Herald Journal - Voters' Guide 2010
Herald Journal / Dassel-Cokato Enterprise Dispatch / Delano Herald Journal

State Senator - Dist. 34

Three people have filed for Minnesota state senate position in District 34: Tim Biros, Laura Helmer, and Julianne Ortman.

Tim Biros

Why are you running for office?

I felt compelled to give back a little for the good fortune I’ve had to have grown up in this state and live in this community.

I also felt that something had to be done about the lack of compromise and deeply partisan politics at the capitol.

We need more moderate representatives who won’t follow rigid ideologies, but rather, who decide issues rationally for the good of the people, not the party.

There is no reason why we cannot be fiscally responsibile, while still treating everyone fairly and equally and respecting the separation of church and state.

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

Clearly, the projected $6 billion budget deficit is the most pressing issue for the state. We need to cut government spending.

Unfortunately, 76 percent of state dollars go just to education, and health and human services. Trimming enough elsewhere will be tough. I would favor cuts to health and welfare over cuts to education, but everything needs to be on the table.

If we want to continue Minnesota’s proud tradition of leading the nation in standard of living, some small tax increases may also be necessary. I favor a small increase in sales tax, rather than increases in income or property taxes. That way, those that are spending the most will be contributing the most.

Road fatalities are still too common. Major outstate highways, such as Highway 7 and 212, should be four lanes and divided.

Half of all fatalities are still attributed to driving while intoxicated. We need real jail time, especially for repeat offenders and for those driving with a suspended license.

Why should you be elected?

I have not been involved in politics before. I don’t think of this as a negative – normal citizens should be representing us in St. Paul.

I have always been a news junkie, and am well-versed on most issues.

Being a moderate, I welcome, and am always open to, rational arguments on any issue, and absolutely love it if someone can challenge me to reconsider my views.

I promise to represent you full time at the legislature, and will consistently try to make the best decisions for the people of this district and the future of this state.

Laura Helmer

I am 45 years old, and have been married to Bruce for 23 years. We have two children, Ali, age 17, and Greg, age 14.

I have lived in Chanhassen for 15 years, as a homemaker and community volunteer.

I have bachelor of arts degrees in economics and Spanish from St. Catherine University, and a master of business administration degree in strategic management from Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.

For more information, visit www.laurahelmer.org.

Why are you running for office?

When I ran for this same office four years ago, I said, “I entered this race because I believe change must be made in Minnesota politics, and our work begins with making sure government pays attention to basic ‘kitchen table’ issues, like jobs and education and healthcare.”

These are called kitchen table issues because they are what families like yours and mine sit around the kitchen table talking about and worrying about.

Four years later, I can make the exact same statements. They are even truer today, and are the reasons why I am running again in 2010.

Our economic and employment situations have worsened dramatically; Minnesota’s investment in education is continually under attack due to ever-changing and complicated funding formulas and accounting shifts. We still have not found a way to meet even the most basic healthcare needs of all citizens, and we are more politically divided than ever.

These are serious problems that do not have simple solutions and solving them will require difficult and, probably at times, unpopular choices.

We need forward-thinking leaders who can work effectively with all legislators, by building respectful relationships that recognize our differences, yet manage to find common ground and think outside the box – outside politics-as-usual – to come up with creative solutions and create good policy.

We need to leave partisan attack and sound-bite politics behind and stand up firmly for the principles we believe in as Minnesotans so that we can develop responsible policies that make our state and its economy stronger.

I pledge to be that type of leader and I ask for your vote Tuesday, Nov. 2.

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

Just like the rest of Minnesota, jobs and the economy are a main concern. I will support economic growth strategies to get Minnesotans back to work — investing in people, small business, and innovation.

Because small business can be a huge growth engine for Minnesota, I will start a bi-partisan small business caucus in the senate. We will develop good public policy that enables our small businesses to grow, prosper, and hire new workers.

A second main concern that I hear time and again while talking to folks in the community is education funding. I will not further reduce funding for our schools.

Stable, adequate, and equitable funding is one of the best ways to ensure quality education in Minnesota. Most agree that an educated workforce is good for business and families, so we need to continue to make smart investments in our students and schools. Smart investments are made with accountability for results and will address current disparities in opportunity and achievement.

Why should you be elected?

I was raised on a farm in Olivia; I understand both the rural and suburban issues of our district.

I hold a degree in economics and a master’s degree in business management. I have worked in big business, founded small businesses, and invested in community businesses.

I have raised a family here and have been an active community participant.

I am dedicated to fighting for the needs of this community.

Julianne Ortman

Why are you running for office?

To restore common sense in our decision-making: 1) cut wasteful government spending (eliminate duplicative services and the influence of special interests), 2) reduce the tax burden (allow Minnesotans to keep more of their hard-earned income – individuals/businesses can invest more wisely than government), 3) encourage new jobs/business growth (stop the flight of jobs and capital due to unstable and unsustainable tax/budget policies), 4) focus on funding our constitutional mandates first – education, transportation and public safety, and provide a reasonable safety net for those in need, 5) protect our families and our freedoms from government intrusion (trust Minnesotans to manage their own lives).

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

The economy and jobs are the most important issues facing individuals, families, and businesses; we struggle with unemployment, under-employment, declining household incomes and home values, and a lack of confidence that government has solutions.

Businesses are uncertain about whether our federal, state, and local governments will act to create and maintain an improved economic environment to encourage job growth, business expansion, and private investment.

The state can help best by cutting wasteful and unsustainable spending, and developing stable tax and budget policies that allow new investors, start-up businesses, and growing businesses to have confidence that the state of Minnesota is a place where they can succeed.

Why should you be elected?

I understand keenly that government must work for the residents, taxpayers, and the voters – and not the other way around.There is an important philosophical debate at our capitol as to whether government or individuals and businesses provide the best solutions and serve as our economic engine.

The Senate DFL votes for tax increases every year to pay for even more government programming and benefits. They have forgotten that the money they raise in taxes was earned first by hardworking Minnesotans who have every right to expect that it be spent only on needs and not wants, and that it be spent economically and efficiently.

I should be elected, because I am a very strong advocate for the values and views of the residents of Carver and Scott counties.

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