Family: Not married.
Occupation: Self employed, consultant
Previous civic and community involvement: Elected to the MN House in 2010, currently serve as Assistant Majority Leader. Isanti County Commissioner 2004-2010, Stanford Township Supervisor 1999-2004. Church Council President fro 6 years, Zion Lutheran Church in Crown. Co-Founder of Project 24, a nonprofit that builds orphanages in Kenya.
1. Why are you running for office?
When I was elected in 2010, the State was facing a $6.1 billion dollar deficit, by working to reform government and find efficiencies, we were able to turn that into a $1.3 billion surplus without raising taxes. I’m running again to continue this important work.
2. Current state budget projections, when inflation is factored in, foresee an upcoming state budget deficit. If a deficit occurs, should that be remedied solely through budget cuts? If not, what revenue generators would you support?
The previously projected deficit for the current biennium of $6.2 billion, included a 44% increase in HHS spending alone. Nobody thinks thats an acceptable rate of growth. Our budget still allowed HHS to grow 12%, I learned that in St Paul this is a “cut”. We will have approximately 6% of additional revenue in the next biennium without raising any additional revenue.
3. Do you favor expanding Northstar Commuter Rail to St. Cloud, assuming ridership improves? Was the decision to establish a commuter rail line in the transportation corridor a good decision or bad one?
The ridership is under projections now, and taxpayers will be paying the bill forever to support this project. We haven’t seen the development or expansion along the line that was promised when it was proposed. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidize transportation for a small percentage of people. I support spending the money on our roads and bridges
4. In general, are public schools adequately funded in Minnesota? If not, where should additional money come from?
The legislature increased K/12 education funding by over $650 million in the current biennium. What the legislature can do is eliminate the un-funded mandates and allow the local districts more flexibility to spend the money the way they see fit, this will help a great deal. We also need a new funding formula that doesn’t make students in Mpls. worth 50% more than ours.
5. Do you support so-called Last In, First Out (LIFO) legislation that could allow school boards to call back a laid-off teacher with less seniority over another with more, if the teacher is deemed a more skillful teacher?
Yes, our kids deserve to have the best teachers in the classrooms, that may not mean the most senior.
6. Do you support passage of the two proposed constitutional amendments, Photo ID and the same-sex marriage ban, currently on the ballot?
7. Can lawmakers do anything to help improve the state’s economy?
We can reduce regulations and taxes on our small businesses so they can expand and create jobs. Government doesn’t create jobs, the private sector does. We need to make Minnesota an easier place to start and run a business. That will attract new job creators to our state, and allow sour businesses to expand and grow. They are what fuel our economy.
8. If you could sign three laws into effect today, what would they be?
Repeal of state wide business property tax, a more equitable school funding formula that doesn’t make a child in Mpls. worth 50% more than our students, and remove the 25 by 2025 energy mandate that is driving up energy costs.
9. What legislation would you support to reduce the number of abortions?
Eliminate any taxpayer funding to organizations that provide abortions, eliminate “web cam abortions” and make sure abortion clinics have to be licensed and inspected. We could also do a better job educating expecting mothers on their options and the alternatives to abortion.
10. The Elk River Area School District is seeking an operating levy renewal and an additional levy to in part provide for all day, every day kindergarten. Is that appropriate, or should the state provide the funding for this endeavor?
I think its fine as long as all-day kindergarten is optional.
11. What energy policies are needed in the state of Minnesota?
We should lift the ban on new nuclear and clean coal power plants in Minnesota.
12. What changes in health care reform would you push if elected?
We need a patient driven, market based health insurance system. I would also work to pass reforms that would reduce liability for our health care providers that are driving up health care costs.
Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce Questions
Would you describe yourself as “Pro-Business” and if yes, what makes you Pro-Business?
Yes, businesses are what drive our economy. We need to make Minnesota an easier place to do business in. I have always supported policies that promote business and job creation in the private sector.
What proposal do you have to ensure effective teachers in every classroom in the State of Minnesota?
LIFO,and reviewing and making hiring and layoff and promotion decisions based performance.
What policy changes would you support in higher education that will lead to an emphasis in producing people ready for work in the jobs available while also closing the skills gap?
We need to make sure we promote tech and vocational schools to our HS students, and make sure we are providing basic skills at the HS level that will prep students to be successful in post secondary.
What changes to the state’s property tax system do you believe are necessary to improve its competitiveness, understandability and administration?
We need to repeal or eliminate the statewide business property tax.
Should energy rates be set to reflect the actual costs of serving a group of customers in a specific class instead of having one class of customers subsidize another?
Is funding for Highway 10 improvements a priority? Why or why not?
Yes. Connecting Elk River and the cities to the north to the 610/252/35W corridors is important. Recent improvements to 101 to access 94 are good, but that corridor does not provide access to the closer north metro cities where many people from our area work.