Herald Journal - Voters' Guide '08

Two candidates to vie for State Rep. District 18A

For state representative in District 18A, DFLer Eric Angvall of Lester Prairie is challenging incumbent Ron Shimanski of Silver Lake.

District 18A includes all of McLeod County, plus Collinwood Township, Cedar Mills, and Cedar Mills Township in Meeker County.

Eric Angvall ( www.angvall4rep.com )

Why are you running for office?

I am running for the office of State Representative of District 18A, because I want to actually represent the residents of the district.

Our district has unique needs and wishes that should be represented. Responding to the dictates of the party in St. Paul, or voting “no” on most items is not actually representing the needs of the district.

I have been visiting school boards, city councils, and county board meetings, also meetings of townships, senior citizens, business meetings, city administrators, church dinners, and coffee groups. I have knocked on doors in each town, and have listened and asked questions.

I understand that I cannot meet the wishes of all, but need to listen and respond with a proactive approach to the problems that can be solved. Each group that I have met with has different needs and wishes that need to be considered in order to make the best decision possible. I know that this takes work, but it brings government to the people and allows them to be a part of the solution.

What do you think are two major issues at this time, and what do you propose to do about them?

Energy issues. Helping Minnesotans help themselves. I want to have the state encourage – with grants and/or tax incentives – the building and installing of clean energy systems, such as wind power and solar. These clean energy producing systems can help lower the cost of clean energy to our cities, schools, homes, and businesses, while promoting jobs within the state. Helping our environment, creating Minnesota jobs, and keeping our dollars – helping our state economy – are great reasons to expand this area of energy.

Education. The state’s constitution placed the responsibility for our children’s education on the state. Since 2002, we have seen a drop in inflation-adjusted dollars going toward education, from pre-school through college. Education, I believe, is the “Research and Development” of our society, and it is firmly in our best interest to make a better investment in this area. The state must do a better job of investing in all areas of education, and then allow local school boards to implement the most productive methods of delivering a world class education.

Why should you be elected?

I should be elected because of the experience that I will bring to the state. I bring an open mind, with the desire to actually represent the district, and a long list of accomplishments and experience to make this happen.

I have served for 16 years on the Lester Prairie City Council, and as mayor for 14 years. I have many years of experience in decision making and budgeting. I understand the impact of state decisions on our cities and schools, and on us, as taxpayers.

I have worked for a major company for 20 years as a forecaster, understanding the results of today’s decisions on tomorrow.

My wife and I own a local hardware store, and, again, I understand taxes and the impact that they have on business.

I have a teaching degree and have been a substitute teacher for many years. This has given me a first-hand understanding of the needs of our schools and the funding required.

I have been active on a local and state level for more than 35 years n energy awareness and conservation. I have had a day named after me by the governor of the state for my energy involvement at the state level.

It is not my desire to raise taxes, I also pay them. It is my desire to use the taxes that we collect to the best of our ability, as I tried to do for the 16 years I served on the city council.

Ron Shimanski ( state.mn.us )

Why are you running for office?

I am running for re-election to continue the work started in my first term representing District 18A.

In 2006, the voters elected me to represent their concerns and priorities in the State Legislature. The input and feedback from these constituents re-affirm that I represent their views, and they trust me to be their voice in St. Paul.

We need to keep the will of the people as our focus. I am dedicated to working diligently to ensure that our government serves the priorities of our citizens by the most effective and efficient methods available in the 21st century.

What do you think are two major issues at this time, and what do you propose to do about them?

Long term economic growth and reducing the growth of government spending are the major issues important to Minnesota citizens. These have a direct impact on our family and home life. We must check the growth of state government and it’s appetite for more tax revenue.

Spending priorities need to be evaluated to best serve the essential needs of Minnesotans, while we reduce or eliminate wasteful or out-dated programs.

In the last legislative session, the big spenders wanted to allocate millions of dollars to pay for polar bear and gorilla condos at the Como Zoo, but fought efforts to give nursing homes a much-needed cost of living adjustment in their funding formula.

Equitable education funding, public safety, and transportation infrastructure should be first tier priorities for state government.

Living within our means (tax revenue), is just as essential for the state as it is for our families. We cannot afford to relentlessly raise taxes to accomodate excessive state spending desires.

With a strong economic base, we will raise the revenue needed to operate state government efficiently. Business and industry will provide the good jobs that individuals and families need to make a good living in Minnesota.

Due to existing circumstances, cities just across from our borders flourish with the growth of former Minnesota businesses who moved out of Minnesota for more favorable economic conditions. We need to revise our regulation and taxation policies to make Minnesota more inviting for business to start and expand here, where we live, bringing better jobs and opportunities for all of us.

Why should you be elected?

Minnesota is best served by citizen legislators. I have lived and worked in this area all of my life. My experience as a business owner, farmer, insurance and investment representative, and in the building industry, provide me with a diverse, indepth background essential to understanding problems and developing solutions that not only solve the immediate problem, but also examine the ramifications, down the line, that may create adverse effects greater than the initial problem.

I appreciate the views and opinions of all people and willingly listen to their issues and concerns. Working together, we have the ability to solve problems and build a better society. I have worked at the grassroots level of the political process for years, but am not a career politician. The best ideas for legislation come from the grassroots of the governing process, ideas from people like you.

I am dedicated, capable, and ready to serve as the people’s representative in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Your support and confidence in me are greatly appreciated.