AITKIN — Political newcomer Chris Kellett, 45, of Brainerd, won a first-ballot victory against Kurt Martin, 54, of rural Brainerd, Saturday for the Republican endorsement for House District 10A.
Her 28-13 victory met the 60 percent majority that was required by convention rules (25 votes). Martin said he would abide by the decision of the convention.
The owner of Bridge-Light Marketing and Web Design in Brainerd, Kellett said she had had enough of watching friends and neighbors lose their jobs and homes in the current economy and wanted to get people back to work. Kellett said the growth of taxpayer-funded government jobs is not working and it was time reduce taxes on business and industry. The best thing government can do to create jobs, she said, was to simply get out of the way.
“We are Americans,” she said. “Liberty and personal responsibility are in our blood and our hearts and our spirits,” she said.
She criticized how government has slowly crept into and taken over facets of our lives and said it was backward when government was running the lives of people instead of people running the government. Kellett also called for equitable education funding and bringing more decision-making to the local level.
Kellett formerly worked as a corporate support representative for Lakeland Public Television and was formerly president of the Gordon Rosenmeier Center for State and Local Government. She is past president and lieutenant governor for the Kiwanis Club. She is the mother of three children and has one grandchild.
Kellett was nominated by Dale Walz, a former state representative, and Gene Goedker, a former Brainerd City Council member.
Martin, when he addressed the 10A convention, emphasized his 27 years as a business owner. He recalled being raised in northeast Brainerd with a full-time, stay-at-home mother and how his family enjoyed a middle class lifestyle. To enjoy that lifestyle today and satisfy the tax burden, he said two incomes are required. He linked those developments to a divorce rate that exceeds 50 percent, resulting family dysfunction and overloaded courts.
House District 10A, drawn up after the 2010 census, includes Brainerd, Baxter and much of the western edge of Crow Wing County.
The endorsed DFL candidate for House District 10A is Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd.