Herald Journal - Voters' Guide '08

Two candidates to vie for State Rep. District 19B

For the November ballot, the seat being served by Republican Tom Emmer of Delano is up (District 19B), with two candidates, Emmer and Christine Brazelton of Delano.

District 19B consists of communities in eastern Wright County and a small portion of western Hennepin County. These include the cities of Albertville, Delano, Hanover, Montrose, Otsego, Rockford, St. Michael, Waverly; and townships Franklin, Rockford, Victor, and Woodland.

Tom Emmer ( state.mn.us )

Why are you running for office?

I believe in public service and in being part of the solution. I am running because I believe that if you intend to live and prosper in this country, you need to speak English; I’m running because I believe our kids should recite the Pledge of Allegiance and “one nation under God” every day in our schools; I’m running to protect paintings, writings and plaques from being removed from public places because they honor “God”; I’m running because marriage is between one man and one woman; I’m running because I believe we need to protect all life; I’m running because I believe we need to protect our family farms and small towns from urban sprawl; I’m running because I am fortunate to live in the greatest country in world and I believe we need to accept our responsibility to lead at a local, state and federal level.

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

I know from experience that every issue can be considered the “most important issue” to someone. Our State faces challenges in many areas including, jobs and the economy, health care, long term care, education, transportation, energy, communications and maintaining and improving the quality of life that is Minnesota.

Minnesota now ranks number 45 as a state best suited to start a business. We need to eliminate excessive regulation and reduce the financial burden on our businesses to encourage private investment and job growth. We are fortunate to live in a state that offers some of the best health care options in the country, if not the world. That being said, we must work to ensure that our health care continues to improve and evolve; and that our options for accessing affordable health care are maintained and expanded. While Minnesota boasts the lowest number of uninsured of any State in the Union, we can and must always strive to do better.

Why should you be elected?

I have the experience and a proven track record. As a husband and father raising seven children in the district, I understand the challenges facing families in our growing County. As the owner of a business, I have experience with the challenges facing employers and employees. Prior to entering the legislature, I served on the City Council in two cities for ten years. I understand the challenges facing the residents of our cities and townships. As a member of the legislature, I have worked hard to represent the district and our state on many issues including, health care, education, public safety, energy, communication, transportation, legal reform, campaign finance reform, personal privacy, individual property rights and the list goes on.

Christine Brazelton ( www.brazeltonforhouse.com )

Why are you running for office?

I am a candidate for Minnesota’s State House of Representatives for District 19B, but I’m not a politician. I’m a wife and mother. I’m a public servant who still remembers what that means. I am running for public office because government is broken and politics as usual won’t fix it.

It’s time we quit playing games, roll up our sleeves, and get to work – solving the real problems that we face here in Wright County and across the State of Minnesota.

I’m running for people like my cousin. She didn’t have insurance. When a varicose vein in her leg ruptured, like so many others without insurance, she didn’t go to a doctor. She hoped it would get better on its own. It didn’t, and when she could no longer stand the pain, she broke down and went to the emergency room. The leg was infected and the infection was septic. She was admitted to the hospital, where she died.

I’m running for the woman whose husband was in the construction business, but could not find work. She owned her own business, renting a chair in a salon. Business was slow, because people put off getting their hair done when the economy is bad. Pressure was high as her family counted on her income to make ends meet. They were behind on all their bills and she found out she was pregnant. They had no insurance. She cried when she told her husband they had a baby on the way. He punched the wall.

I’m running for the disabled man who can’t afford a car and can’t get to work from Delano to Buffalo because there is no public transportation from Delano to Buffalo.

I’m running for the people whose government let them down in a very real way Aug. 1, 2007 when they were crossing the I-35W bridge, and for all the people in the rest of the state who have to cross bridges every day to get to work.

The economy is failing too many of us, property taxes are soaring, while market values are going down. Quality of life is slipping for all but the wealthiest. We have built a great state with great people through a lot of hard work and tough choices.

We need to head back in the right direction, and can do that by finding common ground. We will never do that by sniping at one another. It’s time for real change.

We must return to our values, and return our government to its limited, but important, role of organizing civil society, doing together what none of us can possibly do alone.

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

With the mortgage crisis leading to the slump in the housing industry and the meltdown of the financial markets, would be one major issue.

While many of the solutions will have to come from the federal level, there are steps that can be taken by the State of Minnesota. We must protect consumers from predatory lenders and create jobs to provide paychecks rather than welfare checks for the growing number of unemployed.

Another major issue is the growing crisis in our health care system. The spiraling cost of medical insurance premiums is leaving a growing number of Minnesotans without affordable coverage.

Many employers and individuals who can no longer afford the high costs are opting out, creating a further burden on the taxpayers, when they end up using emergency rooms for their primary care but can’t pay the bill.

National solutions seem elusive, and it appears we may have to start with successful state and local pilot projects.

We have difficult decisions to make between what may be good for the insurance companies vs what is good for the consumers and taxpayers.

Why should you be elected?

I have a track record of successfully negotiating win-win solutions between and among groups of people with competing interests. My priorities are to find solutions, not grandstanding for political show.

I have spoken with hundreds of people all across the district, and the one thing they have in common is that they are tired of the partisan bickering they see in St. Paul and Washington.

While some are more concerned about lowering their taxes than others, all want to see their tax dollars spent wisely. I pride myself on being a good fiscal manager with an excellent credit rating, and would bring those same principles to my work at the legislature. I look forward to serving the people of this district with integrity.