Voter’s Guide 2012: Part 2

3rd U.S. Congressional District pits Paulsen against Barnes

There are two candidates running for the Third U.S. Congressional District.

Cities in the district: Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Champlin, Coon Rapids, Corcoran, Dayton, Deephaven, Excelsior, Eden Prairie, Edina, Greenfield, Greenwood, Hassan, Independence, Laketown, Long Lake, Loretto, Maple Grove, Maple Plain, Medina, Medicine Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, Minnetrista, Mound, Orono, Osseo, Plymouth, Rogers, Shorewood, Spring Park, St. Bonifacius, Tonka Bay, Victoria, Wayzata and Woodland.

Brian Barnes is the DFL challenger, and Erik Paulsen is the Republican incumbent.

The term of office is two years. U.S. Congress members earn $174,000 per year.

Brian Barnes

Address: 5008 Kelsey Terrace, Edina

Family: Wife Jennifer, 9-week-old daughter

Education: MBA in Marketing and Finance from Washington University Olin School of Business in St. Louis, dual degrees in Marine Engineering and Nautical Science from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point.

Occupation: Leader of global sales and marketing for the marine division at Cummins Onan, Fridley.

Years you have lived in the district: 4

Top three community or civic organizations involvement: 11 years in the U.S. Navy Reserve, earning rank of Lt. Commander, and sailed with the U.S. Merchant Marine, and participated in Operation Enduring Freedom aboard the SSG Carter.

How people can contact you:

Q: What does getting elected to “get the job done” mean? What specific votes would you cast or action would you take as a Congressman to accomplish that?

Getting the job done requires that elected officials leave their party affiliation at home and come to work prepared to do the nation’s business. Since the August recess, Congress has been in session a total of eight days and the only bills passed were to kick the can down the road until after the election.

Our nation’s security, our economy and the welfare of our citizens must come before the petty partisan brinkmanship that has been a hallmark of this Congress.

Finally it’s not the job of Congress to win elections. Congress’s job is to serve its citizens and keep American as the leader of the free world. It’s a congressperson’s job to serve all his constituents not just those who donate the most money to a campaign.

Q: What long-term planning needs to occur at the Congressional level? What long-term issues would you like to address in Congress if elected?

We need a long-term economic plan that deals with our budget including revenue and expenses and deficit elimination. Businesses need it, the markets need it, the states need it and we need it to improve consumer confidence.

Just one example: This obstructionist Congress failed to produce a 5-year plan for our nation’s transportation systems. This has had a devastating effect on state governments.

We must enact a 30-year plan for Social Security and Medicare. Privatization of these vital programs must never be an option, and we can’t let our Congressman get away with that while hiding behind words like “preserve and protect.”

Last but not least we need to take a close look at our national interest and our defense budgets. We need to make smarter choices for national security and prepare for the next century not the last century, and stop allowing Congress to spend recklessly on things the generals and pentagon don’t want and haven’t asked for.

Erik Paulsen

Address: 9158 E Staring Lane Eden Prairie

Age: 47

Family: Wife Kelly, four daughters (Cassie, Briana, Tayler and Liesl)

Education: St. Olaf College, B.A. Mathematics

Occupation: Congressman, Minnesota 3rd District

Years living in the district: 20

Community involvement: Member, Eden Prairie; Chamber Commerce and Victory Lutheran Church; former trustee, Minneapolis Institute of Arts; board member, A Better Chance Foundation; volunteer, the Learning Exchange


Q: What does getting elected to “get the job done” mean? What specific votes would you cast or action would you take as a Congressman to accomplish that?

The voters of the Third District are engaged, and they expect results-oriented leaders who are willing to work across the aisle to get things done. That’s why I’ve focused my efforts on building relationships in Washington and have worked across the aisle on issues important to my constituents.

Washington has been on the wrong track for far too long, and it is critical that we enact real, meaningful reforms that will put people back to work, while finally putting our nation on track for a sustainable economic recovery so that we can provide a healthy fiscal future for our children and grandchildren.

America’s success is tied to the strength of our economy.

One area I’ve focused my work on is Minnesota’s medical technology industry. It’s a vital part of our economy, supporting over 35,000 jobs at over 400 companies in Minnesota alone.

The new job-killing medical device tax that was part of the new health care law has been another focus of mine. This excise tax is hitting medical technology companies hard and is literally sending American and Minnesota jobs and innovation overseas.

I was proud to have my bill to repeal this tax pass the House this summer with strong bipartisan support and the votes of every member of Minnesota’s congressional delegation.

Q: What long-term planning needs to occur at the Congressional level? What long-term issues would you like to address in Congress if elected?

Reforming our tax code so that it’s more fair, simple, and competitive must be a long-term priority in Washington.

Another way to boost our economy and create jobs is through free trade. Last year, we passed three free trade agreements that opened up the markets into foreign countries and expanded opportunities for American companies and businesses.

I’m proud to have the endorsement of small business groups in my district like the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business. I’m also proud to be endorsed by Minnesota’s major law enforcement organizations, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and the Fraternal Order of Police.

Bachmann faces Graves in 6th District

DFLer Jim Graves of St. Cloud and Republican Michele Bachmann of Stillwater are competing for the right to represent the Sixth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Sixth District in this area includes St. Michael, Albertville, Hanover, Delano, Rockford, Rockford Township and Buffalo. It also extends as far north and west as St. Cloud and as far east as Andover and Ramsey. Due to recent redistricting, Stillwater no longer is in the Sixth District.

This newspaper asked both candidates for biographical information about themselves. They also were asked to comment on the top issues they feel are important in this election and explain any changes they would like to see made to address the Sixth District’s most urgent problems. The candidates were asked to include their vision for the Sixth District’s future and what Congress should do to guide future growth.

The candidates’ statements are below.

Michele Bachmann

Candidate biography:

I’ve been honored to serve in Congress since 2007. I’m a former tax lawyer and raised five biological and 23 foster children with my husband. We also own and operate a small business. I graduated from Anoka High School and Winona State University. I earned a J.D. degree from Oral Roberts University and an L.L.M. degree in Tax Law from the College of William and Mary.

In Congress, I serve on the Financial Services Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. I am chair of the House Tea Party Caucus and co-chair of the Adoption and Foster Care Coalition.

Candidate statement:

Serving Minnesota’s Sixth District has been an honor and a joy for me; I desire to continue my efforts in Congress to promote pro-growth policies for Minnesota.

My husband and I run a small business together and have experienced the regulatory nightmares of the President’s healthcare plan as well as the overreaching policies of Dodd-Frank. I voted against wasteful stimulus and Wall Street bailouts because I knew the hardships on families and businesses wouldn’t be helped with shrimp research and golden parachutes.

I have been fortunate to serve Central Minnesota the past six years in Congress, and I have been inspired by the tenacity with which businesses have approached the economy. I have seen and know that Central Minnesota is prime for growth. We are already are home to great medical device and technology manufacturing operations which have provided countless jobs for families across the district.

Unfortunately, Washington agencies continue to add regulations and fines that stifle growth right here at home. The last thing we need in Minnesota is more Washington bureaucracy when families and businesses are struggling to make ends meet. In ObamaCare alone, there are thousands of regulations and dozens of taxes I’m committed to repealing in their entirety. I believe in fostering an environment which encourages and allows businesses to use ingenuity and initiative to propel their way forward, thus producing more stable employment in our communities.

Growing our economy starts with cutting spending and keeping more money in families’ wallets through tax cuts. As a former tax attorney, I know how confusing our tax code is. I also know the choice isn’t just between cuts and taxes; we need to focus on growing our economy which will increase jobs and revenue. Families want to live in safe neighborhoods, want the opportunity to send their kids to the best schools, and also want high-paying, stable jobs. Families deserve a Representative who will work tirelessly to keep Washington from creeping into their lives while promoting pro-growth principles.

Serving the Sixth District has been an honor. I energetically seek to continue working as a pro-growth, principled reformer. In Washington, I’m an independent voice, taking on my own party for its over spending. I’ve delivered a new bridge in Stillwater, a new veterans’ clinic in Ramsey and saved the St. Cloud Airport because I am committed to defending the Sixth District’s principles and priorities over playing politics.

Jim Graves

Candidate biography:

Businessman Jim Graves grew up as one of six siblings in a middle-class, Catholic family in St. Cloud. Learning early the value of hard work and responsibility, he worked weekends to pay his own tuition at Cathedral High School. After graduating from St. Cloud State, he taught elementary school for two years and then launched a family business out of his basement. By 1979 he had founded the AmericInn hotel chain. He went on to create hundreds of small businesses and thousands of jobs throughout the region. Jim and his wife Julie have with three sons and seven grandchildren.

Candidate statement:

My top priority is strengthening the economy by bringing good paying, livable-wage jobs to Minnesota’s Sixth District. As a businessman, I understand what it’ll take to create jobs, balance the budget, and get the economy back on track.

I’ll work to foster an atmosphere of economic growth by cutting meaningless red tape and ensuring that small businesses have access to capital. I know that government should be as small as possible and should only provide that which we cannot provide ourselves. Our economy works best when government gets out of the way and allows the free market to do its work. I’ll work to curb the cost of health care by promoting transparency and by implementing free-market principles.

I will ensure that the middle class, which is the true engine of our economy, enjoys an atmosphere that promotes growth and puts money back in the hands of the American families that create aggregate demand.

