Election 2016 preview: Minnesota House District 26B


ROCHESTER, Minn. – Every day up until Nov. 8, we will be highlight state and local races in both Iowa and Minnesota.

On Tuesday, we heard from the candidates running for Minnesota House District 26B. This district includes parts of Rochester, 14 Olmsted County townships, as well as Stewartville, Viola, Dover and Eyota.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Nels Pierson, a realtor from Rochester, just wrapped up serving his first term in the House. He is being challenged by (DLF) John Wayne Austinson, who has been a high school teacher and football coach for the last 25 years.

We asked both candidates what they want voters in District 26B to know about them.

“I always just try to work hard and go the extra mile and I’ve always been accessible to my community, I try to get out in the community,” says Rep. Pierson. “Out of those 14 townships that are in my legislative district, every year I’ve gone to at least one meeting in each of the townships and as well as meeting with each of the towns that are in my district.”

“I consider myself about 85 percent public servant, about 10 percent policymaker and about a 5 percent politician,” says Austinson. “I do understand you have to be a politician with this at certain points, I get that, but I would rather be looked at as a public servant; someone you can just call, talk to. I’m just a regular guy that wants to help out and make this area better.”

The issues:

“Obviously for me being a teacher, education is important,” adds Austinson. “Also, being from a small community, I teach in Byron, I live in Eyota, I was born and raised in Rochester — I do have a kind of a realm for the bigger city and for the smaller. But we have to get local government aid, local government control is very important. Helping the farmer too with some tax breaks, building schools and also with estate planning and how we can transfer that over to their kids without losing these small family farms.”

“Right now I feel like we’re coming off of a time when Democrats controlled the House, Senate and the governor’s seat and so at that time there were a lot of increases in taxes and it has made Minnesota a very difficult place to live, work, and raise a family and it’s actually been one of the worst places to retire,” explains Rep. Pierson.

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