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Wenzel to seek state senate seat

Wenzel represented Morrison, Crow Wing and Mille Lacs counties from 1973-2001 in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Steve Wenzel headshot
Steve Wenzel.
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LITTLE FALLS — Steve Wenzel, a lifelong resident of Little Falls and Morrison County and former legislator, announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for State senator for District 10.

"I run because I am convinced that our state and country are on a perilous, dangerous course due to the disastrous, divisive policies of the Biden-Walz administrations, and I am fiercely determined to propose legislation and new policies in St. Paul to alter and reverse the perilous course we are on,” Wenzel stated in a news release.

Wenzel stated he would author legislation on the first day of the 2023 session to protect all unborn human life from the violence of abortion and also legislation banning taxpayer funding of abortions. Wenzel was named Minnesota's outstanding pro-life legislator in 1984 by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the state’s first and now largest pro-life organization.

"I strongly believe that the purpose of government must be to protect life — not take it away," Wenzel stated.

Wenzel stated he believes the U.S. Supreme Court will soon overturn Roe v. Wade, “the tragic decision of January 22, 1973, which overturned all laws in all 50 states restricting abortion and which allowed the unrestricted taking of human life for any reason.”

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Wenzel said he would also introduce legislation on the second day of the 2023 session to repeal the state tax on Social Security and to remove Minnesota from the top 10 states of the state income tax. Minnesota is one of 12 states that taxes Social Security.

Wenzel said, “Minnesota government taxes too much and spends too much. There is absolutely no reason why Minnesota should be in the top five states in its income tax rate and in the top five as well on total tax rates of sales, income, and property taxes combined.”

Wenzel said he would also make agriculture and family farming a top priority if elected to the Legislature. He was chairman of the Minnesota House Agriculture Committee for 16 years in his House service.

"The fact is that agriculture is the largest industry in both our district and in Minnesota. The state needs to reduce property taxes for both farmers and small businesses and end costly and punitive state regulations against them,” he stated.

Wenzel stated he would work to strengthen laws and increase penalties for violent crime, carjacking and prosecution of violent juvenile offenders. Wenzel — who was chief author of the law in 1989 that greatly increased prison sentences for all degrees of homicide and violent criminal sexual assault — says the state must stand 100% in support of law enforcement. Wenzel is also a strong proponent of gun owner rights and the Second Amendment.

“It is time for all responsible public officials to defend the police and law enforcement — not defund them — and restore Minnesota to a state where the police and their work are respected, the law enforced, and the public safety protected,” he said.

Wenzel said on education issues, he favors more parental input into curriculum and legislation banning taxpayer funding for schools that promote critical race theory, or CRT, which “wrongly and falsely teaches young children that America is a racist nation inflicted with ‘systemic racism,’” he stated. According to the release, he “vigorously supports legislation to ban so-called ‘gender inequality’ and transgender issues and sex education at an inappropriate early age such as in elementary school or degrading America, its history and its great Founding Fathers.”

Wenzel stated he would work with legislators, school districts and parents to both promote and enact a state education philosophy and policy that requires a curriculum prioritizing reading, writing, math, history and science and that teaches children “how to think — not what to think.”

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Wenzel represented Morrison, Crow Wing and Mille Lacs counties from 1973-2001 in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He was appointed in 2001 by President George W. Bush to be Minnesota director of rural development in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was one of only seven state directors out of 50 in 2009 to achieve the rank of “outstanding” in his evaluation from his superiors, he stated.

Wenzel has been for many years both an adjunct and now full-time professor of political science at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. He is also a board member of the Central Lakes College Foundation. Since 2009, Wenzel also served 12 years with the Center for Rural Policy and Development, a research agency on problems and issues facing rural Minnesota and served two years as its chairman.

Wenzel is a member of Saint Mary’s Church in Little Falls, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley, both the Morrison County and Minnesota historical societies, and the American Political Science Association.

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