I’ll support strengthening the workforce of the future by ensuring our children have access to a quality education and that students get the job training needed to become flourishing members of society. Both as teacher and as an employer, I’ve witnessed firsthand the value of a quality education.

I will protect our seniors by fighting to keep Medicare. And I will make sure that we fulfill our promise to our veterans and service members, who have all too often been forgotten.

Most importantly, I will bring a common-sense business approach to Washington. I’ve spent my entire life bringing people together in order to accomplish common goals. In Washington, I will strive to put an end to the terrible partisanship and incivility by crossing the aisle and working toward shared objectives. I believe members of Congress should seek to be servants, not celebrities. They should work to create jobs, not headlines.

And that is what I’m going to Congress to do. As a St. Cloud businessman and a person who has been fortunate enough to achieve the American Dream in Minnesota, I am committed to remaining independent in my decision-making and always putting the people of Minnesota’s Sixth District first.

Meet the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, District 1 candidates

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners race to represent District 1 is between Mike Opat and Chris Rains.

The First District serves all or parts of Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Minneapolis, New Hope, Osseo and Robbinsdale.

The term length is four years. The annual salary for the position is $97,080.

Mike Opat

Address: 4529 York Ave. N., Robbinsdale

Family: Wife, Kim, three children

Education: Masters in Public Policy

Occupation: Hennepin County Commissioner

Years in county: 51 years

Community involvement: ARC – Honorary Board Member, Robbinsdale Little League coach, Armstrong Traveling Basketball coach

Have you run for any other office in the past? If so, list what, when and for how long you served (if applicable): Yes, served as Hennepin County Commissioner since 1992

Information: [email protected]

Q. What challenges do you feel face the county and what will you do to solve them?

I believe Hennepin County faces three primary challenges in the coming years:

The county receives both state and federal funding for programs they mandate we deliver. These sources will probably remain flat or there will be cuts. As your representative, I will work to minimize cuts that damage our ability to deliver basic safety net human service programs and public safety activities. Where cuts are inevitable, I’ll continue working to improve efficiency and innovation so that we can absorb cuts with minimal service disruption to clients and taxpayers. In all cases, I’ll work to prevent property tax increases.

Constructing the Bottineau LRT line is a major challenge that we must solve. An expanded LRT system has been a bi-partisan priority of the County Board for years and we have made great progress planning Bottineau. Access for our cities to the region’s assets, MSP International airport, downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, the Mall of America and our Target North Campus is vital.

Building the new Brooklyn Park Library will be a challenge given minority opposition to projects that are anything but Spartan. Brooklyn Park should have a first class library and great care must be taken to make certain that the final planning leaves no opportunity forsaken. I’ll work to ensure the facility becomes a landmark for our northern suburbs.

Q. Why are you the best person to represent Hennepin County and what differentiates you from your opponent?

I believe I am the best candidate in this race because I believe in Hennepin County and desire to continue making our county a national leader. Unlike my opponent who, while a very nice fellow, admits he doesn’t understand much of what the county does and has not offered a significant policy change or proposal, I have a great deal of experience making progress in County work.

I’ve lived here my entire life and I understand the issues our six cities face. I’ve worked with each city on matters of mutual importance. I have the personal endorsement of every mayor in the district as well as labor and police organizations.

Governing Hennepin County is not easy. The County is a very large and diverse organization. I have worked to understand the many competing interests and have worked to maintain our AAA credit rating through the current financial crisis without major layoffs or massive service disruptions. We are a government that works. As Chair I have played a key role in our excellent performance and I would like to continue to do so.

Chris Rains

Address: 10303 Major Dr., Brooklyn Park

Family: Wife, Annette, three children

Education: High School

Occupation: Real Estate broker and retail storeowner

Years in county: 40

Community involvement: Sunday school teacher, Sharing and Caring Hands

Have you run for any other office in the past? If so, list what, when and for how long you served (if applicable): No


Q. What challenges do you feel face the county and what will you do to solve them?

As county commissioner, my goal is to prioritize spending on core services that most voters expect from Hennepin County: ensuring our public safety, building roads and bridges, and taking care of those most vulnerable and in need such as child protection services, assistance for those developmentally disabled and services for the elderly.

Last year, an amendment was offered to cut the general property tax levy by 2.5 percent. That amount is what the Budget/Finance Department said would be necessary to hold the median-value home in Hennepin County harmless from a county tax increase. Mike Opat rejected this proposal. We are struggling through a recession, yet the county refuses to act to lessen the burden on taxpayers.

The increase in your property tax has taken money out of your pocket, while gas, food, and healthcare costs have gone up. We need to slow the rate of spending, so that voters have more money to spend on necessities, put away money for their kid’s college fund, or just pay their mortgage. We don’t need monument-seeking politicians. A prime example of that is the Lowry Bridge. We need regular citizens to step up and serve. I ask for your vote on Nov. 6th.

Q. Why are you the best person to represent Hennepin County and what differentiates you from your opponent?

I have never run for office before nor did I intend to. I have been a small business owner since 2002. Now more than ever, it’s time for new people with real-world experience in government. It’s time to have someone who has felt the impact of the recession and understands what it means to have to cut back. As you know, it doesn’t take a bureaucrat; it takes someone with conviction, clarity, and common sense.

In 1992, Mike Opat believed that commissioners should have term limits “so that no commissioner serves more than 10 consecutive years on the board,” (1992 Mike Opat campaign literature). Now 20 years later, he is still there running and running for four more. He is funded primarily through contractors who do business with the county, lobbyists/law firms, and PAC money. I receive donations from regular citizens. He is your typical career politician, I am not. Mike seems to have lost touch with what is important to the voters in District 1.

Johnson running unopposed in Hennepin County District 7 race

Incumbent Jeff Johnson is running unopposed in the District 7 Hennepin County Commission race.

The term is four years.

District 7 includes the cities of Champlin, Corcoran, Dayton, Greenfield, Independence, Loretto, Maple Grove, Maple Plain, Medina, Minnetrista, Rogers and St. Bonifacius; plus portions of Hanover, Plymouth, Rockford and Mound.

Jeff Johnson

Candidate Biography:

Jeff Johnson is finishing his first term as a Hennepin County Commissioner representing much of the western and northwestern parts of the county. He is a former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives and is president and founder of Midwest Employment Resources, a firm providing employment law training and investigation services throughout the country.

Jeff graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota in 1989 and Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C. in 1992.

He lives in Plymouth with his wife, Sondi; two sons, Thor (14) and Rolf (11); and bulldog, Chester (2).

Candidate Statement:

During my time on the county board, I have attempted to be a voice for the property tax payers of Hennepin County.

The county, with an annual budget exceeding $1.6 billion, does many important things very well. In particular, we use your tax dollars to provide a county transportation system, strong public safety and a safety net for the most vulnerable people in our society.

Much like other levels of government, however, we tend to spend more than we need to or should and don’t always prioritize what is most important, sometimes losing focus on those fundamental things listed above.

We also focus heavily on what the county can do for those who receive benefits from the government, sometimes forgetting to consider the needs of those who pay for all those benefits — the often forgotten taxpayers of Hennepin County.

My philosophy: When those of us in government vote to spend money, we should act as though that money is coming out of our own pockets rather than someone else’s. If we did that a bit more often, I think many of us would be much more satisfied with our government.

It has truly been an honor to serve the residents of District 7 these past four years on the board and I would appreciate the privilege of serving again for four more.

Thank you.

Candidates seek Wright County Board Dist. 4 seats

New district numbers were created within the Wright County Board District 4 seat.

This Guide features County Board candidates for District 4. Wright County District 4 includes Rockford, Rockford Township, Hanover, Albertville and Precinct 1A in St. Michael.

In District 4 Mary Wetter, of Rockford Township, will face Mike Potter, of Albertville.

This newspaper asked these candidates to submit biographies of themselves. They also were asked to outline what issues they think are important for Wright County. Candidates were given a 100-word limit for their biographies and a 400-word limit for their statements.

Below are submissions from the candidates.

Michael Potter

I’m Michael Potter and I’m running for Dist. 4 Wright County Commissioner.

I’m 54 years old and married to Heidi for 29 years. We have three daughters, Laura, Rachel and Amy.

We have lived for 28 years in Albertville. During that time I’ve served as a council member and mayor, along with the Joint Powers Water Board, transportation task force, water management task force and other boards.

I’m a small business owner, one of which was a real estate broker. During that time I brokered the Outlet Mall. I currently own a resort and work construction and sales.

I would like the opportunity to serve the citizens of Dist. 4. I believe that I have the skills and experience to help us keep taxes down and encourage business development. We need to keep taxes down while fostering a positive environment for new opportunities in growth. We need to improve our transportation in the eastern half of the county along with other infrastructure needs of each city and township.

Thank you, and I’m asking for your vote Nov. 6.

Mary Wetter

Married to Leander 37 years, 3 adult children; lived in Wright County 39 years, 37 in Rockford Township; Bachelor of Science, University of Minnesota, Medical Technology; MN.

Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts/University of Minnesota Extension Leadership Institute; farming 30 years dairy and crops; past Laboratory Supervisor Buffalo Hospital; Wright Soil and Water District (SWCD) Supervisor – 10 years; Wright SWCD Legislative and Finance Committees; MN. Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) Metro Area Director; MASWCD Legislative and Resolution/Policy Committees; Metropolitan Conservation Districts Technical Service Area Joint Powers Board; Lake Monitoring volunteer; Extension Committee; 4-H leader.

I have worked on many political campaigns through the years and have always been a strong advocate for local government. I believe in user friendly zoning laws. I do not believe in larger government. I do not believe in higher taxes. I’d like to be a part of making Wright County a stronger county by providing the leadership to make the policy and financial decisions to make it so. I believe in teamwork to bring about the development and implementation for new strategies for more efficient ways to do things without spending more.

I am fiscally conservative and as such, our tax dollars must be spent wisely. Having lived in Wright County for 39 years and being actively involved already in local politics as well as co-managing our family farm for 30 years successfully, I understand the issues involved. I have the training and the experience to address these issues on behalf of the people of District 4 and what is best for the county.

I will be fiscally responsible, accessible, approachable, accountable, proactive and responsive to you.

Thank you for your consideration. For more information and to contact me:

2 candidates run for Wright County Board Dist. 5 seat

Residents of Wright County will have to get used to new district numbers when it comes time to vote for Wright County Board. Redistricting this year is the reason for the number changes.

Wright County Board District 5 spans Franklin, Woodland, Victor, Stockholm, Cokato, Middleville, Marysville and French Lake Townships and includes the cities of Delano, Montrose, Howard Lake and Cokato.

In District 5, Charlie Borrell, of Waverly, is competing against Leonard Wozniak, of Cokato.

This newspaper asked these candidates to submit biographies of themselves. They also were asked to outline what issues they think are important for Wright County. Candidates were given a 100-word limit for their biographies and a 400-word limit for their statements.

Below are submissions from the candidates.

Charlie Borrell

I am a lifelong Wright County resident, growing up on a farm in Woodland Township. My wife Lynn and I attend St. Mary’s Church in Waverly, and we have four children. I am a 1973 graduate of Howard Lake High School, and hold a BS degree in business management from St. Cloud State University. I am a US Navy veteran, completing four years active duty and 17 years of reserve duty. Since 1980 I have farmed in Woodland Township as well as run a small business.

My educational background and life experiences are the biggest assets that I will bring to the County Commissioner’s position. I have served on the Woodland Town Board, as well as the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School Board. In both capacities I have been responsive to needs of people I served, and have been a good steward of the position.

I am proud to have been endorsed by the Republican Party of Wright County for the Fifth District and will always be guided by my conservative values. I believe the degree that we are controlled by government rules and regulation has increased and should be stopped. Our founding fathers risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, to make this country free. We cannot continue to over regulate lives of people and business, and expect to remain a free people.

I believe that government should serve the people. We should not be a people that have to serve government. Too often this has been the way that our leaders have taken us. I will do my best to reverse this trend and return government to the people. I believe even the best of leaders tend to become part of the system after a long period of time. To this end, I promise that if elected, I will serve no more than two terms.

Leonard Wozniak

I have lived in Wright County and Stockholm Township all my life. I have been married 38 years and have three children that all live and work in Wright County. I dairy farmed for 28 years and for the last nine I have been working as an electronics tech at Sauntec in Cokato. I am 59 years old.

For nine years I was a Town Board supervisor for Stockholm Township along with handling planning and zoning for the last 20 years. Also I was on two co-op boards, one for nine years and one four years. I worked with the city of Cokato and two other townships to help set up a joint fire commission to oversee fire protection in our area. When township residents requested that the Town Board set up our own planning and zoning, I built it from the ground up by teaching myself all that can be involved in starting and running a planning and zoning system.

I believe that I can offer the best leadership for the county through the uneasy times ahead. With my experience in the agriculture industry, manufacturing, and business, I can directly relate to issues affecting us. I know that I can do the job and that I have skills for working well with people that need a good voice in county government.

What are the most important issues facing Wright County? The county recently has begun turning roads back to the townships for upkeep and repair because they claim to not have the money to do improvements. This shows me that in the past years the just getting by budgets will not improve this situation. There needs to be real constraints and across the board reductions. County Commissioners will have to be innovative and open to new ideas to align us with the new normal in county government finances.

Steele, Wyatt on ballot for Three Rivers Park District Commissioner 1 seat

Residents will be choosing between Penny Steele and Sara Wyatt for the Three Rivers Park District Commissioner 1 position during the Tuesday, Nov. 6 election.

This seat represents the cities of: Corcoran, Greenfield, Hanover, Independence, Loretto, Maple Plain, Medina, Rogers, Rockford, Long Lake, Medicine Lake, Minnetrista, Minnetonka Beach, Mound, New Hope, parts of Orono, Plymouth, Spring Park, St. Bonifacius and Wayzata.

Penny Steele

Address: 21323 Foxtail Lane, Rogers

Age: 59

Family: Married with 3 sons.

Education: B.A.; St. Olaf College

Years living in the district: 22

Community involvement: 14 years served as a Hennepin County Commissioner.


Q. Why are you running for this position?

I am running to be a strong voice for the taxpayers on the Three Rivers Park District Board. In these difficult times government must do more with less. As people struggle with unemployment, under-employment and fixed incomes they face tough choices every day.  They have to prioritize their budgets and cut out wasteful spending. It is only right that government do the same thing.

I am running to bring my strong record of leadership as a taxpayer watchdog to the Park District Board.        I have had a strong record of fiscal conservatism that always put the taxpayers first.  As a Hennepin County Commissioner my willingness to challenge the system led to significant savings of taxpayer dollars.

I am running to bring my reform- minded leadership to the Three Rivers Park Board. As a Hennepin County Commissioner I was instrumental in reforming and merging two metropolitan government entities, the 800 Megahertz Radio Board and the Metropolitan 911 Board into one to form the Metropolitan Emergency Services Board.

Q. What areas within the park district need improvement, and how will you work towards those improvements?

Several months ago it became clear that the Park District Board Information System needed serious improvement.   The system security was breached and user’s information was put at risk.  It is important that a thorough examination of the weaknesses in the system and in the policies and procedures take place.  It is also important to scrutinize the totality of the Information Technology department   to make sure that it is compliant and current in both skills and operations. It is important that technology serves the operation of the District and not the other way around.  A look at the overall use of technology to make sure the District is taking full advantage of better more cost-effective ways to both communicate and operate is in order.

Q. What is the social value in providing a well-run park system to the community?

The size and scope of recreational and outdoor opportunities at the Three Rivers Park District is a great benefit to our community. The Park District offers outstanding opportunities for people of all ages. For children and families, the great variety of play areas, trails, beaches and boating, just to name a few, offer countless hours of family recreation. From teenagers to senior citizens, the District offers wonderful amenities for physical fitness and outdoor recreation.

Sara Wyatt

Address: 4235 North 6th Ave., Orono

Age: 67

Family: My family includes my husband Bill Wyatt; our son Mike and our grandson Sam.

Education: B.A.; North Dakota State University

Years living in the district: 30 years in District 1, 10 additional years in Lake Minnetonka area

Community involvement: Three Rivers Board of Commissioners for 6 years, Chair of Parks and Natural Resources Committee; numerous community activities including President of PTO; cub scout leader; and Sunday school teacher.

Information: [email protected],

Q. Why are you running for this position?

I am proud of the following projects which are just a few completed in my two terms: Dakota Rail & Lake Independence Trails; extension of the Luce Line and Medicine Lake Trails; Eastman Nature Center; 36th Avenue Pedestrian Bridge; Lake Rebecca Play Area; Gale Woods Education Center; Elm Creek Mountain Bike Course & Disc Golf Course; Camper Cabins; Elm Creek Play Area; Fish Lake Dog Park; Eagle Lake Mini-golf; and Silverwood Park.

My achievement record is based on these core beliefs:  Free access to our parks; a strong trail system; public-private partnerships; strong stewardship and recreation programs; and being a leader in resource protection. Parks have always played a big role in my family’s life and we continue to be active outdoor enthusiasts. As a park user, I reflect the user perspective in my board decisions. I believe that I can continue to give you and your families the great parks that you deserve, and that I am the best candidate to meet the challenges facing Three Rivers Park District.

Q. What areas within the park district need improvement, and how will you work towards those improvements?

Careful budgeting continues to be an issue. For the past three years, I’ve proposed a zero-percent or less increase in the tax levy, which has been adopted unanimously by the Board of Commissioners. Despite declining property tax revenues, increased visitation and higher operating costs, our board and staff have been innovative with available resources and partnering to make sure our parks keep getting better.

Two challenges facing parks include improving water quality in impaired lakes and streams and preventing and managing invasive species like zebra mussels or curly pond leaf in lakes or buckthorn and emerald ash borer in parks. Partnering with agencies and engaging concerned citizens to find the best long-term solutions are my priorities. I am committed to protecting our natural resources and making our parks great while living within our means.

Q. What is the social value in providing a well-run park system to the community?

For me, a connection with nature is essential to living a healthy and well-balanced life. Three Rivers Parks offer all ages many wonderful outdoor activities at a reasonable price for families who may be struggling with a tough economy. Doctors are routinely recommending recreational activities available in our parks as therapy for depression, obesity, ADD, and high stress lifestyles.  The words of Pioneer Conservationist John Muir are still true today, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal, cheer and give strength.”

