Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are well-known names to most Concordia students. However, other names on this year’s ballot–such as Collin Peterson and Lee Byberg–may be less recognizable.

Peterson and Byberg are both running for U.S. Congress in district seven, which includes Moorhead.

Collin Peterson is the Democratic-FarmerLabor (DFL) representative who has been in congress since 1990. His opponent, Lee Byberg is running for the second time as the Republican candidate.

“I am not a politician,” Byberg said. “I’m a business leader who worked in agriculture, energy and bioscience.” He believes he is different from Peterson because of his background in developing and leading teams to help create businesses.

Supporters of Byberg like College Republican’s president, Kate Engstrom, believe it’s time for a change in congress. “[Byberg] supports liberty,” Engstrom said. “He bases a lot of his decisions on how we [district citizens] want to live our lives.”

She describes Byberg’s style in politics as principled because of his stance against voting to help his own career.

Byberg focuses on issues including spending cuts and creating more local businesses. Another issue some democrats may be surprised to learn Byberg is against is the Internet censorship bill, better known as SOPA, which is greatly supported by republicans in congress.

Byberg calls his opponent, Peterson, a career politician. Peterson’s long run in congress shows that his career is in the political field. However, Senator Al Franken explains how Peterson has focused most of those years serving on the House Agricultural Committee. He describes this as helpful to our area.

“The only way you grow your economy is by investing in the things that grow your economy,” Franken said.

Peterson spoke at a small gathering at Concordia College on Oct. 16. He described how many committees have not been getting along lately in congress.

“The one place where we can still work together is on the ag committee,” he said.

Students may wonder why Peterson focuses so much on agriculture when there are so many other issues. Simply put, district seven is one of the largest agricultural producing districts in the nation. Peterson has served as Chairman to the ag committee in the 110th and 111th Congresses.

Whether you are republican, democrat, independent or none of the above, understanding candidates in all offices for an election year is vital because they all serve roles that affect us in different ways.

Look online at www.co.clay.mnus to find out more about these candidates and others running for office on Nov. 6.

Kaia Miller

Kaia Miller is a senior majoring in communication studies and multimedia journalism. She came to Concordia planning to major in vocal performance, but after a semester discovered her interests ran in a different direction. With a suggestion from her mom to try communication, she realized her passion for journalism and research. She has held internships at MPR and Prairie Public Radio and hopes to work for a newspaper or radio new station. Kaia is a member of the Concordia Choir, The Concordian and KORD Radio.

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