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Candidates vie for district representative positions

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 to find out more about these candidates and others running for office on Nov. 6.


  1. Sally Jo Sorensen Sally Jo Sorensen November 2, 2012

    Thanks, Kaia. Your effort to correct the record is appreciated.

  2. Kaia Miller Kaia Miller Post author | November 2, 2012

    Sally, you are right. I should have not made that error. When I wrote the article, I scoured his website to see if it was his first time and there was no mention of a past campaign and language used on there made it seem like it was his first. I have corrected the error on the online copy.

  3. Tim Tim November 2, 2012

    While it’s true that Byberg ran against Peterson in 2010, it is also true that he has never been a politician.

    Lee Byberg has worked at a real job his entire life. He’s one of us. Collin Peterson, on the other hand, hasn’t been in the private sector since the 1970’s. Peterson is a career politician.

  4. Sally Jo Sorensen Sally Jo Sorensen November 2, 2012

    This article is not accurate about Lee Byberg’s political biography. This is not not his first campaign for Congress in the Seventh. He ran against Peterson in 2010.

    According to official 2010 election returns, Mr. Byberg lost to Rep. Peterson. Peterson received 133096 votes, or 55.20 percent, while Byberg received 90652 votes, or 37.60 percent.

    Please correct your online copy. It’s also very unfortunate that the reporter’s factual error can not be corrected in a print edition of the paper before the election.

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