2 candidates vie for Three Rivers Park District Commissioner 2 seat

Candidates Jennifer DeJournett and Rick Theisen will be on the ballot for the Three Rivers Park District Commissioner 2 seat in the Tuesday, Nov. 6 election.

This seat represents the cities of: Maple Grove, Champlin, Osseo, Dayton and parts of Brooklyn Park.

Jennifer DeJournett

Address: 18094 Gladstone Blvd. N., Maple Grove

Age: 39

Occupation: Structural Engineer

Family: Wife to Todd DeJournett, Mom to 4 children

Education: Bachelor of Science – Civil Engineering Iowa State University, Mini MBA (Exec Education Series) at University of St. Thomas

Years living in the district: 12 years (Maple Grove, Brooklyn Park and Plymouth) Community involvement: Minnesota Commission on National and Community Service (SERVEMN), Board Member; Independent School District 279, FISCAL (Budget) Advisory Committee, former; Independent School District 279, Strategic Plan Sub-Committee, former; Budget Advisory Committee, (City of Brooklyn Park), former; Vice Chair of the Human Rights Commission (City of Brooklyn Park), former; Gladstone Homeowners Association, Treasurer; Co-Founder, Ever After Gowns; Beacon Academy, Parent Volunteer; Meals on Wheels, volunteer; Mary Queen of Peace, parishioner; International Mom’s Club, member.

Information:, [email protected]

Q. Why are you running for this position?

I am running for the Board of Commissioners seat to improve communication between the board and the community. I also would like to make sure the perspective of our community and park users is heard.

My background as a Structural Engineer would bring a skill set that currently doesn’t exist on the board. Each year, the board considers a large number of significant capital improvement projects, as well as the maintenance and upkeep of a large amount of existing infrastructure. My experience as an engineer will be very valuable to the board in maximizing benefit for the budget spent on behalf of the community. Additionally, my family consists of small children that use the park system year-round. The perspective of young families and how they use the park system would be a strong addition to the Board.

Q. What areas within the park district need improvement, and how will you work towards those improvements?

Our park system is an asset to our community. If elected to the Three Rivers Board of Commissioners, I will work to make sure our taxpayer dollars are spent prudently so that we can preserve our park system and be responsible with our budget. Additionally, I will work to increase communication with our residents by being accessible, listening to the community and advocating for more transparent park operations.

Q. What is the social value in providing a well-run park system to the community?

A well-run park system provides healthy local recreational opportunities for the community, as well as opportunities for our children to learn about their world. Having these opportunities available locally is important, particularly during difficult economic times when travel is so expensive. A well-run park system also provides value to our families by respecting the taxpayer dollars and maintaining the amenities that have been acquired on behalf of the community. Having a consistent level of service in tough economic times requires that leaders make wise choices regarding the acquisition/construction of new assets vs. the efficient maintenance of existing assets.

Rick Theisen

Address: 15244 Territorial Rd., Maple Grove

Age: 69

Occupation: High school Social Studies teacher 1966-2000; Curriculum consultant 2000-present.

Family: Married, spouse Jeanie, two children, Terri & Joel, three grandchildren

Education: Bachelor’s, St. John’s University; Master’s Utah State University

Years living in the district: 38 in Maple Grove

Community involvement: Chair, Maple Grove Citizens Long Range Improvement Committee; Member, Maple Grove Comprehensive Plan Committee; Election judge; Member, Minnesota Dept. of Education Social Studies standards committee; volunteer, Brooklyn Park CEAP

Information:, [email protected]

Q. Why are you running for this position?

Three Rivers is an attractive, safe and well-designed park system with easy access and multiple recreational opportunities for all age groups. Maintaining and building on that foundation would be my goal as a park commissioner. My family, our grandchildren and the community have benefited immensely from Three Rivers. We must be good stewards of this treasure for future generations.

Q. What areas within the park district need improvement, and how will you work towards those improvements?

These are the areas commissioners must address:

• Need for greater transparency and accountability

Commissioners have had to work with less revenue than expected and tough decisions about staff and services will have to be made. Citizens elect commissioners and cannot hold commissioners accountable without easy access to current information on board decisions and issues. One easy way of staying current is to read board minutes and background data for commission members online.

• Increase accessibility for all income and age groups

Through the previous leadership of Jim Deane, a past chair of the Three Rivers Park Board, accessibility to park facilities and program was modified to encourage greater use by all income levels in the community. Park commissioners must always make reasonable and equitable access fees for use of the park system a priority.

• Improve communication and cooperation with other community and government entities

Governmental bodies must always act to improve their communication with their citizen constituents, citizen’s organizations and other governmental entities. Commissioners are elected to lead and to serve. Both are imperative.

Q. What is the social value in providing a well-run park system to the community?

Park systems like Three Rivers provide a commons where all citizens can leave their work world and enjoy their leisure time. It is a setting where families, individuals, and couples can engage in a variety of recreational or contemplative activities. It is an amenity all cities and regions should provide for their citizens.

Voter’s Guide Part 1

McDonald, Dye run in House Dist. 29A

Republican Joe McDonald of Delano and DFLer Susann Dye of Franklin Township are competing for the District 29A seat in Minnesota House.

House District 29A is located in Wright County and includes Rockford, Delano, Montrose, Waverly, Howard Lake Annandale, as well as Rockford and Franklin Townships and a number of other townships.

This newspaper asked both candidates for biographical information about themselves. They also were asked, “What are the major issues facing the state, and what would you specifically recommend to solve these problems?”

The candidates’ statements are below.

Joe McDonald

Candidate Biography:

Married to Rachel. Three sons. Born and raised in Watertown. Graduated from Watertown High School. Attended Normandale Community and Hennepin Technical Colleges, earning degree in photography. Earned Masters degree through Professional Photographers of America. Successful businessman and owner of McDonald’s Studio in Delano for 25 years.

Served on Delano City Council for 10 years, four as Mayor. Currently serves as State Representative for Minnesota House District 29A. My experience as Mayor of Delano and State Representative has given me the experience and knowledge necessary to continue to serve Wright County as your voice in Saint Paul.

Candidate Statement:

I am seeking re-election because I believe my experience has given me the tools needed to fight for Minnesota families and businesses by cutting wasteful spending, reducing unnecessary government regulations, and ultimately lowering the tax burden that is hindering our prosperity and the economy

The most important issue facing this position is to understand that the people in Wright County believe in living within our means, spending only what we have in the checkbook and not wasting any of our hard earned tax dollars. That’s who we are, and that is who we want to represent us in Saint Paul.

I have been that voice for the past two years and I would be honored to represent you again for the next two.

I believe one of the most important issues facing our state is the budget. I have worked and fought for the last two years to cut wasteful spending and eliminate unnecessary regulations that are hindering Minnesota businesses.

It is vital that our government doesn’t waste our tax dollars. By controlling our state’s budget and cutting spending, I know we can reduce the tax burden on Minnesotans. Letting families and businesses keep more of their hard earned money will help the economy and allow for businesses to invest back into their businesses which can and should create jobs.

Running along side our budget issue, we need to get our health care costs under control and continue to work on repaying the school shift. Regarding health care, the Republican majority passed many bills this past biennium that reformed Minnesota’s health care programs and in doing so saved tax payers over $2 billion in the next two years and $13 billion in the next 10 years. We still maintained essential services that Minnesotans expect and ensured that the safety net was still in place for those who most need it. Those are the reforms we need in government to run more efficiently. I will continue to fight for those reforms and be the voice of common sense for my district.

Susann Dye

Candidate Biography:

I was born and raised in the state of Minnesota. I have lived in Wright County since 2002. My husband, Ben Dye and I live in Franklin Township. My professional life includes earning two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Minnesota, teaching junior high art, working for three different manufacturing companies in customer service and currently working for the Star Tribune as their contract administrator.

Candidate Statement:

I am running because I believe we need to make a move to the middle and not focus on polarizing divisive issues that threaten our prosperity. We need to work on what we all believe and value the most as Minnesotans and the bread and butter issues that strengthen our economy and ensure our continued prosperity.

I will work hard to represent all of my constituents and will faithfully address the issues they face. I will do this by working hard to promote the kind of cooperation within the state legislature needed to tackle the most urgent issues facing the future prosperity of Minnesota. The most urgent issues I believe facing Minnesota are the need for more good paying jobs, strengthening the economy, fully funding education, balancing our approach to the state budget, and not expecting property taxpayers to make up the difference.

House District 33A seat pits Hertaus, Mikkelson against each other

Voters in Minnesota House District 33A will have two candidates to choose from during the Nov. 6 general election — Jerry Hertaus, a Republican from Greenfield; and Todd Mikkelson, a DFLer. Both candidates were endorsed by their respective parties and were not challenged to a primary election.

House District 33A includes voters in Corcoran, Greenfield, Independence, Long Lake, Loretto, Maple Plain, Medina, Minnetrista, a portion of Orono, St. Bonifacius and Wayzata.

Jerry Hertaus

Address: P.O. Box 312, Greenfield

Contact: [email protected]

Family: Wife, Sharon; three children, three grandchildren

Education: Nursing degree, specializing in coronary care from St. Mary’s School of Nursing

Occupation: Self-employed general contractor and other real estate related industries

Years lived in the district: 12

Community-civic involvement: Mayor of Greenfield, past president Rockford-Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce, six years on Greenfield Planning Commission, former president of Hopkins Optimist Club

Q: Why are you running for office and what makes you the best candidate for the position?

