Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert passed through Fillmore Country last week as part of his statewide campaign.

Hailing from Marshall, Minn., Seifert explained his thoughts on the issues facing Minnesota today.

"The main issues we're talking about are economic development. We want more jobs for our young people and a good business climate to keep us competitive," he said. "Agriculture is important; it is the second biggest sector of value in the state between ag business, farming, processing, manufacturing, packaging and distribution of food."

Healthcare is another topic familiar to Seifert who served as the executive director of a hospital foundation.

"My issue with that is affordability for healthcare. I think that there have been a lot of discussions about insurance, but we're not really getting at what is the true cost of healthcare, why does it cost so much and how can we lower the cost for average working people."

As a former public school teacher as well, Seifert says he is "a big champion of trying to equalize funding for rural schools."

He also touched on the need to refocus funding to rural roads and bridges instead of the light rail in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

"Ninety-seven percent of people in Minnesota will never use the light rail, so I want to make sure our money is prioritized to what people need, not just what people want."

As for the future impact of the Destination Medical Center (DMC), which continues to be a hot topic in council and economical development authority (EDA) meetings across the area, Seifert explained it is a regional project and "it's kind of water under the bridge; it's already passed." However, he does admit there is still a lot of infrastructure work to be done to make sure it works.

With the primary election day drawing near, Seifert noted,

"Early voting has now started, so people can vote now at the courthouse. They can also request a ballot be mailed to them at I know a lot of people down here are probably not Internet savvy voters as maybe those in the metro, but there a lot of people, I think, that will take advantage of that."

Seifert faces three challengers in the Aug. 12 Republican primary. The winner will face incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton in the Nov. 4 general election.