Benson named as Thompson’s running mate

Sen. Michele Benson, R-Ham Lake, never thought about running for higher office, but when her friend asked her to be his running mate for the governor’s office, she could not say no.

Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake)

Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake)

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” Benson said. “I’ve been friends with Dave Thompson since January 2011. He’s a man of good character and is well grounded in what Minnesota is all about.”

Benson was first elected to represent Senate District 31 in 2010 and was re-elected in 2012. She serves as the assistant minority leader and is a ranking member of the Health, Human Services and Housing Committee. Her other committee assignments include the Energy, Agriculture and Government Reform and Redesign committees.

“In her short time in the Minnesota Senate, Michelle has risen to a leadership position through her strong work ethic and her desire to bring conservative reforms to Minnesota,” Thompson said in his announcement Thursday, Jan. 30.

Thompson, R-Lakeville, is in his second term representing Senate District 58. He is a small business lawyer and a former radio talk show host.

Benson said she got to know Thompson as they consulted with each other on issues. He became one of her many trusted sources in the Senate.

A couple of the biggest issues Benson said she and Thompson will be discussing with voters this fall is health care reform and economic growth without the government interference.

She and Thompson will introduce bills this legislative session to change the structure of the MNSure Board and strengthen the role of the Legislative Oversight Committee, according to Benson.

Thompson has also listed spending, tax and regulatory policy and education among his special concerns.

Benson is a longtime resident of Ham Lake. She and her husband Craig have three children: Calvin, 16, Grant, 14, Grace, 3.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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