Ryan Fiereck, MN Senate 31A
Family: Married(Kristen) with a 1-year-old Daughter (Sydney)
Occupation: St. Francis School District Teacher with experience at Elementary and Secondary levels; Local Union Leader, Active Education Minnesota member; Bethel Volunteer Firefighter
Previous civic and community involvement: Football and Basketball Coach
1. Why are you running for office?
The frustration of our political system has driven me to help find a way to improve what we have in place. We have seen the downfall of partisan politics in the last two years. We have seen a government shutdown and lack of compromise from incumbents in Minnesota. The citizens of Minnesota need leaders in place that will work together. I refuse to stand still.
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?
It must be a shared approach to be able to realistically close the budget gap. Yes, we need to cut government spending in areas where excess is currently present. At the same time, we need to fix the income tax code that sees the burden spread unevenly across all classes of citizens.
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?
I support the idea of an alternative transit system. The problem is, it is currently not being done in a manner to make full use of it. When investing in a program, like rail service, we need to build a system where we can use it when and how we need it. By working with our county commissioners, we can get a true feeling of our citizens needs.
4. In general, are public schools adequately funded in Minnesota? If not, where should additional money come from?
Minnesota must fund a public education system in a way that allows the system to be both sustainable & predictable. Funding schools through extended bank loans because of the state’s choices to shift funding is unacceptable. As we increase the loan amounts, we increase the amount of money that is taken out of schools and put into interest that is paid to the banks.
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?
There are many unanswered questions about a system that can replace the tenure system in place for teachers. I do not support an end to the tenure program for making employment decisions in schools. By doing this the end result is, decisions will be made on staffing based on the idea of cutting budget instead of quality of teachers.
6. Do you support passage of the two proposed constitutional amendments, Photo ID and the same-sex marriage ban, currently on the ballot?
I will not be supporting the ID amendment. It was drawn up with the purpose of keeping information very vague. My understanding is that burden would fall on the county, and I do not agree with a decision like this creating an increased burden on the county level. I will not be supporting the Marriage amendment. Laws are already in place to deal with this. It’s not Needed.
7. Can lawmakers do anything to help improve the state’s economy?
Continuing to work with small business to be able to create systems in Minnesota that allow them to, not only succeed, but thrive. Creating structures in government that reward business for investing in their workers, we are able to create a flow of revenue that helps bridge the gaps in our budget.
8. If you could sign three laws into effect today, what would they be?
Creating a Tax System that sees the same percentage burden across all classes of citizens.
Funding our schools in a manor that no longer requires them to be ‘beggers’ to their citizens. Schools are one of America’s greatest resources. Restoration of this belief needs to happen.
Cleaning and clearing up some of our blue laws.
9. What legislation would you support to reduce the number of abortions?
The decision to have an abortion is one that should be taken very seriously. I respect the right of the individual to make that decision.
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?
As responsibilities of school districts continue to expand, the funding of such opportunities as All Day Every Day Kindergarten (ADEDK) needs to be provided. The long term benefits of investment in Early Childhood Education are substantial. The state of Minnesota, and its residents, needs to create funding that makes ADEDK a minimum.
11. What energy policies are needed in the state of Minnesota?
Minnesota needs to be constantly looking at ways to improve our energy infrastructure. Looking at Coal, Wind, Solar, Nuclear all as opportunities to provide a very efficient product. Providing our provides with an environment that embraces innovation.
12. What changes in health care reform would you push if elected?
Improve access to health care is a must. We must also reward those citizens who make healthy choices in their lives.
Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce Questions
Would you describe yourself as “Pro-Business” and if yes, what makes you Pro-Business?
Small business are what allows our economy to strong and mobile at the same time. We need to clear the roads for their prosperity. By allowing small business to be created to fill the needs or our residents, we create a community that can build and handle itself.
What proposal do you have to ensure effective teachers in every classroom in the State of Minnesota?
Investment in good teachers is very important. Allowing our classroom teachers the opportunity to learn and better hone their profession over time creates a much better quality product. Supporting teachers through targeted improvement based professional development will help make sure that all or our student’s needs are being met.
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?
Increasing access to community and technical colleges is very important to full-filling the needs of our businesses. Also, creating partnerships where the businesses can harness and support our colleges, to help make sure that the end product of the student meets their needs.
What changes to the state’s property tax system do you believe are necessary to improve its competitiveness, understandability and administration?
Simplifying our tax system through the elimination of the double taxation of small businesses.
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?
I would work closely with the constituents of the groups to find a solution that can best support our residents of this great district.
Is funding for Highway 10 improvements a priority? Why or why not?
I would need to talk to the residents of the City of Zimmerman to find out what projects they find or need. The improvement to this vital resource needs to be in place as we connect our major cities through dependable, reliable public roads.