Residents of Senate District 34 (which includes Dayton, Rogers, Maple Grove and Osseo) will vote Tuesday, Nov. 8, in the general election.
Those candidates appearing on the ballot include incumbent Warren Limmer and Bonnie Westlin.
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 Senate District 34’s most urgent problems.
The responses received include:
Current State Senator
Married to wife Lori, and father of three children
Lifetime resident of Northwest suburbs
37 year Residential and Investment Property Sales
Graduate, Armstrong High School
Graduate, North Hennepin Community College
Graduate, St. Cloud State University, BA, Criminal Justice Studies
The Minnesota Republican Party, District 34
Minnesota Peace and Police Officers Association
Police Officers Federation of Minnesota
Minnesota Farm Bureau PAC
NRA Political Victory Fund
National Federation of Businesses, MN Safe Trust
TwinWest Chamber of Commerce PAC
Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund PAC
United Transportation Union- SMART- TD
Jobs… Jobs… Jobs? A new path needed — With business competitors overseas, as well as in other states that produce goods with far less government imposed costs, we must get competitive fast. Minnesota ranks as the 47th 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 — Minnesota is still rated as one of the highest taxed states in the nation. By reforming government, cutting waste, duplication, and worn-out government projects, we can reduce spending and taxation. I will continue the fight to repeal income tax on Social Security benefits. Government spending should not fiscally threaten our families, our jobs, and those on fixed incomes.
Education: A parent’s trust — Minnesota’s good education reputation is one reason why employers continue to stay here. It is a testimony to keeping local control of our schools and to oppose federal and state “top down” federal mandates (like Common Core). I will continue to fight for the right of every parent to choose the best education for their children. Wasteful, bureaucratic programs must be repealed and replaced with core academic standards that can be quantified in an objective manner.
Despite recent record-breaking K-12 education spending, our local districts see very little due to a series of unfunded mandates, regulations, complicated formulas, and restrictions. It’s unfair in its distribution, resulting in decades of political deals that benefit certain areas of the state at our expense. We must remodel education funding to provide equal, cost-efficient, and quality education for all our children.
Transportation: It’s about priorities — We have done well in promoting local improvements on Highways 494, 94, and 610. However, before simply raising more taxes for other projects cross our state we must first exhaust all other funding 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 south/east bound ramps to I-94, free up metropolitan 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. 8, we can return to priorities that reinforce families, provide good jobs, and make Minnesota a better place to live.
Bonnie Westlin is a Minnesota native and graduate of Hamline University (B.A., English) and Hamline University School of Law (J.D.). She has lived in Maple Grove since 2004, the same year she established her solo family law and mediation practice in St. Louis Park. As an attorney and trained mediator, Bonnie knows how to build consensus and resolve conflicts.
Bonnie is the proud mother of two sons, and grandmother to two granddaughters. She is a member of Shir Tikvah synagogue, where she sits on the Board of Trustees and chairs the Caring Community committee.
Maintaining a strong public education system is critical to providing opportunity for all Minnesota students and giving them the tools they will need for lifelong success. I support funding programs designed to close the achievement/opportunity gap, such as voluntary Pre-K, All-day kindergarten, Northside Achievement Zone, Reading and Math Corps and College in Schools programs.
Our schools need reliable, consistent and equitable funding to ensure every child has access to the same world-class education, regardless of zip code. And that funding should be protected from accounting shifts that delay payment of essential funds to school districts to balance the state budget.
Minnesota is currently facing a teacher shortage. We need to focus on attracting and retaining the best and brightest teachers in our classrooms by investing in teacher development and mentorship initiatives, and supporting student loan forgiveness programs for college students who pursue an education career.
Minnesota has consistently been ranked one of the best states for business in this country in large part because of our well-educated workforce. We can ensure a strong economic future for our state by prudent investments in our most precious resource-our children.
It is projected that the Twin Cities metro region will see a population increase of nearly 1 million people by the year 2040. It is also expected that 570,000 jobs will be added. We cannot rely on simply repairing existing roads and bridges to keep up with projected growth. Transit ridership has been growing. In 2015, passengers used Metro transit buses and trains for more than 85.8 million rides.
Our region needs a multimodal transit system that will keep pace with growth and eliminate growing gridlock. And our business community supports this. We need to adopt a long-term, comprehensive, dedicated funding solution that will meet the transportation needs of all Minnesotans throughout the state.
Minnesotans take great pride in our natural resources, especially our lakes, rivers and streams. But these resources are fragile and of the waters that have been tested in Minnesota, roughly 40 percent have been found to be contaminated. I support efforts to continue improving and maintaining water quality in our state.
Minnesota enacted the renewable energy standard in 2007, requiring utilities to provide 25 percent of their total electrical generation from renewable sources by 2025. Minnesota is on track to meet this goal. I support the pursuit of alternative, renewable energy sources that will create jobs, lower energy costs and protect our environment.