I am running for office because I believe that our fiscal future and our children’s futures here in Minnesota is being threatened by the policies, regulations and growth in state government spending is unsustainable.

I believe I am best-qualified to represent our district with a very diverse professional background and years of experience. I believe in a strong, healthy and vibrant private sector, which is prerequisite to supporting the necessary functions of limited government.

Q: As you’ve spoken with residents in the district, what are the major concerns they have brought up with you?

People are expressing concerns about ever increasing costs and burdens being placed upon them by all levels of government.

They express concerns about Gov. Dayton’s desire to raise taxes and spending and what appears to many of them to be an ever-increasing cost and numbers of people who are being supported by those who work.

They also express frustration that there appears to be no good solutions being offered to resolve the problems.

Q: If elected, what will be your priorities both short-term and long-term?

My priorities would be to get Minnesota working again.

To support reforms that promote economic growth in the private sector so that we can lessen the burdens of assistance to those who are in need by providing employment opportunities to them and in doing so, will grow revenues while reducing costs so that we can turn our attention to the other priorities and services that limited government should be providing to its citizens.

Todd Mikkelson

Address: 1350 North Arm Drive, Orono

Contact: [email protected]

Family: Wife, Heidi Marty; one daughter

Education: Graduate of Wayzata Schools; graduated from Brown Institute for broadcasting-communications and certified as a transmitter engineer

Occupation: Business owner — I built my current small business around a patented invention of mine

Years lived in the district: 28

Community-civic involvement: Member of Small Business Minnesota and active volunteer in the Westonka School District

Q: Why are you running for office and what makes you the best candidate for the position?

Having worked on a successful school referendum alongside people with varying political viewpoints, I realized that Minnesotans agree more than we disagree and that things can get accomplished when people work to find common ground.

I’m also a small business owner who built a business around an invention of mine that solved a huge problem in architectural testing. Being on the outside of that industry I could clearly see a solution to that problem. Being on the outside of state government I can see solutions at the capitol and would like to bring my problem- solving skills there.

Q: As you’ve spoken with residents in the district, what are the major concerns they have brought up with you?

The gridlock and lack of cooperation at the capitol is a major frustration for the people I’m speaking with in the district. They’re angry that the state gets shut down because of extreme positions and refusal to compromise. And people are fed up with borrowing in order to balance the budget.

Growing up in this area, I know that folks here are very independent-minded and that extreme points of view do not represent who they are. Being a moderate Democrat, I’ve had numerous friendly arguments with my Republican friends and neighbors. But we argue in a way that generates better understanding instead of creating a standoff that goes nowhere.

Q: If elected, what will be your priorities both short-term and long-term?

True fiscal responsibility needs to be restored to state government. For instance, bonding should be utilized while interest rates are low to rebuild our neglected infrastructure and create many jobs in the process. Policies that allow true small businesses to thrive should be enacted.

I want to help existing entities work together more effectively so we can better protect our lakes, watersheds and air quality.

And state government should be working with our schools rather than against them so they have the support they need to educate our kids for the 21st century.

Fisher to challenge Peppin for Dist. 34A seat

Residents of Dist. 34A (which includes Dayton, Rogers and parts of Maple Grove) will vote Tuesday, Nov. 6, in the general election to fill the Minnesota House of Representative seat.

Candidates appearing on the ballot include incumbent Joyce Peppin, who is being challenged by Adam Fisher for the state representative seat. Both are residents of Rogers.

The candidates were asked to include their thoughts in statements. Each were asked to include in a response:

1. Candidate biography: Please include a short biography of yourself, your background, your personal and professional experiences and any other information you wish to share.

2. Candidate statement: Please comment on the top issues you feel are important in this election. Explain any changes you would like to see made to address House Dist. 32B’s most urgent problems.

The responses received include:

Adam Fisher

Candidate Biography:

Adam is a problem solver, not a career politician. Adam has a Ph.D. in physics and works as a computer programmer for a large technology company.

His wife Cori is a personal trainer in Champlin. Adam and Cori live in Rogers with their four sons, two at Rogers High School and two at Rogers Middle School.

Candidate Statement:

Adam decided to run, because we deserve a better state government than the one we have. We need to have problem solvers representing us, not lawyers and career politicians. If elected, my highest priority will be to balance the state budget without school shifts and accounting tricks. If we continue on an “all cuts” solution for Minnesota’s budget problems, many essential state programs will be devastated. I support a balanced approach of budget cuts and tax increases. Real solutions are not easy, but they last more than one election cycle. We need stability in our funding of our schools, universities and local governments.

Adam will vote against the same sex marriage ban amendment. This amendment is not up to Minnesota’s standards. I work for a company that has come out against this amendment as it will hurt efforts to recruit the best and brightest employees we can find.

Adam will vote against the voter ID amendment. This amendment is attempt to side-step the normal legislative process and it relies on the next legislature to fill in the details. To protect the integrity of our voting system, any changes to voting procedures should be done in a bipartisan way through the normal legislative process, not as a highly partisan constitutional amendment.

Adam believes in the second amendment and the right to bear arms. Adam believes that this is an important check on government power, instituted by the founders of our nation. Adam does not believe that this was meant to prevent all gun legislation. Adam opposes concealed carry and stand your ground laws.

Adam believes in science-based sexual education. Abstinence-only education sounds good, but does not adequately address the problems of teenage pregnancy and STD transmission. Laws should be judged on their consequences, not their titles.

Adam believes that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. Adam believes that we should adopt practical policies that move toward that goal, since most Minnesotans agree on this issue, but have been forced by career politicians to support one extreme position or the other.

Adam believes that state government should be run by citizen legislatures, that have regular jobs to go back to when the session is done. Adam believes that laws should be judged on their consequences. If you don’t like the way your state government has been behaving lately, Vote for Adam Fisher.

Joyce Peppin

Candidate Biography:

I’ve had the privilege of serving in the Minnesota House for the past eight years in a variety of leadership roles, the last two as chair of the Government Operations and Elections Committee.

Prior to serving in the legislature, I worked in the private sector as Manager of Public Relations for U.S. Bancorp. I have bachelor’s degrees in political science and speech communications from the University of Minnesota-Duluth; a master’s degree in business from the University of St. Thomas and am currently a second year law student at William Mitchell College of Law.

I’m married with two daughters.

Candidate Statement:

The new Republican legislative majority took over in 2011 facing a $6 billion deficit during one of the rockiest times in Minnesota’s economic history. With our eyes toward improving the economy and protecting Minnesotans’ pocketbooks, we issued a slate of initiatives designed to restore economic confidence, grow the private sector, reform education and health care, and reduce the size and cost of government.

The result: a $1.2 billion surplus, the creation of over 40,000 jobs in the private sector, and a state government that is more transparent, efficient, and accountable to the people who depend on its services.

My top priorities are putting Minnesotans back to work, getting our economy moving again and continuing to be a strong voice for responsible budgeting. Our economic recovery will be fueled by small business expansion. Government’s role must be to eliminate the barriers and burdensome regulations that hinder small business start-ups. Legislators should implement fair tax policy and ensure a level playing field so job creators can secure the capital they need to succeed in a competitive market.

I am proud to once again have been recognized as a friend of the taxpayer. Government must live within its means, not only when times are good, but especially during times of economic challenge. That is why I successfully passed legislation creating the Minnesota Sunset Commission to annually review and abolish unnecessary and duplicative government. I have also championed zero-based budgeting as a tool that will enable lawmakers to undertake the type of structural reform necessary to end the fiscal roller coaster that has plagued our budget process over the past decade.

Securing fair education funding for northwest suburban schools is a key concern. At the same time, I continue to support needed reforms in teacher compensation and licensure, and to eliminate restrictive state mandates that hamper local school district oversight and governance. Minnesota is an education leader due to the strong system of public, private, parochial and home schools we maintain.

It is an honor to represent you in the Minnesota House. I have worked hard to be accessible and to vote in a way that best represents the concerns of the families I represent. I value your opinion, welcome your input and encourage you to contact me if I can be of assistance to you or your family at any time. I respectfully ask for your vote.

Hoden to challenge Zellers for Dist. 34B seat

Residents of Dist. 34B in Maple Grove and Osseo will vote Tuesday, Nov. 6, in the general election to fill the Minnesota House of Representative seat. This district represents part of Maple Grove and all of Osseo.

Candidates appearing on the ballot include incumbent Kurt Zellers, who is being challenged by David Hoden for the state representative seat. Both candidates live in Maple Grove.

The candidates were asked to include their thoughts in statements. Each were asked to include in a response:

1. Candidate biography: Please include a short biography of yourself, your background, your personal and professional experiences and any other information you wish to share.

2. Candidate statement: Please comment on the top issues you feel are important in this election. Explain any changes you would like to see made to address House Dist. 32B’s most urgent problems.

The responses received include:

David Hoden

Candidate Biography:

I am David Hoden, candidate for the State House of Representatives, District 34B, representing Maple Grove and Osseo. I am a native Minnesotan and a 26-year resident of Maple Grove. I am married with two children and three grandchildren and am a retired small businessman.

