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Forest Lake Times Thursday, October 25, 2012

Make an informed decision - Vote on November 6, 2012

Two challenge Johnson for FL mayor Bruce Anderson

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JEFF REY AVE N

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P4 2746

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206TH ST N

202ND ST N

KILLIAN AVE N

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JEWEL AVE N

187TH ST N

IVYWOOD AVE N

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JULY AVE N

INWOOD AVE N

HENNA AVE N

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F OR EST B

LVD N

Hugo

180TH ST N

Polling Location

Population 4184 3061 3661 2746 4723 (Number is population in the precinct)

Precinct Boundary

KEYSTONE AVE N

GRANADA AVE N

VE HA R R O W A

180TH ST N

175TH ST N

Forest Lake

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0.25

0.5

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Miles

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•Precinct 1, Forest Lake City Hall, 220 N. Lake St. _ Polling Location ^ •Precinct 2, St. Peter’s Church, 1250 South Shore Dr. Precinct Boundary •Precinct 3, Faith Lutheran Church, 886 North Shore Dr. •Precinct 4, Hosanna Lutheran, 9300 Scandia Trail N. •Precinct 5, Wash. Co. Service Center, 19955 Forest Rd. N. 0

Source: US Census Bureau. Created by the GIS Support Unit. March 13, 2012

KILLIAN AVE N

KEATS AVE N

JULY AVE N

22 3R D

JOLIET AVE N JUDE

KEAT HER AVE N

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JEWEL AV

JULY AVE N AVE N N

RL AT DI

(Number is population in the precinct)

0.25

0.5

Miles

1

KEYSTONE AVE N

INGERSOLL AVE N

E AV

AN SC

ST N 204TH N 203RD ST

IMPERIAL AVE

KESL ER

JAMACA AVE N

N

JEFFREY AVE N

JANERO AVE

INMAN AVE N

AV IDE AL

IVYWOOD AVE N

AVE NAVE N INWOODHARROW

KEATHER AVE N

JOLIET AV EN J UD EA VE N 22 3R D

EN JENS EN AV

N ITASCA AVE

HILO AVE N

N CIR RE SH O RT H NO

HS TS E

19T

5TH ST SE

7TH ST SE

GRAFTON AVE N

GOODVIEW AVE N

HENNA AVE N

AVE N

LAKE ST S

RD

FO RE ST

Hosanna Lutheran Church (P-4)

NO JU

KEATS AVE N

HE AT H HENNA AVE N

LAKE ST N

3RD ST

SE

4TH ST SW CENTENNIAL DR SW

EN FO ND AN T AV

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N

FENWAY AVE N

HOEK STRA

3RD ST SW

9TH ST SW 8TH ST SW

1ST ST NW

35 INT

T SW

12TH ST SW

15TH S

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AA VE ENFIELD

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FALC ON AV

AV E

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190TH ST N

177TH ST N

I am an economist with over 25 years of academic, government and consulting experience. I formerly served in the Minnesota State House (2007-2010), on my city’s planning commission, and as a host mom to AFS and Rotary exchange students. I am a member of the Greater Stillwater Area Chamber of Commerce and Lake Elmo Rotary. My husband of 28 years, Marlon Gunderson, grew up on a Chisago County dairy farm. We have one daughter. 1.) Explain what specifically motivated you to

180TH ST N

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191ST ST N

FOREST RD N

ELMCREST AVE N

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190TH ST N

180TH ST N

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195TH ST N

Forest Lake

Precinct 1 2 3 4 5

219TH ST

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EX PL O RE R

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Julie Bunn

Karin Housley

DFL-Lake Elmo

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N AVE AHTIN KEEW

O O YW IV

AV E

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going debate about the need for new or improved city government facilities. What degree of need do you detect, and how would you like to see it be addressed? I don’t believe anyone that tours the facilities questions the need. Police cars and their computers are currently stored outside. Fire trucks barely fit in the old fire hall and the buildings all need significant repairs. By building one building that houses police, fire and city hall, we save significant money by eliminating duplicated spaces like entries, bathrooms and training rooms, we reduce ongoing operating costs and we provide better customer service to our residents. 4.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. Redeveloping Northland Mall allows us to increase the tax base by transferring existing operations from commercially-viable properties to a single site that is among the city’s least commercially-viable. We’ll treat the currently-untreated water that flows through Winnick Supply, Northland Mall and a large subdivision, significantly improving the water quality of Clear Lake. By acting now on this site, we address many challenges and save money in the long run by taking advantage of today’s prices and interest rates and by fostering further streamlining and efficiencies of operations. I strongly believe the project will be reflected on as a fiscally-prudent decision.

R-St. Mary’s Point

230TH ST N

H 0T 21

LVD N

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F OR EST B

215T H IV ER SO N

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JULEP TRL N

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E AV

200TH ST N

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E AV

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Some responses from candidates were lightly edited for grammar, length and clarity. Care was taken to preserve intent. Candidates in challenged races who did not respond remain listed in their respective article. Several attempts were made to reach each candidate.

My wife, Lara, and I have three young kids. I graduated from Forest Lake High School. I’m a business owner/attorney in town. I’m also past president of the Rotary Club and the 19th District of the Minnesota State Bar Association, and am past board chair of the Chamber of Commerce. 1.) Explain the single accomplishment you take the most pride in from your current term. Generally, I am most proud of changing the momentum of the city from stagnant and reactive to forward-thinking and proactive. We have done a significant amount of longterm planning, now have a five-year strategic plan and are taking action to attract more families and businesses and addressing the city’s challenges. 2.) An engineering report found that 46 percent of Forest Lake’s road system is in need of reconstruction. Do you support the city’s recent plan for the establishment of a franchise fee to fund road maintenance? If not, what is your vision for maintaining and improving the street system? Currently, roads mostly only get repaired if the adjacent property owners agree to pay for it through street assessments, often in the price range of $7,500$15,000 per home. Most decline and roads don’t get fixed. I’m in favor of abandoning the one-time, largeassessment approach and instead beginning a program by which all energy users pay a small flat fee each month dedicated to roads. By repairing our roads, more won’t need costly reconstruction. 3.) There has been on-

Bunn, Housley seek open seat in 39

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LIA JU

216TH ST N

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Washington County Service Center (P-5)

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187TH ST N

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O W

199TH

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KE LL ER

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IN

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207TH

205TH CT N 204TH CT N

209T HS 20 TN 8T H ST N

HOLSTAD TR

E AV STON GREY

P5 4723

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195TH ST N

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AVE

201S T ST

200TH ST N

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TON

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S H LN N 0T 210TH 21

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EN ID

213TH ST

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KIRK AVE N

16TH AVE SE

20 9T H

190TH ST NNNE A

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St Peter's Church (P-2)

235TH ST N

AVE JASON

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180TH ST N N T

FOREST RD N

20 6T H

Hugo

N TO ER

224TH ST N

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3061

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IRSIH AVE N

11TH AVE SE

_ ^ P2

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FENS

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N

9TH AVE SE

12TH AVE SE

GIA OR GE

FOREST RD N

209TH ST N 208TH ST N

E AV

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8TH

214TH ST N

177TH ST N

P3 3661

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230TH ST N

RIA

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Forest Lake CIty Hall (P-1)

