Repya A Veteran(I) Runs for Governor of Minnesota


Repya turns to fight for IP endorsement in gubernatorial race
Veteran of three wars pledges he’d be one-term leader
By Bill Salisbury
[email protected]
Updated: 01/20/2010 03:37:50 PM CST

Joe Repya is one old soldier who won’t fade away.

Repya, a 63-year-old retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel from Eagan who served in three wars, today will join a political battle by launching a campaign for the Independence Party endorsement for governor.

He’s a political newcomer but the veteran of 10 years of combat duty in Vietnam and of the Persian Gulf War and one of the oldest U.S. soldiers to volunteer for Operation Iraqi Freedom said Tuesday, “No other candidate is as battle-tested as I am.”

He planned to file paperwork with the state campaign finance board today to allow him to start raising money for the race.

Over a lunch of bakla at Babani’s Kurdish Restaurant in downtown St. Paul, Repya was asked why he’s running.

“I’ve always been a very called-to-duty fella,” he replied. “I see the state of Minnesota awash in red ink and career politicians continuing to play games with our budget, hurting our children’s education and our quality of life. I want to take a stand and fix that.

“That’s why I will probably be the only candidate in the three major parties who is taking a pledge to serve just one term as governor. I will not make decisions based on what would get me re-elected. I will make decisions based solely on what would be good for the state of Minnesota and the people I represent.”

Repya will join a crowded field to replace Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is not seeking a third term. St. Paul businessman and author Rob Hahn announced
last week that he would seek the IP nomination; frequent candidates John Uldrich, the father of state IP Chairman Jack Uldrich, and Rahn Workcuff, both of Minneapolis, have filed the paperwork to run, and public relations executive Tom Horner has said he intends to launch an exploratory campaign. In addition, 12 Democrats and seven Republicans are in the race.
Repya said IP leaders Jack Uldrich, Tim Penny and Dean Barkley encouraged him to run.

He is running for the first time, but he’s no stranger to politics. After retiring from the Army, he and his wife, Deb, a St. Paul lawyer, formed a grass-roots organization in 2003 that produced and distributed 30,000 “Support our Troops” signs. They also organized a pro-Iraq war rally at the state Capitol that attracted about 20,000 people.

Their leadership in support of President George W. Bush’s war policies led them to become more active in the local, state and national GOP. He became a spokesman on military and veterans’ issues for the presidential campaigns of Bush, Fred Thompson and John McCain, an adviser to the campaigns of Pawlenty and Sen. Norm Coleman, and a delegate to the 2004 and 2008 Republican national conventions. He raised large sums for Republican candidates. In 2007, he ran for state Republican Party chairman and lost.

Last year, he abandoned the party. He said the state GOP had become dysfunctional and its leaders tyrannical.

He believes both the GOP and the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party apparatuses are dominated by “extreme radicals,” and he asserted that voters are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the two largest parties and are looking for another option.

He’s a fiscal conservative. “My views on spending are very similar to the Republican candidates,” he said. But he would not sign a “no new taxes” pledge, although a tax increase would be his last option for fixing the budget.

If elected, he said, he would concentrate on creating jobs and “erasing the red ink and stabilizing the state budget.”

He contended his military background has prepared him to govern. “I understand pressure, deadlines and timetables, and I understand how to motivate and lead people,” he said.

He planned to launch a Web site today at

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