Obermueller enters race for congressional DFL nomination
After a year-long break from the political realm, Mike Obermueller will once again enter his hat into the ring.
The former Minnesota representative said Friday he intends to seek the DFL nomination in the 2nd Congressional District.
“I think Washington has become too partisan, and it’s time for someone to represent the voters,” the 39-year-old Eagan resident said.
Obermueller joins Patrick Ganey, a city council member in Northfield, and Kathleen Gaylord, a Dakota County commissioner, in the endorsement race.
“I think I match up well against both those other individuals from a DFL perspective,” Obermueller said.
He said his experience serving as representative in an electorally tough district (a swing district) makes him a better choice than Gaylord of South St. Paul, who comes from a traditionally DFL area. Obermueller noted that Gaylord wouldn’t even be running if the district hadn’t been redrawn to include South St. Paul; it also now includes West St. Paul.
“She’s a really good person,” he said. “I just think I have a better chance of beating John Kline and a better sense of what it’s going to take to win in a really competitive district like this.”
Obermueller, who grew up in rural Wisconsin, said he has an advantage in that he understands the needs of both rural and urban constituents in the district.
Though Kine has held the seat for the past decade, Obermueller said he is confident he can defeat the Republican congressman.
Obermueller said he believes his prior experience and notoriety, gives him a competitive edge that previous challengers lacked.
Though the last few elections have included large swings to the left or right, Obermueller said he believes the waves have calmed.
Pointing to Kline’s support for U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal and cuts to Medicare, Obermueller claims Kline’s decisions have contradicted voter opinion.
Medicare is among the most important issues to voters, Obermueller said.
“Folks who have worked a lifetime deserve that,” he said.
Obermueller pointed to education and jobs as other key issues that Kline has fallen short on.
Kline has vowed to repeal Bush’s No Child Left Behind, but has failed to do this, Obermueller said.
“We gotta have a workforce that is ready to do the job of the 21st century,” he said.
This can happen, Obermueller said, by repealing NCLB and supporting local school districts.
Though Kline considers himself a fiscal conservative, Obermueller criticizes Congress’s management of the federal budget.
“We need to be more respectful with federal funds,” he said.
A Twin Cities attorney, Obermueller noted that he has prior business experience and understands how to work within a budget.
After graduating from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, with a bachelor’s degree in communication and political science, Obermueller went to work as the director of Campus Dining Services for ARAMARK Corporation at Mount Marty College in Yankton, S.D.
While there, Obermueller managed more than 30 employees, ran a full-service catering operation, and learned the ropes of operating a small business.
By 1999, he decided to shift careers and enrolled at the University of Iowa where he graduated with a law degree.
If elected, Obermueller said he will advocate for small businesses.
Obermueller also claims Kline is not doing enough to assist returning veterans.
“I think there’s a focus from Kline on helping troops on the battlefield, but not on helping them once they get home,” he said. “We need a second GI bill … and need to figure out a how to get troops home.”
Obermueller said he believes the United States must quit being the world police.
But the greatest difference between Obermueller and Kline, Obermueller said, is that he wants to help everyone achieve their dreams, not just the very wealthy.
“The American dream isn’t just about one person getting success, it’s all of us becoming successful,” he said. “I want to get back in the American dream business.”
After moving around the Midwest for about a decade, Obermueller and his wife, Sara, settled in Eagan about six years ago.
When he and his wife were first married they had a talk about what they wanted to “be” when they grew up.
“I really wanted to be in Congress. It must be about 19 years ago we had that talk,” he said.
The Obermuellers have two boys – one a sophomore and the other a senior at Eagan High School.