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HEALY AVE

FENWAY AVE N

191ST ST N

4TH AVE NW

23 3R D

15TH ST SE

9TH AVE SW

Forest Lake

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LER

KES

JAMACA AVE N N

INGERSOLL AVE N

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Faith Lutheran Church (P-3)

4TH AVE SW

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EET TR

1ST AVE SW 2ND AVE SW

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175TH ST N

2 40 T H

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CIR

CIR

BROADWAY AVE W

EVERTON AVE N 19TH ST SW

IMPERIAL AVE

FLAY AVE N

FALCON AVE N

ELMCREST AVE N

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NW 2ND AVE NW 1ST AVE NW

3RD AVE SW

ST 217TH

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202ND ST N

2746

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EV ER GR EE N

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VE HA R R O W A

ELSTON AVE

8T H SH IL LIN

11TH AVE SW

220TH ST N

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230T

GRANADA AVE N

N AVE

P1 4184

190TH ST N

E BLVD

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ST N 204TH N 203RD ST

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232ND ST N

LAKE BLVD S LAK

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L TR IA ND

206TH ST N

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235TH ST N

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195TH ST N

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Hosanna Lutheran Church (P-4)

H SHORE TRL N NORT

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9TH ST SE 10TH ST SE

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240TH ST N

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JEFFREY AVE N

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JEFFREY AVE N

INMAN AVE N

JANERO AVE

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HARROW AVE N

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that would secure safety rather than putting way too much into luxury. Some roads don’t need repair for a few more years. 3.) There has been ongoing debate about the need for new or improved city government facilities. What degree of need do you detect, and how would you like to see it be addressed? Editor’s note: The candidate did not respond to this question. 4.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. I want to improve the budget, perhaps build more [city-owned] apartments for seniors and those with disabilities so they can pay 30 percent of their income so city hall can begin to make some profits and use those profits to lower property taxes. Residents that live in houses work very hard to buy a house for their family. We need to work on helping them out so they will not lose their home. Build security to keep people safe, most importantly children. I want to work on improving the budget so that it will not increase and require taxpayers to pay more.

Editor’s Note:

INW

ngton County vice Center (P-5)

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200TH ST N

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O O YW IV

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Forest Lake Precincts P4

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205TH CT N

230TH ST N

H 0T 21

HS TN H ST N

NE YSTO GR E

FOREST RD N

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GRAFTON AVE N

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204TH CT N

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IV ER SO N

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GOODVIEW AVE N

216TH ST N

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9TH ST SE 10TH ST SE

19 TH

5TH ST SE

7TH ST SE

3RD ST

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4TH ST SW CENTENNIAL DR SW

LAKE ST S

EN HEALY AV

16TH AVE SE

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EN ID

213TH

207TH

224TH ST N

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235TH ST N

Chris Johnson (I)

KIRK AVE N

15TH ST SE

11TH AVE SE

12TH AVE SE

IRSIH AVE N

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JEN SEN AV

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ITASCA AVE

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AVE

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JULY AVE N

HE AT H

HILO AVE N

1ST ST NW

LAKE ST N

HENNA AVE N

E AV

3RD ST SW

AL RI

8TH

9TH AVE SE

214TH ST N

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4TH AVE SW

P5 4723

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230TH ST N

TL EE TR

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Age 41, single. Unemployed but working on starting new job as pizza delivery driver because I worked as a delivery driver for over 20 years for a pizza shop. I did run for a City Council seat in Plymouth but I lost. Visit w w w. f a c e book.com/ brianhileformayor and https://twitter.com/bdhile200. 1.) Explain what specifically motivated you to run for office. I would like to try to be successful as mayor by providing what residents expect: city hall to do its job, like protecting people, improving the city, improving the budget, etc. 2.) An engineering report found that 46 percent of Forest Lake’s road system is in need of reconstruction. Do you support the city’s recent plan for the establishment of a franchise fee to fund road maintenance? If not, what is your vision for maintaining and improving the street system? We need very good roads to make them more clean and safe. When snow is covering a bad road, it will not be safe. With good roads, people will not have to worry about getting hurt. Broadway looks very luxurious, but way too much luxury. It cost too much. I’d recommend improving roads

INW

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money on new roads. 3.) There has been ongoing debate about the need for new or improved city government facilities. What degree of need do you detect, and how would you like to see it be addressed? The Mayor of Forest Lake doesn’t need a big, new, fancy office. I hope that when we set up a solid financial base in the years ahead we can address a new police/ fire facility and maybe a new government center. But no way should we be considering spending $22,000,000 on a building in poor economic times. Pay police more and give them better equipment. Put new commerce on that site and produce revenue. 4.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. As mayor, I would look at rezoning and creating more commercial/industrial building sites to bring in the tax base we need to lead our city into solid financial growth to pay for the beautification of the city and reduce property taxes. The best small cities in the counP3 the lowest taxes. try have Low 3661 taxes bring in more home buyers and small business, thus more revenue and jobs. As mayor, I would start a statewide initiative with other mayors to freeze property taxes for retirees and veterans until the state abolishes property taxes. N N AVE JASO

Paramedic, co-owner of Tyler Blu Golf. Married to Missy (Delta Airlines), with children Katie (Willowbrook Church) and Tyler (Tyler Blu Golf). Economics degree from University of Minnesota, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer - Dakota County Te c h n i c a l College. Moved to Forest Lake eight years ago. Longtime high school and college hockey and football official. 1.) Explain what specifically motivated you to run for office. I’m one of those who think government at all levels needs to start over. Forest Lake has had fiscal mismanagement, limited the freedom of speech at council meetings, has let the citizens/small business down with tax burdens including special “fees.” Let’s bring in more revenue without taxation. 2.) An engineering report found that 46 percent of Forest Lake’s road system is in need of reconstruction. Do you support the city’s recent plan for the establishment of a franchise fee to fund road maintenance? If not, what is your vision for maintaining and improving the Faith _ Lutheran ^ street Church (P-3) system? I think it’s shameful Forest Lake CIty (P-1) how the city tried to “cov_ Hall ^ er up” a tax by calling it a “franchise fee” on our utility bills. They should have been honest and forthright. Streets should St Peter's paid for by proper fis(P-2) _beChurch ^ P2 cal budget management, 3061 state assistance from gas taxes, possibly user fees, gambling revenue and other creative ideas from the public. Fix current roads before spending

Brian Hile

run for office. We are witnessing too much extremism, conflict, and lack of progress at the state Capitol. I am a principled moderate who is committed to a civil, honest discussion of issues, and to hard work in finding real solutions to problems. I have a proven track record of bipartisan achievement, passing major legislation to lower the cost of health care, to support job creation in the small business sector, and to protect our drink-

