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

State Representative Dist. 18B

Glenn Gruenhagen *(R)

Why are you running for state representative?

I believe our state and nation are at a crossroads where we must decide if we want to be a land of opportunity or a land of entitlements. The private sector cannot grow or create jobs when government is over-taxing and over-regulating.

In addition, the government promotion of energy policies which are based on faulty science has resulted in dramatically higher energy costs, adding to the price of goods and services. As a result, our businesses and families suffer economically.

I believe that my 34 years as a business owner in the financial services industry has equipped me to understand the complex economic problems facing our state. I want to bring that experience to St. Paul to reform our government to be more efficient and cost-effective.

What do you believe are the top two issues facing District 18B, and what are your proposed solutions?

The top two issues are true healthcare reform, and reforming Minnestoa government agencies, especially the Department of Natural Resources, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

High health insurance premiums and environmental rules have huge financial costs that negatively effect businesses and job creation.

As a freshman legislator, I authored or co-authored over 10 health care reform bills, which were ultimately opposed by the DFL and the governor.

Citizens should be aware that in spite of the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, states can still pass true health care reform that will lower premiums by increasing private insurance competition across state lines.

Innovation and competition are the key to lower health care costs and improved access for patients.

We must make health insurance portable, allowing employees to keep the same health insurance, even though they change employers.

Tax credits or vouchers should be provided for families that are hurting economically, allowing them to purchase their own health care policies.

We also desperately need to reform Minnesota’s MPCA and DNR in a way that protects our environment, but works with our private businesses and farms. These Minnesota agencies have some of the strictest regulations in the nation. They are hurting private-sector business growth, forcing many businesses to leave or expand outside of the state of Minnesota.

What specifically can this unit of government do to cut costs and operate efficiently, while still maintaining service to taxpayers?

At all levels of government, we need to ask the question, “How can we deliver services in a more efficient and effective way?” – whether it is working together with other area units of government or trying additional alternatives that are available in the marketplace.

During the time that I served as a former Glencoe-Silver Lake School Board member, we were faced with statutory operating debt of $750,000 and declining enrollment.

The school board and superintendent were unable to pass additional operating levies, so the public was telling us we needed to reform our educational system.

We began to look at every area of our operation for ways to deliver the necessary services to our children and students more efficiently.

This resulted in reforms, which included privatizing many of our services and changing the structure of our educational delivery system, reducing our operating cost by thousands of dollars.

The result was that we went from a $750,000 deficit, to a $4.5 million surplus within two to three years, without a major tax increase. This kept school property taxes at a low rate for families, businesss, and farms, while still providing a strong academic program.

Logan Campa (DFL)

Why are you running for state representative in District 18B?

Last summer, I was working at 3M when the state government shut down. I was greatly disappointed and upset at the state of our political system that casually saw our state shut down for three weeks, but even more so, I was upset that it was solved by borrowing billions from our schools.

At a time when nearly 70 percent of our jobs in Minnesota will require a post high school education, we shouldn’t be hurting our schools, our children, and our future. This is unacceptable.

For these reasons, I am running for office. We have had a difficult couple of years and we have difficult situations facing us, but now, more than ever, we need to have common sense solutions to our problems.

Common sense says we shouldn’t be borrowing from our schools, we shouldn’t be passing property tax increases eight times greater than those in the metro onto homeowners in McLeod County, we cannot keep creating more and more regulations and then expect our businesses to flourish. We need better leadership.

What do you believe are the top two issues facing District 18B, and what are your proposed solutions?

There are two main issues facing the district and the state.

First, we need to repay the money we borrowed from our schools. We need a strong education system if we want our children to succeed in the new global economy. There are reforms that are needed, and we need to find ways to ensure those reforms do not hurt student learning, and that we do not simply push students through the system.

The second issue is business and job growth in Greater Minnesota. We have to ensure we have the infrastructure to accommodate businesses, this means proper sewage and water systems; good roads, bridges and communication systems; and common sense regulations.

We also need to make sure we have a workforce prepared to take the jobs that will be created. High tech manufacturing is a huge growth industry, but we have a shortage of workers available to take these jobs. This ties in with education and the need to ensure a well-trained workforce, whether they are fresh out of high school or college, or someone who needs retraining to take the new jobs in the area.

What specifically can this unit of government do to cut costs and operate efficiently, while still maintaining service to taxpayers?

Some areas we can find cost savings in, is in our regulation system. If we trim red tape, and cut down on onerous regulations and inspections, we can cut down on costs. And if we couple it with a strong pre-k education for children, we will find huge cost savings, because it is proven beyond a doubt that the more help children get at younger ages, the more savings there are later on.

Coupling that with strong public-private partnerships, like what are seen with our university system, we can really boost economic growth.

For example, for every dollar invested in the University of Minnesota, we see a return of $13.

I am a long-time hunter and sports shooter, pro-life, and the only candidate in the race to be endorsed by farming and agricultural groups. It is a true honor to have this opportunity to run for office. I hope you will vote for me in November.

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