Kim Hummel of Lakefield has never run for political office before, but she’s enthusiastic about her attempt to become the next District 22 state senator. A Republican, Hummel hopes to succeed DFLer Jim Vickerman in St. Paul .(Vickerman has not yet made an announcement on his pans to seek an eighth term.)
"The reason I decided to run is because I’m concerned about the kind of future we’re leaving for our children," explained Hummel during a visit to the Daily Globe earlier this week. "Now that I’ve made the commitment to do this, I understand there’s more to it than just that. It’s also about us as working people. … Parents who are tryng to retire now who have worked all their lives and have their retirement years planned out, and now they’re kind of up in there with that."
Hummel has been married 25 years, and she and her husband are primarily self-employed in the long-haul trucking business. They used to transport a lot of livestock, she said., but "in the last few years we’ve kind of changed over to the diesel truck performance, the big rig truck performance business."
She is attending several district conventions today, including those in Jackson, Nobles, Pipestone and Rock counties. One theme she plans to sound at each of those events is promoting a better business climate across the state.
"We need to make that climate inviting and stable so that businesses will stay here and come here," she said. "I think it’s difficult now because taxes are so high, and there always seem to be some kind of regulations coming down the pike. I think we need to take a look at those and make it more comfortable for businesses to be in business."
Hummel is a proponent of tax breaks for some business, though she admits she doesn’t know what’s feasible given the state’s current budget woes. She is a strong advocate of fiscal responsbility – something she feels has been sorely lacking lately – and wants to "cultivate out" a number of agriculture-related programs to weed out those that may hurt farmers rather than help them. She believes the ag community, with help from the state legislature, can play a signficant role in boosting bioenergy production in Minnesota, and added that "permitting needs to be a faster process" for ag enterprises.
"We’re only as strong as what we have to offer," Hummel said. "Our farmers do help feed the world and now help provide energy … and we want to export that out."
Hummel is concerned that many area school districts won’t be able to enact the flexible learning year schedules they want. She also expressed confidence the state budget could be balanced "basically by making priorities – figuring out our needs and our wants, and then prioritizing them."
In addition to her self-employment, Hummel has served on the Jackson County Fair Board, worked at Fort Belmont in Jackson and written historical articles for the Jackson County Pilot. She also helped Republican candidate Brian Davis in his unsuccessful bid to defeat U.S. Rep. Tim Walz during the 2008 campaign.
"I’m doing this because I think I can do it," she stated. "I have the desire, and I think I have good vision for my district, and it’s a good time in my life and I have good energy. .. I know I have a lot to learn, but I’m enthusiastic and ready to serve this district."