Married 27 years to high school sweetheart, former NHL’er Phil Housley. Four children. Owner, Karin Housley Homes and Lumberyard Hockey & Sports. Random Housepublished a u t h o r, president of Let’s Go Fishing with Seniors, Community Thread Board, Canvas Health Chair and S p e c i a l Olympics. Host of The Karin Housley Show-KLBB Radio, a program featuring businesses and non-profits. Washington County Agricultural Society, Washington County Historic Bunn see page 8A Courthouse Council. Min-

nesota Farm Bureau and Minnesota Chamber Endorsed. BA-State University of New York. 1.) Explain what specifically motivated you to run for office. I care about our community. I’ve listened to the concerns about unemployment, the e c o n o m y, education and health care. Residents expect new solutions and fresh ideas. I am not a career politician. My priorities at the Capitol will be to address our unemployment and help our Housley see page 8A


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voters guide

Five candidates compete for two seats on Scandia council Scandia will vote for mayor and two council members on Nov. 6. Mayor Randall Simonson is running unopposed for a second two-year term. The mayor is paid $3,882 per year. Terms for council members Connie Amos and

Connie Amos (I)

1.) What is your background? We have lived in Scandia for 20+ years. I have 3 children and 12 grandchildren. I am an Incharge for AT&T Executive Teleconference Service. I have been employed by this company for 18+ years. I have held no public office before this one. 2.) Explain the single accomplishment you take the most pride in from your current term. I take pride in working with a great Mayor and Council. We are able to work out our differences and move on. 3.) How would you characterize Scandia’s finances? What would you keep the same, and what would you change? Scandia’s finances seem to be very good, solid. Spending is on proper financial footing. 4.) What should Scandia do to manage development, protect its natural resources, and support agriculture and business? We have a Comprehensive Plan that promises to serve as a blueprint for the city, describing how natural resources will be protected, where and how development will take place, and how Scandia will continue to maintain its rural character. 5.) What challenges does Scandia face, and how would you address them? We need to promote new business. This benefits all Scandia residents.

Bob Hegland

2008 – 2012. With 2013 factored in the result is in an increase from 2008 – 2013 of 41.8%. Incomes are flat, purchasing power has diminished, and home values have dropped considerably but our city council apparently thinks it is business as normal. 3.) How would you characterize Scandia’s finances? What would you keep the same, and what would you change? Scandia’s finances are sound but better utilization is required to maintain that. Continuing current spending we will weaken them, unless we continue to raise property tax levies. As noted earlier, our property tax levy has increased dramatically over recent years while our economy has not. We need to reduce debt and work toward stabilizing property taxes and perhaps even reducing them over time. If you vote for an incumbent, you choose higher taxes and more spending. To choose lower taxes and less spending, vote for me. 4.) What should Scandia do to manage development, protect its natural resources, and support agriculture and business? This question infers we need more government. I am an advocate of less government. I believe in government that manages its funds with common sense and stays out of people’s lives as much as possible. Business, agriculture, and development thrive when there is less regulation, not more. Protecting natural resources is the function of the DNR. We don’t need to duplicate their efforts. 5.) What challenges does Scandia face, and how would you address them? The biggest challenge is an ever-encroaching government that is gradually forcing many of our residents out of their homes. Our neighbor Forest Lake seems to understand this and is working toward a zero increase property tax levy for 2013 whereas Scandia is projecting a budget increase of 6.2%. Government inherently grows unless there is a concerted effort to examine all expenditures and alternatives, short term and long term. One person can effect change. Two can really make a difference which is why my son, Dustin, and I are running for the two open positions on the city council.

Dan Lee

1.) What is your background? BSEE electrical engineer. Began my career as a research engineer at 3M but spent most of my career in corporate management. Now semiretired, I maintain a financial practice managing investments. 4 children and 7 grandchildren. I moved to Scandia to be near my youngest son and his 3 children. 2.) What motivated you to run for office? Our property tax levy increased 33.9% from

1.) What is your background? I was raised in Hopkins, joined the Air Force and served three years in the Netherlands during the Vietnam conflict. I got my insurance and real estate licenses

Chris Ness also end in 2012. Both are running for reelection. Attempting to defeat them are Dan Lee, a member of the city’s Park and Recreation committee, and two newcomers to city politics, Bob Hegland and Dustin Hegland. Robert Pilz will also be on the ballot but has with-

drawn from the race. Council members serve four-year terms and are paid $3,148 per year. The Forest Lake Times asked the five council candidates to answer five questions. Their responses are printed here.

and worked for American Family Insurance. Then I gravitated to construction and attained my journeyman certificate. I have an AA in personnel management and a BA in international relations. I followed my fiancée to Seattle and started BRC Inc., a brick restoration company. After a successful nine years, and expecting a child, we moved to the family 16-acre farm on the east side of Hay Lake to raise our son in a rural town with good schools. 2.) What motivated you to run for office? I am currently on the Park and Recreation committee and head the Lilleskogen subcommittee. With Greg Zauner I am liaison with the Lions and with Friends of Scandia Parks and Trails. 3.) How would you characterize Scandia’s finances? What would you keep the same, and what would you change? Like many small towns, Scandia is challenged with mounting budgets, loans and levies to improve our infrastructure and keep Scandia’s fire department and city services up to date and progressive. This requires large amounts of money unattainable in an annual budget, so we must make payments. This in itself is not bad; however, I would like to bring some wisdom to the table in the allocation of these funds. Now that we are a city, much of this cost will be directly added to our property taxes. I don’t want this to be the “easy fix.” I would like to see long-range planning commensurate with carefully thought-out budgeting and fiscal responsibility. 4.) What should Scandia do to manage development, protect its natural resources, and support agriculture and business? I would like to see the mayor more involved with promoting the business climate and encouraging new businesses to Scandia. If I’m elected, I can nudge him for more focus with ideas and promotions and/or incentives, making Scandia a great place to work, live, and raise our families. 5.) What challenges does Scandia face, and how would you address them? Scandia has a unique responsibility with the historical significance and the environmental challenges with growth and protecting our air and water. We have the St. Croix River and O’Brien State Park, two jewels recognized nationally and treasured locally, giving the residents access to a plethora of opportunity. If elected I will promote bike, walking and horse trails, making Scandia the envy of every small town. With these economically stressed times, our job is to spend when we have to and budget conservatively to enable Scandia to grow and prosper. I will look carefully at both sides of the issues and present the best case to serve Scandia’s residents, city-environment and business.

function of the DNR. We don’t need to duplicate their efforts. 5.) What challenges does Scandia face, and how would you address them? Scandia’s biggest issue is spending. This is gradually forcing many of our neighbors out of their homes. In a hard economy, many taxpayers are looking to cut unnecessary financial expenses. Taking time to analyze and prioritize expenditures is a must. I have a strong record of excellence among numerous businesses through decreasing spending while increasing their effectiveness without the loss of quality. I believe in evaluating the decisions made to ensure that the citizens of Scandia are not being over-taxed. We have an opportunity to guarantee that fiscal discipline is taking place, without losing the greatness that Scandia encompasses.

