House District 5B: Wiener sets sights on legislative seat
Mike Wiener is running for House of Representatives District 5B against Gregg Hendrickson, the Independence-Alliance Party candidate.
BRAINERD — Mike Wiener said he never imagined a career in politics, but he has always had an interest in it.
Wiener and his brother used to talk about politics and joke about running for office one day. However, he said that is what it was at the time — a joke.
His brother ended up being diagnosed with cancer and died a month later. This is what encouraged Wiener to run for office. He said he realized life was short and there were problems that needed to be addressed.
“A line (my) dad always used to say is, ‘Can't complain too much if you don't get involved,’” Wiener said. “So I've been on the (Todd County) planning and zoning board for about 15 years and started going to the Todd County Republican meetings.”
The House District 5B candidate didn’t plan on running for the state Legislature but after the districts were redrawn and the current representative ended up in another district, he felt like it was something he had to do.
Wiener is a husband and a father of nine children. He resides about a half-mile from where he grew up and, together with his family, has operated an animal bedding and biomass company repurposing waste wood for 15 years.
Before moving back to his roots, Wiener attended college in St. Cloud. He met his wife there and they had their first child. St. Cloud did not feel like the right place to raise a family, Wiener said, so they moved back to Todd County.
Wiener eventually became chair of the Todd County Planning Commission. He said this experience helped him become adept at explaining complicated rules and regulations to often frustrated people. He is also a regular attendee of his local township board meetings and previously said he’s “kind of a nerd” about diving deep into the weeds of policies or ordinances.
If elected, one of Wiener’s main priorities would be cutting taxes. Wiener said local and state governments are growing more rapidly than the average taxpayer.
“We can't keep growing government on the backs of the taxpayers who can't afford this anymore,” he said.
Wiener said he would like to use the budget surplus to make permanent tax cuts. Minnesota should eliminate Social Security taxes as a whole, he said. Minnesota is one of 12 states taxing Social Security.
In addition to eliminating the Social Security tax, Wiener would also like to reevaluate Minnesota’s income tax.
“We're over-taxing our citizens and have a surplus, that's not the way the government is supposed to run,” Wiener said.
Wiener is also an anti-abortion candidate. He describes his views as not just pro-life, but honoring the sanctity of life.
“We live in a culture now that's more obsessed with death,” Wiener said. “We have mass shootings and people don't care about people's lives when you see the degradation of humanity. If you look at historically, how those things progress into genocides, and Holocaust, it's scary. So when we say the sanctity of life, that means all life from conception to natural death.”
Wiener said he believes the government should have a better support system for mothers in need. Wiener stated he supports funding for outreach support programs, adoption agencies and pregnancy groups, which aren’t typically funded publicly.
“It's phenomenal what these groups do,” Wiener said. “I think we need to be funding more. We need to fund life. They don’t have to be going through this on their own.”
Wiener also said he is a firm supporter of the Second Amendment. He said it shows the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and how they wanted Americans to protect themselves.
“It wasn't just to protect yourself but also to protect against a tyrannical government,” Wiener said. “If you look at historically what they are going through and how the government overreach with Britain was affecting their lives, they wanted to make sure that the government never overstepped those boundaries again.”
If elected, Wiener said he knows conversation goes a long way and he can disagree with someone and realize they are not the enemy.
SARA GUYMON, Brainerd Dispatch, staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5851 or