Norm Coleman: Republican candidate for U.S. Senate seat

On the other hand, I believe in management and finding balance.
You know, we haven’t even talked about timber management and its
impact on habitat. I support and share Sen. Wellstone’s view of
conservation, but the question is, when there’s a conflict on an
issue, do you ever yield or are you always on one side? That’s the
difference between the senator and myself on these issues. He’s not
willing to find a balance.

ODN: On the issue of finding a balance, the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge. How do you feel about oil rigs on that refuge?

Coleman: I oppose that. Some areas are pristine and we should
preserve them. Let’s develop biodiesel. We have soy fields, our own
fields here; let’s develop that. Down the road, if you can keep it
pristine, I think it’s worth looking at. I’m not against getting
rid of dependence on foreign oil. But in the meantime, let’s
consider biodiesel and other options.

ODN: The president last week vetoed a bill containing CWD
funding. I realize there was probably a lot of pork in there, but
nonetheless, the veto at best delays funding for fighting CWD.

Coleman: It was a $5 billion bill and $18 million was for CWD.
If I’m a U.S. senator, we’ll get the money. You know what, (Sen.
Wellstone) had better get the money. He has a staff getting paid a
million dollars a year.

That vote should not be construed as the president is against
funding for CWD. The president vetoed $5 billion in spending our
tax dollars and taxpayer waste. The president said there were
things in the bill he supports, and I have no doubt we’ll get to
work on that, but don’t be pointing fingers at the president.

ODN: One person’s waste is another person’s priority. Perhaps to
someone in New York or Connecticut, $18 million for “deer flu”
seems like a waste of money.

Coleman: The president asked for a $1 billion Homeland Security
bill, and was handed a $5 billion bill. But to say he’s against
fighting CWD is not right.

ODN: State Rep. Dennis Ozment has a tough primary race for his
House seat. Republicans have a sitting chair who’s been a friend to
hunters the past several years, yet his opponent says he’s too
close to the environment. (The Republican Party also has not
endorsed his opponent.) We’re not talking about a guy who ties
himself to trees or drives rubber dinghies in front of whales.
We’re talking about a good, common sense Republican who talks like
you on outdoor issues, and yet his party is not endorsing him. How
do you feel about that?

Coleman: I know Dennis, and he’s a great guy. I think that’s sad
commentary that both parties sometimes go to extremes. Democrats
endorsed John Marty for governor and Paul Wellstone for Senate. I
think both parties suffer from that. I bring a unique perspective.
I think it’s unfortunate that we’ve lost folks to the Independence
Party. I’m just glad Dennis didn’t bolt ship.

I’m an environmentalist; I planted thousands of trees along the
river, stopped a metal shredder from being built on the river, but
I also think the river can be used for shipping grain, and 3M
should keep its production facility on the river. There’s a balance
between environment and jobs. I think it’s unfortunate what Dennis
is going through, but I will be a voice for a more inclusive
Republican party. I went through the same sort of thing when I was
a pro-life Democrat.

ODN: Tell me about your outdoor interests.

Coleman: I grew up in Brooklyn, and my dad was a World War II
vet, so I grew up learning how to handle guns with him. I have
several guns, including a 16-gauge shotgun, a .270 rifle, a
handgun. When I was a prosecutor, you could either drink with the
cops or shoot with the cops. If I was in Thief River or somewhere
trying a case, I would go out with the police and shoot target
practice.

My real passion is fishing. On my days off, I fish. My family
has had a cabin on Lake Ada for 20 years. I fish on Minnetonka just
about every Sunday that I’m in town with a buddy. It’s been tough
this year with the campaign. I was on Whitefish for the opener. I
also did some fly-fishing as a kid in New York. I try to get up on
Rainy every fall, too, and I’ve fished up at Bob Lessard’s camp on
Trout Lake, too

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