Dustin Hegland

1.) What is your background? I attended college for computer science. I work as a consultant in the information systems management field. My family consists of my wife Megan, my daughter Madison and my sons, Tristan and Breckan. 2.) What motivated you to run for office? I saw our property tax levy increased 33.9 percent from 2008 to 2012. Incomes aren’t increasing, and home values have dropped greatly. Even with all this, our city council continues on as if it is business as usual. These ideas must stop and every expense must be scrutinized. 3.) How would you characterize Scandia’s finances? What would you keep the same, and what would you change? Scandia’s finances are good, but it’s how the money is spent that needs to be looked at to make sure that it stays that way. If the city council continues spending more and more money they will have to keep raising tax levies every year just to keep up with spending. We need to reduce spending and our debt to keep from raising taxes and maybe reduce them over time. 4.) What should Scandia do to manage development, protect its natural resources, and support agriculture and business? This question infers we need more government. I am an advocate of less government. I believe in government that manages its funds with common sense and stays out of people’s lives as much as possible. Business, agriculture, and development thrive when there is less regulation, not more. Protecting natural resources is the

Chris Ness (I)

1.) What is your background? I have been a Scandia resident for 14 years, serving for two years on the city council and 10 years on the planning commission before that. I’m a graduate of White Bear Lake High School and Brown Institute and work for Best Auto Supply in Osceola. I have two grown daughters and the world’s cutest five grandchildren. 2.) Explain the single accomplishment you take the most pride in from your current term. The hirings this year of our new city administrator, Kristina Handt, and public works director, Tim Kieffer, were excellent accomplishments. Much time was spent in meetings and interviews

to accomplish this. I’m also very proud of the work I’ve done through the years with the planning commission. 3.) How would you characterize Scandia’s finances? What would you keep the same, and what would you change? Scandia’s finances are in great shape. We should continue with our capital improvements plan, for which I’m a committee member, to stay prepared for long-range expenses. With the hiring of our new public works director, we’re looking at doing more projects in-house, at a substantial cost savings from having to contract them out. This will entail more short-term expense for the needed equipment, which needs to be balanced against those savings. 4.) What should Scandia do to manage development, protect its natural resources, and support agriculture and business? We have a great comprehensive plan and development code process in place for managing development and supporting our agriculture, including small farms, which have grown in number recently. As for natural resources, we must be vigilant and make sure that protecting them is our default position, especially our fantastic waterways. I believe that if we want to grow business, we’ll have to expand our business park, as almost all the lots there are occupied now. 5.) What challenges does Scandia face, and how would you address them? We are truly blessed to be living here. Our challenge is to keep Scandia the beautiful place that it is, which is something I’ve heard visitors here say so many times. Our ordinances do a great job of this, but we must also be sure to safeguard our property owners’ rights at the same time. We need to maintain our infrastructure, particularly our roads and three sewer systems, which are aging and in need of repair. We are on our way to accomplishing this, with the aforementioned public works plans.

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voters guide

Hugo mayor challenging Seeking fourth term, longtime commissioner in Dettmer faces Bruno in 39A Washington County District 1 John Bruno, Sr. Bob Dettmer (I) Dennis Hegberg (I)

Fran Miron

I have s e r v e d District 1 for over 22 years, giving me multi-faceted government experience. My 40-plus years of banking and management experience and my personal dedication to serving enable me to be a strong voice for you. I live in Forest Lake, am single, with four children and six grandchildren. I have a B.S. in Business Administration. I have held many leadership positions, currently Washington County Board Chair, and several other board chairs. 1.) Explain the single accomplishment you take the most pride in from your current term. I have helped manage a considerable amount of growth in Washington County and District 1, delivering many projects such as Hardwood Creek Trail, Big Marine Park, County Road 8 in Hugo, County Road 2 (Broadway), County Road 83 overpass, senior housing in Hugo, Trailside-Forest Lake, northern government center and library-Forest Lake, park and ride and express bus service to Minneapolis and St. Paul. These projects have provided services closer to the people in this district. 2.) Washington County is projected to see a 55-percent growth in population by 2030. What needs to be done in the near future to address the challenges that growth will bring? I have experience in managing the growth in Washington County while improving our credit rating to triple A and providing core government services in a cost-effective manner. Providing services for an aging population such as transportation options. Managing the natural resources such as ground water will be a challenge. 3.) With the County Road 2 (Broadway Avenue) project wrapped up, what transportation issue most needs addressing in District 1? Highway 61, currently a state highway to be turned back to Washington County and Highway 97, a state highway needs improvements to handle the current and growth traffic. I sit on leadership positions such as TAB (Transportation Advisory Board) and CTIB (County Transit Improvement Board) to advocate for Improvements for District 1. 4.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. I would support increasing the hours at the public library and improvements in technology to increase e-books and faster access to information. Human services is where we spend the most taxpayers dollars. We need to become more flexible in delivering the services. The federal and state mandates give us very little flexibility in providing for these needs. In some cases we need to provide higher case management. And in some providing more self-directed options for those being served. I would advocate for federal and state laws being changed to provide for more flexibility. Manage by results instead of process.

Fran Miron, 58. Married 34 years to wife Mary Ann and have raised six children. A dairy/crop farmer. University of Minnesota (1976) and Forest Lake Area Senior High School (1972) graduate. Political/civic experience: Hugo mayor - 16 years; Hugo City Council - four years. Chair, Hugo Economic Development Authority; Chair, I35WE Coalition; Hugo Fire Relief Association; Forest Lake Community Scholarship Foundation Board; Minnesota Farm Bureau State Board; Minnesota 19th Judicial District Ethics Committee Past Member. Visit www.miron2012.org. 1.) Explain what specifically motivated you to run for office. I bring a fresh perspective to county government backed by 20 years of experience in local government. I understand the importance of providing quality services while maintaining fiscally conservative values. Expanding and retaining businesses, conserving open spaces, and planning for growth; particularly at a time of declining market values are areas of focus. I deeply care about the opportunities Washington County can provide the next generation. Our communities hold the key to success! 2.) Washington County is projected to see a 55-percent growth in population by 2030. What needs to be done in the near future to address the challenges that growth will bring? I will work closely with communities within District 1 to manage growth, where growth is desired. This expansion should be balanced with a focus on business retention and expansion while maintaining open space lands. I’ll bring a comprehensive approach that takes into consideration local governments, citizen input and needs for public infrastructure improvements. The county must take a leadership role in developing strategies to expand business opportunities and jobs with a focus on our people! 3.) With the County Road 2 (Broadway Avenue) project wrapped up, what transportation issue most needs addressing in District 1? A strategic plan must be developed and goals identified in which transportation is a key area of focus. Many of our county roads, bridges and trails, particularly in northern Washington County, need improvement and repair. Business retention and expansion typically follow infrastructure improvements which bring jobs. Reprioritization of current county spending must be made to support our current transportation system. As District 1’s representative, I will work to bring equitable transportation funding to our area. 4.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. Washington County has significantly cut funding for 4-H. I believe strongly in youth programs, such as the Youth Service Bureau and 4-H. Investing in our youth is good policy! Washington County has an opportunity to become engaged with local communities by supporting economic development. Growing businesses and creating jobs in the private sector is a significant change from current policy. Building retail and commercial market value in Washington County allows us to maintain a flat tax rate policy, with the potential of a decreasing tax rate. We’ve done it in Hugo and we can do it in Washington County!

