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Suburban Rep. Laura Brod could be intriguing GOP candidate for governor

The three-term state representative, who can put a “smile” on her conservative message, is one of several strong female candidates likely to vie for the governor’s office.

State Rep. Laura Brod
State Rep. Laura Brod

Laura Brod, a three-term state representative from New Prague, is among the more intriguing Republicans in “exploration” mode to run for Minnesota governor.

There’s a bit of Tim Pawlenty in Brod, who has the ability to put a smile on her conservative message. Sometimes, she even echoes Pawlenty’s favorite messages.

“We haven’t done a good job communicating our (Republican) message,” said Brod.

Like the governor — and most other Republicans these days — Brod is pro-life, opposed to gay marriage, a supporter of Second Amendment rights and opposed to increases in taxes.

But expect Brod, unlike the governor, to come out with some very specific reform proposals when she does decide to officially announce she’s a candidate. She wants a “fundamental reform” of Minnesota’s tax system, saying the current one is too volatile. She promises specifics on just what reforms she would push for in the system.

She also believes that the state’s health care system for the poorest also needs reform, by aligning it with private insurers.

Gender, of course, would separate her from most of the Republicans likely to express interest in the crowded race for her party’s nomination.

To date, neither major party has ever gone into November with a woman as the party’s nominee for governor. That has been a more troublesome reality among DFL activists than Republicans, but Brod said there would be “no irony” if it was the Republicans who would be first to come forward with a female candidate for governor.

Brod, 37, is one of several GOP women mentioned as potential candidates for a full-fledged run. Already, former State Auditor Pat Anderson has indicated she’ll announce. Other women’s names have been floated as well as possibilities, including 6thDistrict Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau, former Secretary of State and current Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, and state Sens. Michelle Fischbach of Paynesville and Julie Rosen of Fairmont. 

The DFL has three high-profile women often mentioned for the governor’s office. Ramsey county Attorney Susan Gaertner is already a declared candidate. Also ready to enter the race is House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, while Sen. Tarryl Clark of St. Cloud is considered a possibility.

“We’ve had a number of strong women in constitutional offices,” said Brod, who is viewed as media-savvy for her use of social media, such as Twitter, to communicate with the public. But she is also quick to say that “it’s the message, not the gender,” that will matter most to Minnesotans.

“I think if folks are interested in a pragmatic, Main Street approach to government, they would be interested in my message if I decide to run,” she said.

What of the “No New Taxes” pledge that seemed to limit Pawlenty’s options?

“The pledge will be brought up at some point,” Brod said. “I think we need to talk about the pledge in terms of why it’s a bad idea to raise taxes.”