts.

Gazelka said the state currently is on track to be able to pay the balance due to schools by November this year. He sees a need to hold down commercial taxes, especially because of the impact those taxes have on small businesses in this area.

Commissioner Jim Dowson takes every opportunity he can to tell state officials and candidates he sees it as unfair that Cass County has to pay state sales tax on its new multi-million dollar emergency radio communications system, especially because metro area counties received an exemption. He made that point Tuesday again to Gazelka.

“I’m looking for good ideas from you guys that can benefit the whole state,” Gazelka told the board.

Gazelka has served on legislative commerce and consumer protection, environment and natural resources, state government innovation and veterans and transportation committees.

He is married and has five children. He owns Paul Gazelka Insurance Agency in Baxter.

Mark Anderson, Republican candidate for House District 9A, also attended Tuesday’s board meeting. He was raised in Wadena and currently lives in the city of Lake Shore in Cass County.

He owned Channel Inn and Granny’s Pub and is a commercial pilot.

Anderson said he wants to see the Legislature hold down its spending and said he was impressed to learn Cass County has levied the same dollar amount for four years. He said he had not prepared a formal presentation for the board, because he just happened to be in the area when he learned about the county meeting.