At heart, I have always been a public servant.  I am a founding member of Crosswinds United Methodist Church. I was part of the vision bringing remote transit hubs to Maple Grove and proud of it passing 10 million riders.

Please review my vision for Minnesota and vote.

Candidate Statement:

Not being a career politician I have had to rely on the ears I was born with and the instincts I honed working as a small businessman for more than two decades learning what every day Minnesotans want. Going door to door the two issues that are clear as a bell on the minds of my neighbors are the gridlock that led to the embarrassing government shutdown of 2011 and the so-called health of our state’s budget.

Make no mistake about it, partisan bickering led to the gridlock that shut down our government. It wasn’t pretty and it certainly wasn’t cheap. It cost over $135 million dollars. I don’t believe the legislature learned its lesson and I believe gridlock will continue to cost us dearly as long as our legislative leadership elevates partisan politics over what is good for Minnesota.

As your representative, I promise to reach across the aisle, build relationships and have conversations that will help relegate embarrassing episodes like the 2011 government shutdown to a dark page in the history books of our state.

Speaker Zellers and I have different ways of looking at our state’s budget. I have read repeatedly his message that our state has a surplus of over $1.2 billion. When I look at our state budget I see $2.4 billion owed to our education fund. I see $700 million owed back to the tobacco fund and another $600 million of interest owed for borrowing from the tobacco fund. In other words, our state’s budget is not a healthy $1.2 billion dollar surplus, it is a sick $2.5 billion deficit.

Using shortcuts to balance the budget is not the answer. Those shortcuts cost us dearly. The students who lost education funding in 2011 will never get back the benefit of that $2.4 billion.

My commitment as District 34B’s representative is to foster open and collaborative conversation across the aisle so that gridlock-caused government shutdowns remain a thing of the past. Further, I will take on the tough issues, not with creative math, but rather transparency, so that Minnesotans know where things really stand.

Thank you again for this opportunity to share my vision for a more productive, successful and honest Minnesota.

Kurt Zellers

Candidate Biography:

Kurt Zellers was born in Devils Lake, N.D. Kurt graduated from the University of North Dakota with a B.S. in Political Science.

Kurt lives in Maple Grove with his wife, Kimberly, and their two children, Reagan and Will.

Kurt is currently serving his fifth term in the Minnesota House of Representatives. In 2011, Kurt was elected among his peers to be Speaker of the House.

Candidate Statement:

A strong economy that supports and creates jobs in my top priority. In the past two years, we have turned a $6.1 billion deficit into a $1 billion surplus. We’ve eliminated red tape, invested in private sector innovation and controlled government spending to support a competitive business climate that will help grow jobs in Minnesota. Our state budget is showing improved signs of stability and our economy is showing signs of growth. Going back to tax increases, uncontrolled spending and preserving the status quo will undo the progress we’ve made.

As a proud member of our community, I have and will continue to work at the Capitol to improve our quality education, access to healthcare and strong workforce. Our community is consistently named one of the best places to live, not only in Minnesota, but throughout the United States. Representing our community at the Minnesota House has been one of my highest honors.


Grace Baltich

Education: Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Social Work

Occupation: Social Worker and Mediator

Family: Husband Jim, a Marine Gulf War veteran, and daughter Eva. Also step-mother to Ashlee and Jakob, and step-grandmother to Chayley.

Previous Political Experience: Ran for MN House in old 32A in 2006 and 2008. Past Associate Chair of Senate District 32 DFL.

Other Biographical info: Born and raised in Champlin, Champlin Park graduate, Bachelor of Social Work from College of St. Benedict, Masters in Social Work from U of M, Social Worker and Mediator, Member Champlin United Methodist Church – Choir; Faith Community Partnership. President, AFSCME local 2685, Vice-President, AFSCME Council 65, Executive Board member, MRLF, Member, LWV


If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities/issues?

I’m running for State Representative because I am passionate about improving people’s lives. We see the current politics of division crippling our State and our quality of life. The partisan bickering in the legislature has only led to a broken government and a state shutdown. We can and we must work together collaboratively to solve the problems we face, reform our education system for the 21st century, grow middle-class jobs, and champion a new era of prosperity for all Minnesotans.

As a Social Worker and a mother I will fight to ensure all students achieve to the best of their ability, that schools are safe places for all students, and that we stop jeopardizing our children’s success by using education funds to solve the state’s budget problems. We must ensure that our schools have predictable, sustainable, and equitable school funding.

As a labor leader and an advocate, I will fight to put Minnesotans back to work, protect the rights of workers to collectively bargain, and ensure our economy and our businesses thrive.

As a Mediator and a person of faith, I will work to unite people rather than divide people and to expand participation and power in our public decision-making.  As the next State Representative from Champlin and Coon Rapids, I will work past the partisan gridlock and work collaboratively to put Minnesota back on track.


What distinguishes you from your opponent?

Residents of Champlin and Coon Rapids want the partisan gridlock to stop.  I believe what distinguishes me from my opponent is my training and skills as a Social Worker and Mediator, my ability to work in a collaborative and inclusive manner to solve problems, and my willingness to stand against a political party. My opponent has indicated he would do absolutely nothing different than what has been done these last two years at the legislature. Our district does not need another big business executive in office but needs a collaborative advocate and problem solver for working middle class families.


What issue do you feel so strongly about that you would vote against party lines to address? Please explain.

We have to stop the partisan gridlock and work collaboratively to solve the problems we face in our community and State. If an idea is brought forward by the opposite party that works for Minnesota, I will vote for it even if my party won’t for political positioning. We must work towards a better presumption of joint physical custody, reduce the number of abortions, build in program evaluation and accountability, and we must be willing to address conservatives concerns about fraudulent voting in a more collaborative manner rather than battling an extreme constitutional amendment.

Mark Uglem

Education:ऀB.A. University of Minnesota Duluth – Major Urban Studies

Occupation:ऀMayor, City of Champlin

Family: Married to Pamela, 3 children – Benjamen, Jenny & Rose

Previous Political Experience:ऀ3 Term Mayor of Champlin; City Council – Champlin ; Planning Commission Chair – Champlin; Planning Commission – Brooklyn Park


Other Biographical INFO:ऀ Currently Vice President of the North Metro Mayors Association; Former President Champlin Park Hockey Booster Club; Former Commission member for Mill Pond Gables Senior Development; Former President Color Guild International Paint Buying Group; Former President Northwestern Society of Coatings Technology.


If elected what will be your top 3 priorities/issues?

1. The Economy and Jobs: We are still mired in an economy that is hurting the average family and not creating enough jobs. I founded 3 manufacturing firms from scratch and built them into successful companies. I know what it takes to generate good paying jobs, and a good standard of living.

Minnesota has a reputation as a state unfriendly to business. We must change that, and promote public policy that is friendly to business and jobs. We must be able to complete with the nation and the world to attract businesses.

2. Big Government: Government seems to grow by itself. Every time you turn around, there is a new agency or commission. Minnesota needs a reality check. During the “Great Recession” many private firms downsized and got leaner and more efficient. Our state needs to emulate the private sector and we need to eliminate unneeded bureaucracy.

We cannot afford “business as usual” in our state. The elimination of duplicative agencies and services can save valuable tax money. We can then put those tax dollars to work where we need them most. Tax relief, improving infrastructure, the environment and education are all priorities.

3. Schools: We all know Minnesota Schools are falling behind and as a state and nation we will be unable to compete in the 21st Century. Our children are our greatest resource and we need to continue funding our schools in an adequate manner. However, this does not mean just throwing money at a system that is not achieving results.

We need to close the “achievement gap” for all students and we need to fund early childhood programs to get our kids started right. A longer school day might also be a possibility, as well as using and teaching new technology to our students.


What issue do you feel so strongly about that you would vote against party lines to address?  Please explain.

Politics used to be referred to as the “art of compromise” but our leaders seem to have forgotten that. In business you seldom get it all your own way. If I could get 80 percent of what I wanted in a deal I would usually do it.

We need more bipartisan deal making and we need to reach across the aisle to our fellow legislators on the other side.

Tax Policy, job policy, schools and the environment are areas that will require a bipartisan effort. The party shouldn’t dictate to our elected representatives. We are responsible only to our constituents.

What distinguishes you from your opponent(s)?

I have much more experience in government and the private business sector. I have put together budgets for operating and capital expense for business as well as for the city. I have a long history of public service and I have a good record of working with people and achieving winning results. I would be honored to serve you at the State Legislature.


Anderson faces Doran in Senate Dist. 29

DFLer Brian Doran, of Monticello, and Republican Bruce Anderson, of Buffalo, are competing for the District 29 seat in the Minnesota Senate.

Senate District 29 is located in eastern Wright County and includes Rockford, Delano, Montrose, Waverly, Howard Lake, Maple Lake, Annandale Monticello and Buffalo, as well as Rockford and Franklin Townships and a number of other townships.

This newspaper asked both candidates for biographical information about themselves. They also were asked, “What are the major issues facing the state, and what would you specifically recommend to solve these problems?”

The candidates’ statements are below.

Bruce Anderson

Candidate Biography:

I was raised on a dairy farm east of Elk River. I am 62 years old. I was married for 33 years to wife Dottie, who passed away from cancer in 2006. I raised five children and am grandfather of two grand and six step-grandchildren. I married Ruth Anderson in 2009.

