After four terms, Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is not running for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Two Republican candidates hope to get a shot at the 6th Congressional District seat in the general election.
Former state House representative and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer received the GOP nomination earlier this year and is being challenged by Anoka County Board Chairperson Rhonda Sivarajah.
The two will face off in the Aug. 12 primary, vying to take on the DFL’s Joe Perske in the November election.
Emmer and his wife, Jacquie, live in Delano and are the parents to seven children. Emmer has served the cities of Independence and Delano as a city council member, and served in the state Legislature representing parts of Wright and Hennepin counties.
Chair of the Anoka County Board of Commissioners; married 24 years to Ran, a 20-year veteran police officer; two children, Asha (17) and Sonjay (20); Former small business owner; fifth-generation Minnesotan, now living in Lino Lakes; born and raised in rural Cambridge; St. Cloud State University, B.A. International Relations; attends Eagle Brook Church; member, Metro North Chamber of Commerce; board of directors, Greater MSP.
1. What qualifies you to represent the citizens of the 6th Congressional District?
EMMER: I’m seeking this office because I know Washington can do better for our economy, our country and our children. Having served at the local and state level, I know first-hand how policies and regulations from Washington can slow our progress. I’ve traveled the state to hear from thousands of people and learned that a real public servant can relate to the concerns of their constituents at a personal level.
SIVARAJAH: My service on the Anoka County Board of Commissioners and my record of accomplishment makes me uniquely qualified for this position. I see first-hand at the local level the impacts of decisions made in Washington, D.C. and how they affect our families, children and senior citizens.
On the Anoka County Board of Commissioners, I have been able to work effectively both in the minority and in the majority to get things done for the citizens I represent. When faced with reductions in revenue, I led the effort to implement lean business practices to identify efficiencies in county government. We focused on debt reduction and setting priorities within our budget. As a result we were able to reduce the net county levy while continuing to provide the high level of services our citizens have come to expect. In Anoka County this is the third year we have not borrowed a single dime. I have delivered real results.
Our district needs a representative who has delivered results and real accomplishments rather than rhetoric. In Washington, I’ll get things done, even when it’s difficult and they say we can’t, just as I have in Anoka County.
2. If elected to Congress, would your emphasis be on passing new laws or repealing those that have already been passed? Which ones?
EMMER: My legislative focus in Congress would be on supporting laws that protect individual rights, grow our economy, and keep America strong. That may include new legislation to limit government, or repealing laws that are becoming a burden on the economy, like Obamacare. If elected, my office and I will work hard to listen and represent everyone in the 6th District.
SIVARAJAH: My focus would be on repealing laws and/or retooling existing laws. Repealing Obamacare would be a priority. Obamacare was supposed to save the average household $2,500 per year but is now making health care coverage more unaffordable with high deductibles and high premiums. At the same time, senior citizens are having hospital bills denied as cuts to Medicare Advantage were put into place to pay for Obamacare. In addition, I would work to change provisions of The Patriot Act such as the business records provision, which has been too broadly interpreted, allowing the government to collect data on millions of Americans with no suspected terrorist connections.
3. A third lane is now under construction along I-94 through the western part of the 6th District. That project was a high priority for Congresswoman Bachmann. Could you describe one or two key projects you would like to see accomplished in the 6th District in the coming years?
EMMER: Interstate 94 and US Highway 10 are two highly critical commerce and transportation arteries not only for the 6th District but for all of Minnesota and the upper Midwest. Whether it is Minnesota products being transported to the oil fields of North Dakota, Minnesotans on the way to the cabin, commuters on the way from home to work, or the products being sent every day to and from businesses from Blaine to St. Cloud, all things seem to flow through the 94 and 10 corridors.
There will need to be constant pressure to continue to get the investment on these critical highways to assure they continue to perform up to the high standards we place on them. Short-term, there is high need to allow the flow of Highway 10 traffic through Anoka, Ramsey and Elk River to move freely. Next year will see the completion of the expansion to six lanes on I-94 to St. Michael. We need to keep the progress going to Albertville, Monticello and beyond. These highways, together with the continued improvement in air service to St. Cloud, can assure the north metro communities they will stay connected with Central Minnesota and the Twin Cities areas to work, play and raise a family.
SIVARAJAH: Making needed safety and capacity improvements on Highway 10 between the Anoka-Sherburne County line through the city of Anoka are critical for safety, mobility and the economic viability of the area.
Other priorities would include a new interchange at Highway 97 and County Road 23 at I-35, as it is deficient in capacity and is experiencing a condition called black-bar, which will require major repairs; continuation of the widening of Interstate 94 beyond the current project to St. Cloud; and making safety and capacity improvements on Highway 5 in Carver County.