Josh Gare

Josh Gare stands in front of the room at the District 20 GOP endorsing convention in Lonsdale Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Al DeKruif)

Around 20 area GOP delegates turned out Wednesday evening in Lonsdale to endorse a candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives District 20B.

Josh Gare, a tractor trailer driver for Midland Garage Doors, received the Republican endorsement for the district. Area GOP leaders believe Gare exemplifies an everyday resident who can relate to his constituents.

“When we first talked to Josh about running, he took a few days to talk to his family about it. It’s something he had interest in for a while but hadn’t acted on,” said Le Sueur County Republicans Chair Al DeKruif. “I think Josh exemplifies just the common man persona, and we feel he is going to identify well with the common people.”

Gare announced in early May he was seeking the GOP endorsement in District 20B, which covers the cities of Northfield, Lonsdale, Montgomery, Dundas, part of New Prague, seven Rice County townships and four in Le Sueur County.

When announcing that he’s running for the GOP endorsement, Gare said it’s because it’s “the party I align with the most with personal values and everything else.” Asked what topics he’d like to address most at the Legislature he said taxes and health care.

He noted truck drivers are acutely aware of political issues.

“Talking to drivers, they’re all politically in touch,” he said. “They’re listening to the radio while driving. Drivers are passionate about it, because you hear it all day.”

Todd Lippert, a Northfield pastor, announced in March and was endorsed May 23 as the 20B DFL candidate. Lippert said he was running to bring people together in a divided time.

While neither Gare nor Lippert would bring vast governmental experience to the table, both believe they can add something distinctive.

Lippert intends to translate his experience as a minister into positive action at the Capitol.

“I think we need to be seeing ourselves in our neighbors, seeing our neighbors’ challenges as our own and coming together to solve problems,” he said in March. “That’s what’s leading me into politics.”

Gare, meanwhile, feels like he knows people and he wants to be a voice for them.

“I think it’s all in the title of what I’m running for — state representative,” he said. “I’m going there to serve the people in my district and not myself.”

With no other announced candidates in District 20B for either party, both Gare and Lippert are expected to go straight to the general election in November. In the meantime, they can campaign, including at their state party conventions — DFL June 1-3 in Rochester and GOP June 1-2 in Duluth.

Reach Associate Editor Philip Weyhe at 507-645-1115 or follow him on Twitter @nfnphilweyhe.

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