DFL-Lindstrom

R-Forest Lake

Married 20 years to wife, Catherine, raising sons Christopher and John Jr. Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. I have worked in both the public and private sector. In the public sector, I worked in Social Services. Midway through my life, I returned to college and entered the scientific field as a product developer and inventor. I volunteer locally through my township and have an Adopt-A-Highway section we have managed for 11 years. 1.) Explain what specifically motivated you to run for office. Over a period of years, I have been asked to run for different offices and always said no. After being asked to run for this position, I spoke with family, friends and small business owners in the area. One thing became clear: people are upset about property taxes. The more I asked others, the more I was convinced to run. We need problem solvers at the legislature. I am a problem solver. 2.) Republicans say they balanced the state budget, while DFL’ers say it was through smoke and mirrors. What is your take on the state budget? Do you see the current model as being sustainable for future years? No, I don’t think it is sustainable. They are already borrowing money (tobacco fund) to help cover the debt. They also borrowed from the school fund ($2.4 billion) and now they are going around telling anyone who will listen that they have a $103 million “working surplus”. What they are not telling you is that they have $4.4 billion deficit which will magically appear after the election in the next legislative session. 3.) One issue all can agree on is the need to create jobs. What can be done at the state level to lower unemployment and foster business growth? Start with a good bonding bill. Our infrastructure is in dire need of repair. Roads, bridges, sewer and water system, public buildings need repair. With interest rates where they are now, it is cheap to bond right now. Include tax credits for hiring unemployed workers, job retraining, and more money for the Minnesota Investment Fund (small business) and Buy Minnesota should all be part of the creating jobs solution. 4.) Identify a concern specific to your district. What is your stance on it? Education is our children’s future. The legislature “borrowing” from the education fund with no real plan to pay it back jeopardizes that future. Schools will now have to borrow with interest to make up that revenue. The state is not going to pay that interest. The formula needs to be re-thoughtout. Why does one school district have a $937-per-pupil rate (Chisago Lakes) and another a $3,645 (Minneapolis)? There needs to be a more balanced formula. 5.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes at a state or local level; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. A.) Repeal the Homestead Credit (requires tax). Restoring the market value homestead credit would put $370 million back to taxpayers’ pockets to help the economy. B.) Lock-box the state budget reserves so it cannot be used to be handed out in good times as tax refunds, thereby not be available in bad times. Because the nature of biennium budgets, they tend to be a boom-and-bust roller coaster ride; having a reserve is important to stabilize the budget.

Wife, Colleen, two sons and one daughter. Occupation: Chief Warrant Officer, USAR (Retired 2011); teacher, head wrestling coach, Forest Lake High School (Retired 2007); MSHSL wrestling official, 2006-present; Minnesota State Representative, 2006-present. Political/civic experience: Currently serving as the Minnesota State Representative for Senate District 52A for three terms. Chief Warrant Officer, Military Intelligence, USAR, 25 years. Education: Bachelor of Science in Health & Physical Education-Bemidji State University, MA-St. Thomas University. 1.) Explain the single accomplishment you take the most pride in from your current term. Authored legislation that passed both the House, Senate, signed by the governor which aimed at giving hiring preference to veteran-owned small businesses. Authored legislation that extends eligibility for a market value exclusion benefit for the surviving spouse or approved family caretaker of certain disabled veterans. Supported legislation that turned a $6 billion budget deficit into a $1.2 billion budget surplus. 2.) Republicans say they balanced the state budget, while DFL’ers say it was through smoke and mirrors. What is your take on the state budget? Do you see the current model as being sustainable for future years? State revenues in the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 exceed projections – Minnesota took in an extra $145 million from July through September, 4 percent better than expected. Revenues for the current two-year budget cycle are now $444 million above expectations. Increased revenues signal that Minnesota’s economy is recovering. As the existing tax code is delivering better than expected revenues, budgetary focus at the State Capitol should remain on reining in unsustainable, unchecked spending. 3.) One issue all can agree on is the need to create jobs. What can be done at the state level to lower unemployment and foster business growth? The Tax Foundation last week released their 2013 edition of the State Business Tax Climate Index. Minnesota again ranked near the bottom in the nation for its business tax climate -- 45th out of 50 states. This is terrible news for a competitive economy and job creation. As we continue to see positive news in the state’s economic update we must continue support legislation that will encourage entrepreneurs to keep and grow jobs in Minnesota. 4.) Identify a concern specific to your district. What is your stance on it? Minnesota has a long history of excellent public and private schools. Providing adequate, fair funding has to be among the highest priorities. Local schools receive thousands less per student than schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Equity funding is essential to lower class size and hire the staff necessary. We must also build in reform so taxpayers are assured their dollars are used in the classroom and not squandered on excessive bureaucracy or programs with dubious merit. 5.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes at a state or local level; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. I will support legislation that promotes job growth and initiatives that help small businesses grow and succeed, which will in turn provide jobs and strengthen our local and state economy. The elimination of the statewide business property tax on our businesses will be one of the initiatives for the 2013 session along with the reduction in government spending. I will support legislation that will help keep higher education affordable and will promote K-12 education reform and equitable funding and pay back the education shift.


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voters guide

Challenger battles incumbents Anoka board chair seeks re-election for Columbus City Council seat Rhonda Sivarajah (I) Jeff Duraine (I)

I have been married to my wife, Colleen, for 22 years and lived here for 20. I have been with the Saint Paul Fire Department 26 years, currently an investigator in the arson unit. I have been a Columbus council member for six years, and a past park board member. 1.) Explain the single accomplishment you take the most pride in from your current term. I take pride in the fact I have worked hard to keep our city property taxes affordable. I support shared resource agreements with surrounding communities, thereby holding down costs. On city issues I strive to obtain input from others, gather the facts and analyze the issues before making a decision. 2.) Is it important for Columbus to build its commercial and industrial property base? If yes, what is the best way to foster that growth? Having a good commercial tax base is an important way to help support and maintain our five-acre minimum homesteads. Columbus needs to be competitive with the surrounding communities. We need to keep our property taxes low and city regulations reasonable. We have just passed a resolution offering business incentives to new and existing businesses in our commercial district. We need to continue promoting Columbus with its business-friendly atmosphere and desirable location. 3.) What is Columbus’ best option for future law enforcement and public safety coverage? Public safety is the primary responsibility of government. Fortunately, Columbus enjoys a relatively low crime rate. We are now under contract with Anoka County for a dedicated officer eight hours daily, seven days a week. The remaining 16 hours are provided by the Anoka County Sheriff’s county-wide patrol typically assigned in our area. This coverage appears to be meeting our citizens’ needs. We will continue to monitor our coverage and make adjustments as necessary. 4.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely would save taxpayer money or not require it. One important project that needs our attention is the redevelopment and improvements of the 97/35 interchange. We have had several meetings with Anoka County and MnDOT discussing available options and the timeframe involved. The uncertainty of the placement had hindered development and needs to be addressed. Another issue that has been a detriment to our commercial base is the program of fiscal disparities. This tax is assessed on local commercial businesses and is redistributed outside of our community. As a city we should lobby for a reduction or change in this unfair tax.