I served my country in the U.S. Navy from 1970 – 1973, the Minnesota Air National Guard for 20 years and the U.S. Air Force Reserves for six years, retiring in March 2010.

I am a graduate of St. Francis High School, and I have a two-year A.A. Degree in Agri-Business from Willmar Technical College and a four-year B.S. Business Administration Degree from Northwestern College.

Candidate Statement:

The number one issue facing this Senate District and Minnesota is JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! And economic opportunity. My solution is to reduce business state property tax with a plan to eventually phase out and eliminate it, so business owners pay only the local property taxes similar to homeowners and based on property value. The state needs to reduce excessive rules and regulations that inhibit creating business and job opportunities. We also need to lift the nuclear mandate so more nuclear power facilities can be built to help lower energy costs, provide reliable, steady energy, and provide the state with hundreds of new jobs. State laws should be reformed to curtail lawsuit abuse.

The second top issue is state government spending. It is a known fact that the state government spends more per month than the revenue it receives. Experts are saying that the projected November forecast will be a revenue shortfall. I will continue to fight for fiscal restraint in the growth of the state’s budget. I’m confident there are areas where we can consolidate office functions in our state agencies and streamline and reduce fleet management.

Brian Doran

Candidate Biography:

Having grown up in Monticello and traveled the world in serving my country, I’m grateful for the heritage and people of Senate District 29. My educational background is in political science and judicial administration, and I worked in the court system administration for 16 years. I’m married to Denise and have a son named Sean.

My public service career, including service to the Bush and Clinton administrations, gives me a unique understanding of how to get things done. Given the opportunity, I look forward to representing District 29 as a strong advocate on issues that matter here at home.

Candidate Statement:

Throughout my public service, my approach to the issues has been guided by principles of fiscal conservatism, and the belief that government functions best when it is limited rather than interfering in the private decisions of its citizens. A strong economy, local government responsibility, and a realistic, sustainable approach to education are the key issues facing our area that I will directly confront and champion.

Specific to our local economy — It’s imperative that we can move materials and products into and out of this area efficiently. I believe access equals commerce, and I’ll champion the Highway 55 Corridor Coalition’s goal to make highway 55 four lanes to Annandale.

On local government — I’ve always been a firm believer that local people know local needs best. My 16 years in court administration in Minnesota, and overseas for our country, has shown me firsthand that government works best when responsibility for local issues is in local city and county government hands, reducing state redundancy in favor of the state serving as a conduit to funding.

Regarding realistic, long-term education funding — While we all know that our children’s education is our future, the responsibility for developing long-term, sustainable K through 12 funding remains a political football. I believe that school accountability and support can be in balance, and I’ll work to give school boards and administration the resources and responsibility they need for their districts to plan and succeed.

With your support on Nov. 6, I’ll represent District 29 with a fiscally disciplined, sensible approach to solving the local issues we need addressed and resolved. I offer the people of District 29 my full commitment to tirelessly representing you at the state level, so our area can continue to thrive — for families who call it home now, and those yet to come.

Osmek, Rogosheske vie for Minnesota SD33 seat

Two candidates will face off in the Nov. 6 election to represent Minnesota Senate District 33 and replace longtime Sen. Gen Olson — Dave Osmek, a Republican from Mound, and Judy Rogosheske, a DFLer  from Orono.

Osmek defeated current House District 33B Rep. Connie Doepke in the GOP primary, while Rogosheske was the only DFL candidate to file for the open seat.

Senate District 33 includes the cities of Corcoran, Deephaven, Excelsior, Greenfield, Greenwood, Independence, Long Lake, Loretto, Maple Plain, Medina, Minnetonka Beach, Minnetrista, Mound, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, St. Bonifacius, Tonka Bay, Wayzata and parts of Chanhassen.

Dave Osmek

Address: 4933 Crestview Road, Mound

Contact info: 952-472-1238

Family: Wife, Kari; two daughters

Education: Bachelor of Elective Studies, St. Cloud State University

Occupation: Project manager, Optum-UHG

Years lived in the district: 16

Community-civic involvement: Mound City Council, 2001-present; member of Our Lady of the Lake Church, Knights of Columbus, Adopt-A-Greenspace and Gillespie Center volunteer

Q: Why are you running for office and what makes you the best candidate for the position?

With more than 10 years of elective experience, I am the best-prepared candidate to help lead needed changes in St Paul.

Government, at all levels, must find ways to provide the services we expect at a lower cost. We need to focus on solutions that provide value and recognize success, not subsidize failure. I have the knowledge, the expertise in working across city-county-state lines, and the proven leadership to serve this senate district well.

Q: As you’ve spoken with residents in the district, what are the major concerns they’ve brought up with you?

It’s that government needs to live within its means, just like every family does.

In Mound, we have reduced the size of our staff, maintained or lowered our General Levy and still got the job done. Government can change, but only if you elect leaders that want to make that change happen.

I have stood against wasteful spending, voting against two budgets that massively impacted the taxpayer. I’ve not been ashamed to stand against budgets, regardless of the ‘spin’ and numbers my opponent will assert.

We can neither trust nor afford quick-fix gimmicks to reduce property taxes, on the promise that the state will provide relief. This is just a Three-Card-Monty scheme to fund Minneapolis and St. Paul, leaving our taxpayers holding the bag.

Q: If elected, what will be your priorities both short-term and long-term?

In the short-term, I will focus on the next biennium’s budget, to ensure that the state can operate with existing revenues and not increased taxes.

We also need to begin the process of returning the education funding shift, which was unfortunately vetoed by Gov. Dayton in the last legislative session.

Long-term, we need to continue to fund our world-class educational system and expect results.

We need to focus our transportation dollars on solutions that make sense, not light-rail boondoggles. And employees should have the right to work in this state without being required to join an employee union.

Judy Rogosheske

Address: 540 Old Crystal Bay Road S., Orono

Contact info:

Family: Husband, George Funk; one adult son

Education: J.D., University of Minnesota, 1974; B.A., University of Minnesota, with honors

Occupation: Lawyer, 1974-2007, public finance and securities; adjunct professor, St. Mary’s University, 2011-12, ethics and public policy, graduate program for health and human services administrators

Community-civic involvement: Active volunteer in son’s school and sports; church elder; president of Hennepin County Bar Foundation; hospice volunteer at North Memorial

Q: Why are you running for office and what makes you the best candidate for the position?

I’m running to leave Minnesota a better place for our children and their children. It’s as simple and as profound as that.

I will do this by working cooperatively, responsibly and respectfully with my counterparts in the legislature to find common ground that puts Minnesota first.

This is especially important with the continued fiscal crisis looming. We cannot lurch from crisis to crisis, we have to put politics aside and governance first to do what’s best for our state’s future.

By contrast, my opponent has declared his first bill will be the so-called Right to Work legislation. We have seen the divisiveness this caused in Wisconsin, costly recall elections and now legislation being successfully challenged in the courts, creating more unknowns. Close behind, my opponent wants to take up the return to the wild west – Stand your Ground legislation – fostered by outside interest groups, another hot button issue of questionable provenance.

In contrast, my first priority will be to place the state back on a firm fiscal foundation, with a reliable, predictable revenue stream and prudent cost cutting. I want to reduce reliance on property taxes by expanding consumption taxes, including capturing internet sales taxes, with a lowering of the rate and credits for low and moderate income families.

I do not support the governor’s solution of raising income taxes on incomes above $250,000. With a predictable and fair revenue stream we can make a responsible commitment to invest in our public education and needed infrastructure and assure affordable higher education, all of which are the backbone of a vibrant Minnesota business economy.

We can also work to protect the beautiful resources of our community, the water of its lakes and wells and the rural landscapes we enjoy.

Q: As you’ve spoken with residents in the district, what are the major concerns they’ve brought up with you?

Gridlock, good schools and affordable higher education, infrastructure, environmental concerns.

Q: If elected, what will be your priorities both short-term and long-term?

See answer to first question above.

2 running for Senate District 34 seat

Residents of District 34 will vote Tuesday, Nov. 6, in the general election to fill the Minnesota Senate seat.

Senate Dist. 34 represents Rogers, Dayton, Osseo and Maple Grove.

Incumbent Warren Limmer and Sharon Bahensky are on the ballot.

The candidates were asked to include their thoughts in statements. Each were asked to include in a response:

1. Candidate biography: Please include a short biography of yourself, your background, your personal and professional experiences and any other information you wish to share. Please limit this portion to 100 words or less.

2. Candidate statement: Please comment on the top issues you feel are important in this election. Explain any changes you would like to see made to address the community’s most urgent problems.  Please include your vision for the community’s future and what government should do to guide future growth. Please limit this portion to 400 words or less.

The responses received include:

Sharon Bahensky

Candidate Biography:

Though with no legislative experience, I am not a novice to Minnesota politics having successfully managed State House campaigns and I maintain a keen awareness of issues facing Minnesotans.

I served as a marketing promotion manager for Fortune 200 companies. Later I partnered with my husband living and working in the former Soviet Union for 10 years helping its agribusiness transition from a socialist command economy to a capitalist market economy.

The skills and traits developed during these experiences should be an asset while serving in the Minnesota Senate.

