Mark Kennedy was the third Republican attempting to unseat Rep. David Minge since he was elected in 1992. But Kennedy was the first to succeed. His campaign slogan, "Kennedy Means Business," encapsulates his long career as a business executive. It also trickles down to issues he is pressing in his campaign.
He is in favor of opening foreign markets, which he contends will boost earnings for farmers and help other businesses thrive. In addition, he wants to reduce capital gains taxes and eliminate inheritance taxes, which he argues are making it tougher for farmers and business owners to pass their assets to future generations. Like other Republicans, he also wants to get rid of the so-called marriage penalty.
Kennedy has focused much of his time on agriculture issues. He serves on the Agriculture and Transportation & Infrastructure committees.
For the last two years, Kennedy has represented the 2nd District, which covered much of southwestern Minnesota. A court-drawn redistricting plan put his house within the boundaries of the 6th District and he decided to stay and run north of the Twin Cities instead. His decision set off a flurry of activity. Republican John Kline decided to run in the 2nd and 6th District incumbent congressman Bill Luther, a DFLer, also decided to move to the 2nd, meaning he'll face Kline, whom he's defeated twice in the past.
In 2000, Kennedy ousted incumbent David Minge in a race separated by a little more than 500 votes. This year, he faces Democrat Janet Robert, an attorney from Stillwater.