Denny Peterson (I)

Columbus business owner, 33 years. Columbus City Council, six years. Columbus Fall Fest organizer, six years. Columbus Economic Development Committee -- current liaison. Sunrise Watershed Committee, five years. Columbus Maintenance Building Committee/ Columbus Incorporation Committee -- 2006. Columbus resident, nine years. Married 44 years, five children, 10 grandchildren. 1.) Explain the single accomplishment you take the most pride in from your current term. Uniting Columbus citizens in city events. The September Fall Fest has attracted a larger crowd since adding the Car & Tractor Show. Holding the tax line. 2.) Is it important for Columbus to build its commercial and industrial property base? If yes, what is the best way to foster that growth? By presenting Columbus to potential business owners as being the great location it is. This can be accomplished through  appealing direct advertising. The city has already installed billboards along Interstate 35 to promote development of this land. The City Council is striving to be business-friendly to companies looking to open or relocate in our city. 3.) What is Columbus’ best option for future law enforcement and public safety coverage? The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office is doing a great job. Crime in Columbus is less frequent. The present program is working great. Keeping the current program, as long as it satisfies our community’s needs, saves money for Columbus residents. 4.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely would save taxpayer money or not require it. Improvement of the city image will cost minimal additional funding, while attracting businesses to the area. Columbus needs to become a “known” city. Many Minnesota residents don’t relate with the location or recognize  our city’s name. We are looking at the installation of attractive signs along roadways welcoming people to Columbus.

Glen Kothe Columbus resident, 25 years. Owner of Total Recall School for Dogs. Thirty-year veteran St. Paul police officer (retired). Past member, Columbus Planning Commission. Past member, St. Paul Mayors Responsive Services Task Force. Past member, School District 612 Budget Review Committee. Past treasurer, Harding High School PTA. 1.) Explain what specifically motivated you to run for office. Our current political situation throughout the United States government is out of touch because of voter complacency. There needs to be more direct involvement and it has to start somewhere. 2.) Is it important for Columbus to build its commercial and industrial property base? If yes, what is the best way to foster that growth? Yes, by establishing a “business-friendly” environment. Columbus has a unique situation, in that its business district is next to a major freeway (I-35) and on the eastern edge of the city limits, away from most of the residential areas. An axiom of business is “Location, location, location.” Columbus is the perfect place. Working with businesses to bring in jobs and increase the tax base is beneficial to both the city and the business. 3.) What is Columbus’ best option for future law enforcement and public safety coverage? Currently the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office provides coverage for Columbus. We pay extra for a full-time deputy. As a retired police officer, I know how expensive it can be to have your own agency. There are only 3,900 residents of Columbus, thus establishing its own police force would be costprohibitive. If increasing law enforcement is necessary it would be easier to pay for more deputies around the clock. They already have the personnel and equipment. 5.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely would save taxpayer money or not require it. The only projects or policies I support are those necessary for safety and betterment of the citizens. Establishing a sheriff’s substation would require tax dollars and at the same time save tax dollars, not only for Columbus but Anoka County. Having the substation would save fuel costs, travel and response time. Also, we still have several dirt roads in Columbus. They are hard to maintain and should be surfaced, but only if the residents there want it. Many like the rural atmosphere in parts of Columbus. Surfacing these roads would require tax dollars, but be more beneficial to the residents.

Facts About Elections The first official presidential election in the United States took place in 1789 with George Washington becoming the first president. However, only 10 of the 13 states participated in the election, as New York had chosen no electors, and North Carolina and Rhode Island had not yet ratified the Constitution. http://facts.randomhistory.com/2008/10/20_election.html

Chair, Anoka County Board of Commissioners. Married 22 years to Ran, two children, grades 10 and 12. Former small business owner. Lino Lakes resident since 1996. Born and raised in Cambridge. B.A. from St. Cloud State University. Board of Directors, Greater MSP; member of Quad Area and Metro North Chambers of Commerce; Appointed to Minnesota Commission Serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Member of Eagle Brook Church. 1.) Explain the single accomplishment you take the most pride in from your current term. I am proud to have kept my promises to taxpayers by implementing the first reduction in the county levy in over 30 years while maintaining services; initiating efficiencies through the use of technology and “lean” business processes saving time and money; making county government more accessible and

transparent to citizens through online services and county board meetings in the community; and addressing our infrastructure needs with the largest road construction and road rehabilitation season ever. 2.) Anoka County cut its property tax levy by 7 percent for 2012 and a further cut is proposed as part of next year’s budget. In a time when most governments are stretching each dollar to make do, do you feel these cuts can be afforded while still providing adequate services? Yes. These reductions did not come at the expense of our ability to serve the taxpayer. They were accomplished by focusing on needs versus wants; implementing efficiencies in service delivery and work processes through the use of technology; improved maintenance of our facilities bringing down our per-square-foot costs; and implementation of a voluntary separation program saving $1.5 million annually in salary and benefits through restructuring and hiring replacements at a lower pay rate. 3.) What is the condition of the county transit system in District 6? What improvements would you advocate? The Metropolitan Council contracts with Anoka County to provide transit link (dial-aride) services throughout the county so that riders can go anywhere in the metro area. In or-

der for transit to be successful, the ridership has to be there in order to justify the expense. I will advocate for bus routes that have good ridership, but will not lend support to those routes where ridership is not sufficient. 4.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. I am supportive of a new interchange at I-35 and County Road 23 (Lake Drive) and Highway 97 in order to address the growing safety concerns and congestion issues along with the anticipated increases in traffic. This is a long-term project that will require federal, state and local resources. I will work with legislators to identify opportunities for streamlining the wetland and water permitting process for transportation projects with a single-point of issuance system for state wetland and water permits relative to transportation projects. Our current system requires multiple permits and fees. This would save time and money.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012 – Forest Lake Times – Page

www.forestlaketimes.com

5A

voters guide

Ballots to be loaded with options in City of Wyoming Alice Pickering Wyoming Reporter Wyoming elects a mayor during the 2012 general election. Two candidates are running for the two-year office. Eric Peterson is the incumbent, running for his second term. Raymond VinZant is running for the

Eric Peterson (I)

