Birthdate: Jan. 8, 1970
Birth Place: Sauk Prairie, WI, United States
Residence: Rosemount, MN
Kurt Bills was born and raised in the rural south-central Wisconsin town of Sauk Prairie, and now resides in the St. Paul suburb of Rosemount, Minn. He earned two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree from Winona State University.
A longtime economics teacher and wrestling coach at Rosemount High School, Bills first entered public life when he was elected to the Rosemount City Council in 2008. Two years later, he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives as a Republican. Bills continued to teach a first-hour advanced placement economics class even during the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions.
Bills and his wife, Cindy, have four children. They own a licensed home daycare business that Cindy operates.
Kurt Bills was a little-known state representative who made a late entrance into the 2012 U.S. Senate race, and now finds himself as the Republican candidate challenging popular Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar as she seeks a second term. As one of several Republicans who were vying for the Republican nomination in spring 2012, Bills relied on heavy backing from libertarian supporters of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul to win the party endorsement and the primary.
After one term as a city councilman in his suburban community, Bills was elected to Minnesota's state House in 2010 as part of a Republican wave that saw the party take over both chambers of the Legislature. Bills did little to distinguish himself as a freshman lawmaker, mainly notable for sponsoring legislation that would have allowed people to use gold and silver coins as legal tender in Minnesota _ a priority for Paul and libertarians. The legislation did not advance.
Klobuchar approached her 2012 re-election bid with an aura of formidability, and the race failed to attract a number of big-name GOP prospects including former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Sen. Norm Coleman, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and others. Even amid a relatively weak field of contenders, Bills jumped in late _ not announcing his candidacy until March 2012, less than eight months before Election Day. Shortly before he joined the Senate race, Bills spoke at a Minneapolis rally for Paul, and his surprise entrance sparked speculation that Paul supporters who had begun to wield serious influence in the Minnesota GOP were looking for a candidate who fit the libertarian mold.
Bills has mostly done so, calling for deep spending cuts across the federal government. He called for eliminating four federal Cabinet departments, instituting a 17-percent flat tax for individuals and corporations, increasing the retirement age, limiting Social Security payments for higher-income people and restraining U.S. military intervention overseas. Those provisions all come from a federal budget proposal put forward by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky _ Ron Paul's son _ that aims to balance the U.S. budget within five years and reduce the national debt by $2 trillion.
But Klobuchar enjoys a massive financial advantage, and Bills has struggled to spread his views widely. By mid-July, Klobuchar had $5.5 million in the bank for her reelection bid while Bills had only about $5,000.
He took to comparing his longshot bid to that of the late Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone, who scored an unexpected victory against a well-funded incumbent in 1990. But that comparison provoked scorn from Democrats, and criticism from Wellstone's son, who pointed out his father's political views were diametrically opposed to those of Bills.
Source: Associated Press