Candidate Statement:

The top issues facing people in Maple Grove, Osseo, Rogers and Dayton are jobs, education and property taxes. Economic growth cannot occur until the middle class has the financial strength to be customers of the goods and services produced or sold by manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers.

Over the past decade our district has expanded rapidly in population and economic activity. Small manufacturers continue to spring up, just run for office and get around the community and you will see their new constructs. But to sustain our progress we will have to invest in modern infrastructure and bring down property taxes. We will also have to turn back to the policies of the Minnesota Miracle and provide the financial support to re-develop a world-class educational system.

Today in Minnesota, thousands of job openings cannot be filled because of unqualified applicants. Those applicants just don’t have the education and training needed to do the job. Minnesota has been on a 10-year course of cutting aid to education. The result is soaring college tuition, larger class sizes and a falling national rating in student achievement. The Minnesota educational system is no longer the envy of other states.

What are the unforeseen consequences? The state has under-funded schools by $2.4 billion and though some legislators tend to overlook this obligation so as to claim a smaller deficit, it is still owed to our school system. As communities try to cope with less funding, our property taxes continue to rise. Over the past decade the average house and business property tax rose 85 percent.

My vision for our community and state is to invest heavily in infrastructure that will serve thriving business activities. Our roads and bridges are in need of repair, replacement, or updating. In this community, highway 610 is still not connected to Interstate 94 and the 694/494/94 interchange is woefully inadequate. Light rail systems need to be developed throughout the metro area and nearby major cities. Our wind energy industry will need the required transmission lines to connect it the grid. This is the time to invest, the need is there and the cost of money is at a record low.

Warren Limmer

Candidate Biography:

State Senator, 1995 – present

State Representative, 1989 – 1995

Married to wife Lori, and father of Kalli, 21, Jordan, 18, and Nathan, 16

47-year resident of Northwest suburbs

33 year Residential and Investment Property Sales

Graduate, Armstrong High School

Graduate, North Hennepin Community College

Graduate, St Cloud State University, BA, Criminal Justice Studies

Endorsed by: The Minnesota Republican Party District 34, Police Officers Federation of Minnesota, Minnesota Farm Bureau PAC, MCCL PAC, NRA Political Victory Fund, TwinWest Chamber of Commerce PAC and Minnesota Chamber of Commerce PAC.

Candidate Statement:

JOBS…  JOBS… JOBS?  A New Path Needed Now!

With some nations under economic crisis, currencies in peril, and record-breaking debt, we must get competitive fast. Minnesota ranks as the 45th worst business tax climate. We need to tighten our belt and create reasonable business tax and regulation policies to attract quality job and income providers to our state.

TAX & SPEND:  We Still Must Get a Grip!

We just turned a $6-Billion deficit into nearly a $1.5 billion surplus, without raising taxes… and we’ve only just begun! Minnesota is still rated as one of the highest taxed states in the nation, our taxpayers are tax weary.

By reforming government, cutting waste, duplication, and worn-out government projects, we must continue to promote the positive tax and spend reforms we just began. If not, government spending will fiscally threaten our families, our jobs, and those on fixed incomes.

EDUCATION:  A Public’s Trust!

Minnesota’s good education is one reason why employers continue to stay here. But our schools must first be free from violence, crime and drugs. Public education programs must teach our children that crime and violence are not options for a civilized society. Ongoing testing of children’s academic progress must continue, and careful analysis of wasteful and bureaucratic programs must be repealed and replaced with core academic standards that can be quantified in an objective manner.

Despite record-breaking spending for K-12 education, our local districts see very little due to a series of unfunded mandates, regulations, complicated formulas, and restrictions. It’s unfair in its distribution and the result of decades of political deals that have benefited certain areas of the state, at the expense of others. We must remodel education funding to provide equal, cost-efficient, and quality education for all our children.

TRANSPORTATION: It’s About Priorities!

Before simply committing to higher taxes, we must first exhaust all other opportunities: 1). Expand the use of bonding (loans at current record-low rates) to freeze costs and start new construction without delay; 2). Focus first on unfinished projects like Hwy 610’s remaining link to Hwy 94, as well as freeing bottlenecks that slow the system, and; 3). Continue to scrutinize every aspect of state spending and direct the savings of duplicated and wasteful government spending to transportation improvements.

With your vote on Nov. 6, we can return to priorities that reinforce families, provide good jobs, and make Minnesota a better place to live.

Senate Dist. 36

This district represents Champlin, Brooklyn Park and parts of Coon Rapids.


EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Criminal Justice from St. Mary’s Universit

OCCUPATION: Marketing and public relations director for Midway Training Services, a nonprofit business specializing in training and finding employment for adults with disabilities; co-founder of Consumer Credit of Minnesota, a company dedicated to working with individuals, families and small businesses in distressed financial circumstances; and Vice Chair of the Anoka Hennepin School Board

PREVIOUS POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: I was elected to the Anoka-Hennepin School Board in 2005, re-elected in 2009 and have served as vice chair the past three years

Family: Wife Yvette and one daughter

OTHER BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: I have lived in the district: 12 years

Top three community or civic organizations involvement: Vice chair of the Anoka Hennepin School Board; Midway Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and chairman of the Ambassador Committee; and Clerk of the Metro Educational Cooperative Services Unit


What are the two most important issues you’d like to address if elected, and what would you do about them?

Jobs. Unemployment remains too high in Minnesota, and underemployment is rampant. This state needs to add thousands of good-paying sustainable jobs that you can raise a family on. I will start by supporting a substantial bonding bill dedicated to fixing Minnesota’s crumbling roads, bridges and other infrastructure needs. We will build broadband capacity across the state to improve our competitiveness. I will call for at least $450 million in cuts in subsidies and tax loopholes for foreign operating corporations and bring that money back home to create real jobs here in Minnesota. We must stop gridlock to do this.

Tax Fairness and Reform. The discussion and debate has for far too long been one about this tax or that tax. We need to be talking about all taxes and fees to gain a comprehensive view of who is paying what. Right now the middle class pays an unfair higher rate of taxes than those with annual incomes of more than $450,000 per year. I will tighten loopholes and cut the tax incentives of foreign operating corporations and bring more than $450 million back to Minnesota to create good jobs here. I will stand for and with the middle class. We must end gridlock to do this.


What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

I have well-established experience in consensus-building and getting the job done on time.

My opponent was an integral part of the group of ideologically based senators who have kept our legislature in gridlock and shut our government down. This act alone cost our state tens of million dollars, and he even took a paycheck.

My broad-based and involved experience in health and human services and education at the local, state and national levels of government distinguish me from my opponent. So do my experience running the largest school district in Minnesota and experience in interfacing with all levels of community and government.

I am a jobs creator and run a real business I co-founded and own. I also have an established career with a company dedicated to training adults with disabilities and placing them in jobs. My business experience distinguishes me from my opponent.


What is one issue you feel so strongly about that you’d vote against your party’s position to see it adopted?

I will not accept any unfunded mandates to our schools from state or federal government, no matter what party is in control. We need to get the work of the state done and on time. I will not support unfunded mandates to our local and state government. Period.



Education: University of Minnesota — Studied child psychology and speech communication

Occupation: Real Estate Professional, I have also managed restaurants and worked in the service industry for 17 years.

Family: Wife Anita

PREVIOUS POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: If so, list what, when and for how long you served. Minnesota State Senate — two years (2010-2012)

OTHER BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: I have lived in the district for 6 years. Active member of Living Word Christian Center, North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Association of Realtors


What are the two most important issues you’d like to address if elected, and what would you do about them?

My two areas of passion while serving in the Minnesota State Senate have been and will continue to be jobs and education. I was blessed as a freshman to be appointed to both the Commerce Committee and the Education Committee. In 2012 I was named “Guardian of Small Business” by the National Federation of Independent Business and was selected as the Minnesota School Boards Association “Outstanding Legislator of the Year.”

To continue growing jobs in Minnesota we must do three things. We must first revise Minnesota’s tax code. Specifically, we must look to cut both residential and corporate property taxes. Secondly, we must invest in the infrastructure our businesses need to grow. This means things like roads, bridges and affordable energy. It is unacceptable we have a highway like 610 running through our district half completed while companies wait to build there and bring high-paying jobs to our area. The final thing we must focus on is workforce development. We must foster communication between higher education institutions and our business communities. This will ensure we are providing our graduates with the skills they need to be employed immediately. Keeping up on these trends will also bring new out-of-state companies to Minnesota.

In education we must continue to fund education at the highest level possible while still seeking greater efficiencies. A great example of this is my work on Minnesota’s “School Trust Lands.” By reforming the management of these lands, I was able to take an existing asset and make it perform more efficiently. By looking outside the box I was able to fund education at a greater level without raising taxes.


What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

As a freshman senator I reached across party lines to chief author and pass nine significant pieces of legislation, more than almost any other member of the state senate. My small business background has enabled me negotiate compromises when many others could not. This has proven fruitful for our district since I was able to secure funding for much-needed repairs to the Coon Rapids Dam as well as new biomedical-science buildings at both our Anoka-Ramsey Community College and North Hennepin Community College campuses. I will continue this work ethic moving forward and be our example in St. Paul of how things can get done if we communicate and work hard.


What is one issue you feel so strongly about that you’d vote against your party’s position to see it adopted?

I will vote against my party to ensure local fiscal disparities funding is not cut.