Peterson has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Mankato State University, has worked as a chef, managed and owned bakeries. “In 1990, with the escalation of tensions in the Middle East, I left the food service and joined the U.S. Army, where I attended the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey, learning Russian and becoming an interrogator for military intelligence.” After service, he began working with Luther Auto in internet sales, learning web design. In 2005, Peterson joined wife Karla as a broker in their real estate company. “In 2011, we closed our real estate company, and I began to build websites full time.” “I have the business and analytical skills as well as the creative instincts to come up with solutions. I believe that when I was elected mayor, I was elected to guide the city as a business, with a duty to ensure we provide our shareholders (the citizens) with the best return on our investment. Each decision we make as a council needs to consider not just the immediate impact, but how this decision will impact our residents five or ten years from now. I’ve always been a problem solver.” Referring to the proposal to include $500,000 in the 2013 Levy, (2) Peterson says, “I absolutely support this program. Streets in our city have been ignored for a long time, in some cases over 35 years. Failure to start replacing our failing infrastructure will cripple our city, lowering home values, and making it more difficult to attract businesses. “The use of a dedicated street fund as an alternative to assessing property owners is a smart move. Small contributions, about $125 on a $150K home through the tax levy are tax deductible. Assessments are not. It’s taken our city a long time to get into this mess, and it will take awhile to get out.” Other challenges; (3) “Streets are probably one of the biggest issues, but there is our aging city hall, and a (needed) new water tower. “These things cost money. We need to take advantage of the low interest rates, and turn these tough times to our advantage. We also need to work diligently to reduce the tax burden on our property owners by attracting new businesses to our city, and promote the expansion of existing businesses. “Our council has already made the extraordinary step of creating an incentive program policy through tax abatements. Our EDA is developing a website, www.wyomingeda.com, showcasing our city and promoting a

shop-local mentality and is turning to our businesses for input through business-retention-and-expansion survey to analyze how the city can best help our businesses grow.” (4) Finally, “not many mayors are willing to say that they’re proud of their councils, but I am. Over the last couple of years, our council has started to work with a mission– to improve life within our city in an affordable way, bring more businesses into our city, and reduce the tax burden on our property owners.” He concludes this mission can only be achieved through cooperation, discussion, and a commitment to work together for the betterment of our city. “It is my hope to continue the work we’ve started, as your mayor.”

mayoral position for the first time. Each was asked to provide (1) a brief biography, identifying skills/experiences which they believe will help lead as mayor. They also responded to two questions: (2) The Wyoming preliminary 2013 Levy includes $500,000 to provide revenue to pay off bonds sold to repair and reconstruction of city streets. Do

Council Race

In Wyoming, council members are elected atlarge for four-year terms. There are six candidates vying for the two open council seats. They are Kriss Hakala, Claire Luger, Stuart Stevermer, Dennis Williams, Linda Yeager and Joe Zerwas. They were asked the same questions as the mayoral candidates. Their responses are also listed alphabetically. The two council candidates receiving the most votes fill the two seats.

Kriss Hakala

Raymond VinZant

I love this community. I have a BA in political science, and an MA in special education. I am a parent, teacher, volunteer, and taxpayer, and understand the value in evaluating policies from a number of different angles. I am running not only because I would bring a new perspective to the city council, but also because I welcome the opportunity to serve the same community of which I am a product, by utilizing a common-sense approach and strong work ethic.” (2) “As the only alternative to strapping individual families with excessive and inefficient street assessments, I support exploring this option (Street Reconstruction Plan) as part of the 2013 levy, as well as other options such as working with Chisago County Economic Development Authority on implementing tax increment financing as a way of decreasing the short -term impact on owners of commercial properties with high assessed values. We can all agree that the streets of Wyoming need repair, some more than others. Inaction is not an option anymore; we need to make a decision and move forward with it. Any plan that we commit to needs to be inclusive of relevant research as well as community members’ and business owners’ input.” Luger comments that, (3) “Wyoming’s infrastructure has been neglected for too long. Quality roads ensure that families are able to travel safely by car and bike, and that businesses do not incur unnecessary wear and tear on their vehicles.” She identified several challenges. “Initially, we need to identify the multiple options and approaches that have the potential to be implemented. This requires research and dissemination of information to community members and business owners. “Residents need to understand where their tax dollars are spent, and how policies affect them. Any potential tax increases should be very carefully weighed both in terms of its potential benefits, but also in terms of their impact on residents. In particular, it is important that we have both a healthy business atmosphere and one in which we derive revenues necessary to help support the need of our community.”

Hakala writes (1) “I have been a human rights advocate for 25 years. In addition to that I have worked for labor unions for 24 years, with my skills being in constituent services. I am a problem-solver, a resource-finder, and have a solid ability to mobilize and energize people of the community. I am a strong leader with a great sense of justice and am able to solve problems and assist in compromise if necessary.” Hakala says, “I support the 2013 levy. The streets of Wyoming have been talked about for too many years. I want the least amount of hardship for the citizens of Wyoming. Instead of facing $7,000 to $15,000 assessments that would have to be paid off in just a few years, the citizens would pay between 10 and 20 dollars per month in taxes to cover the cost of their roads. This money is also tax deductible. Our families could ride their bikes down the streets without hurting their bodies and their pocketbooks.” (3) “Wyoming needs businesses in order to broaden the tax base for the citizens. The heart-ofthe-business is the people who work there. Wyoming needs to recognize that workers’ rights are human Stuart Stevermer rights. Wyoming needs a prevailing wage ordinance, Stevermer did not rea living wage ordinance, and a sense of goodwill spond. toward others. When our people are making money, Dennis Williams they are able to save for our children’s college, our future retirement, and are able to spend more money in the community.”

VinZant and wife, Elizabeth, have three daughters. (1) He is on the faculty at Anoka Technical College. VinZant is president of VinZant Construction Inc. and owner of Ray VinZant Plumbing and Heating, L.L.C. His civic and faith experiences include, “seven years as Councilor Advocate for the Homeless, Dorothy Day Center; volunteer at the Union Gospel Mission, board member Minnesota Higher Education Facilities Authority, board member of Light the Way Church.” (2) “I support a levy to fix the roads in Wyoming. I suggest paying for it by the increased tax revenue from Polaris and other new businesses when they begin paying taxes (in 2014). This, in addition to a small assessment to the residents of the roads being affected which could be placed on their taxes and paid over a 10year period.” (3) VinZant says a major challenge “which will need to be addressed is the need for a new fire substation along Highway 8. Without the substation the city will be reassigned a higher insurance designation and all insurance rates for the city will rise. I feel we should raise the money by fundraisers, by Claire Luger involving all of the residents of the city and the local businesses, who will be affected by the higher insurance rates.” Finally (4), “I don’t support raising taxes while residents of Wyoming are struggling to make ends meet because of the economy; living on social security, and loss of jobs. I support growing business in Wyoming to increase the tax-base” so the city has “the ability to pay for roads and essential city services. The main function of city government Luger says, (1) “I’ve is to provide, police, fire spent nearly my entire life protection and repair the here, and chose to raise roads.” my own family because

