Succeeds retiring Gen Olson
by blaze fugina
SUN PATRIOT NEWSPAPERS
Mound resident David Osmek served on the Mound City Council for 11 years, but in January he is taking a new position as a state senator.
Osmek was elected as the Republican candidate for Minnesota Senate District 33, which has forced him to resign from the City Council beginning in January.
Osmek will replace Minnetrista resident Gen Olson, who decided not to run for reelection after 30 years in office. One of the things Osmek said he will miss the most about working with the Mound City Council is the correspondence with the city staff.
“I’ll miss the staff,” he said. “We really have a good staff that over time has changed from the mindset of ‘we have always done things this way’ to thinking innovative and outside the box.”
One item that Osmek wishes he could spend more time on is the Mound downtown redevelopment project. He said it is unfinished business that he helped start but will not have the opportunity to see conclude as a council member.
After 11 years on the council, Osmek said he appreciates the support from Mound residents to help him reach his goal of becoming a state senator, and he looks forward to serving the district for the next four years.
“I look forward to serving Mound and the rest of the district on the state senate,” he said. “I will be missing my peers on the Mound council.”
As Osmek is sworn into office this January, he becomes part of a senate that will be switching from a Republican majority to DFL control. The 2012 election included a swing in party control from 29 DFL and 37 republican senators in 2012 to 39 DFL and 28 Republican senators in 2013. While these numbers are not in the Republican Party’s favor, Osmek said he is prepared to gain experience in his four-year term starting in 2013.
“Being in the minority, I know I am not going to get a lot of stuff done,” he said. “I am looking forward to gaining experience and reaching across the aisle.”
While on the senate, Osmek hopes to improve the state’s transportation system. He said he is opposed to building more light rail systems, and instead wants to improve interstate highways in Minnesota — such as 394 and 494.
“With transportation, making our system a better system,” said Osmek, adding that light rail systems are costly and inefficient.
“People need to realize how investing they are,” he said. “They are just moving people out of buses and into trains.”
Osmek said he also wants to work on improving the Minnesota school system.
“Working on school systems, maintaining it as a world class education system,” he said. “We need an education plan that works best for our children.”
The budget deficit is another area Osmek wants to work on by finding ways to balance the state budget without raising taxes.
“How can we fill the budget hole without raising other revenues or taxes?” he said.
The recent trend that has affected some Mound citizens also has convinced Osmek to look at legislation to help stop wild property tax increases due to market evaluations on homes.
“We have loopholes in our property tax system that causes people to have strange property tax hikes,” he said.
When Osmek begins his work as a state senator, he will continue working full time as a project manager for the Minnetonka based health care company UnitedHealth Group. Osmek said he plans to work his current job in the morning from 6 a.m. to around 11 a.m. — the time most of his committee sessions start. Evenings are another time that he can work his project manager job. Smart phones will help him use email to communicate for his job at all times of the day.
“I will be able to work here (at the capitol) until 7 p.m.,” he said, adding that working into the evening is better than driving from St. Paul to Mound in rush hour traffic. “Who wants to drive in that kind of traffic?”
Contact Blaze Fugina at [email protected]