Emmer wants to practice the art of “constitutional government.”

Republican Tom Emmer outlined his “first principles” speech tonight before a receptive audience of 150 people. During his roughly 30 minuts speech, Emmer says, if elected, he’ll return Minnesota to the “art of constitutional government” if he’s elected governor.

The state legislator from Delano said those key constitutional priorities are public safety, infrastructure and public education. Emmer also urged a dramatic overhaul of the state’s social service and welfare programs – saying he’ll “peel back the onion” when it comes to social service programs.

Emmer also took a shot at his key Republican rival, Marty Seifert, who released eight policy papers on issues like the state budget, transportation and education.

“You can talk about policies all day,” Emmer said. “We can hire all of the experts from coast to coast and they can put out all kinds of policies for you as to how ‘We’re going to change this and revamp that.’ But you know what? It all starts with those documents. Those founding documents. You must get back to the art of practicing constitutional government.”

Emmer is vying for the Republican endorsement with fellow state legislator Marty Seifert of Marshall. Seifert’s campaign manager Kurt Daudt said Emmer should have outlined how he’ll accomplish his goals.

“People are looking for specifics and we haven’t seen specific plans on how he wants to do these things,” Daudt said. “He’s talked about at times reducing the state budget by up to forty percent. Numbers that seem almost impossible. I think people want to hear specifics on how he plans to do that.”

The April 30th Republican endorsing convention will be critical for both Emmer and Seifert since they both pledged to drop out of the race if they don’t win party backing. Democrats will meet on Saturday to back their candidate.