Williams writes, (1) “I am a former business owner, now retired. I know how to be fiscally responsible. I’m good at negotiations, and am inspired to help improve our city. I have worked with other cities in the past and learned how they make money without

you support this as part of the 2013 levy? If not, what suggestions would you support to finance the project? (3) Identify an important major challenge you believe the city faces in the next five to 10 years. How can the city best prepare for it? (4) Other brief comments. Their responses are listed in alphabetical order. raising taxes. I’m very passionate about our city and will make decisions based on our city’s needs.” (2) About the proposed 2013 levy, Williams says, “Yes I do agree, we have talked and talked about fixing the streets for years now. Now we have a plan in place thanks to Eric Peterson. Let’s go with it. I believe it to be the best plan.” (3) “First the street repairs needed, this will be on-going for years to come.” Tax revenue is needed. “People are leaving Wyoming, Forest Lake, Stacy, with gas at $4 a gallon it hurts when you work in Minneapolis or St. Paul. We need jobs here and business here in Wyoming. Here in Wyoming we need to start making our own money to help off-set the taxes. So in five to 10 years from now we will be in better financial state.” Finally, (4) “Every vote counts. I lost by three votes two years ago. Vote smart. Vote Dennis Williams, Wyoming City Council.”

to be affordable.” Yeager concludes, (4) “I believe that government works best with the consent of the governed. This is why the city needs to listen to the voice of the public, especially when considering major projects or policy changes. Therefore, I am the people’s representative to the city government, not the government’s representative to the people. I can be contacted any time with questions, comments, and concerns. I will make every effort to respond promptly and if I can’t answer your question, I will direct you to someone who can. “I also don’t believe in simply rubberstamping someone else’s decision. I research issues that come before council. I also ask questions during the council meetings because, after all, good ideas can withstand questioning. This way, I can thoroughly weigh the issues and separate good ideas from bad ones.”

Linda Yeager (I)

Joe Zerwas (I)

Yeager is an incumbent running for her second term as council member. (1) She is a chemist by training, who volunteers for Experiment with a Chemist and Friends of the Giese Memorial Library. A resident of Wyoming for 23 years, she says, “My longtime interest in community affairs led me to regularly attend Wyoming City Council meetings before making a successful run for a council seat in 2008. I am Council Liaison to the EDA, the Rush Line Corridor task force and the Wyoming Area Library Society. I am running for re-election so I can continue working to make city government accessible, accountable, and affordable.” Yeager says, (2) “I voted against the 18 percent increase in the preliminary maximum levy for two reasons. First, I object to an increase in the general fund (expenditures) at a time when our taxpayers are still dealing with the effects of a lingering recession. My second reason is the proposed $500,000 increase in our debt service to pay for potential road project bonds---our residents and business owners deserve to be presented with a completed plan that includes their input, and that not only identifies road projects but also how to pay for them, before the city raises the levy.” (3) “Like many cities, Wyoming faces the challenge of paying for road and infrastructure maintenance and improvements, while at the same time attracting and retaining businesses. City government must meet these challenges in such a way that folks can afford to live or own a business here. Wyoming made a good start by keeping the 2011 levy the same as 2010. I will continue to promote responsible spending and keeping taxes as low as possible because Wyoming needs

Zerwas is also an incumbent who has lived in Wyoming for 23 years, with wife Lynn. (1) He raised his family here. Zerwas has “worked with city government for most of my working life, has served as police patrolman and is retired from law enforcement as a police chief.” Zerwas has been a Wyoming council member for the past eight years. He says “I believe this gives me an edge on the other candidates – I have a clear vision on which direction the city is going.” He concludes, “I would consider it an honor to serve the citizens of Wyoming for the next four years.” (2) “I do not support the $500,000 that is included in the 2013 levy as it is now. I need to know what interest costs are, the length of time allowed to pay the bonds off, how many dollars the bond is for, and a lot of input from the taxpayers of Wyoming.” Comments on the challenges facing the city; (3) “there is a need for another water tower on the west side of 35E, the city hall is in need of major roof repair, the heating and cooling systems need replacement, the back-up generator is unreliable, and then we still have the streets to consider. The City Council is going to have to explore all options to prepare for these expenditures and choose the one that is the least painful for the taxpayers. The one option I will not consider is to assess home owners.” Finally, (4) considering the economy, it is a “challenge to serve on the council with all the issues coming up in the near future. I hope the City Council will exert positive leadership, deal with diverse issues, groups, and various personalities; and work with a team-oriented approach to city operations, initiatives and projects.”


Page 6A – Thursday, October 25, 2012 – Forest Lake Times

www.forestlaketimes.com

voters guide

Three supervisors, town clerk to be elected in Linwood Township Alice Pickering Linwood Reporter Three supervisors and town clerk are to be elected in Linwood Township on Nov. 6. For the first time in a long

Phil Osterhus (I) Phil Osterhus is running for Seat B as the incumbent. (1) He writes, “I have been on the Linwood Town Board for seven years, and in those seven years this board has stopped the rollercoaster budget that used to be standard operating procedure for the township levy. I have been responsible for the oversight of the fire department, and the road and bridge department that oversees the maintenance over the township gravel roads and for calling out the snow plows, (usually in the middle of the night) to get the roads passable so people can get to work.” In response to reported problems with roads, “I have responded personally on 80- to 90-percent of the calls to identify and resolve the problem. Resolving the problem does not mean doing what is requested, but it does mean that the responsible elected official has a personal picture of the complaint.” Osterhus says, (2) “Township government is responsible to the residents for any and all budget expenditures as opposed to city government, where the council decides where to spend the dollars available, and usually passes the costs directly to the adjoining property owners without input of the affected residents.” About the budget, Osterhus says, “I would like to see more funds available to do a better job on our roads, but in these difficult economic times it is not possible, so the supervisors have been committed over the past three years to live within a constant budget of $1,500,000.” He pointed out “Linwood’s levy rate is very near the bottom of all cities and towns in the sevencounty metro area. We are living within a budget and still providing excellent services.” Discussing challenges facing the township, (3) Osterhus referred to a fire department request for a halftime employee to handle the increasing paperwork. “Improvement in township parks has slowed because funding is down due to the lack of new homes being built, and as a result the Parks budget is down to the bone.” Each time a home is built in the township a $2,000 park dedication fee is paid to the parks fund.

change as a vital component to success. In areas of my technical expertise I confidently lead using a coaching method.” Outside areas of his expertise, he is willing to consult other experts. “My goal in all endeavors is to initiate growth and progress along with leaving a lasting impression that will continue.” (2) “The fundamental need for any township is to creatively do more with less. Improve visibility and ownership in all aspects of the township is the first step. By drawing on our joint strengths we will be able to discover creative solutions for our challenges.” (3) “Doing more with less as listed above is and will continue to be a challenge for Linwood as with most communities. The more people we can get involved in different aspects of the township the better off we will all be. Whether it is serving on a committee or volunteering to clean up one of our parks.”

Mike Parker (I)

Mike Parker is running for Seat C as an incumbent. (1) He and wife Debra have lived in the township for 19 years. Parker is a Navy and a National Guard veteran. He has been an employee of the State of Minnesota Department of Public Safety for 23 years. Parker was a firefighter in both Inver Grove Heights and more than 11 years on the Linwood Fire Department. He was first elected to the board in 2005 and is the current chairman. (2) One of the best things about township government is that the “people set the levy.” As for the town board, “We work for the people.” Board members share the work and power equally. “The township has a small town feeling;” and he would like to keep it that way. The “township is in good (financial) shape, the board works together, and committees work well.” The board has worked hard to reduce the budget where it can; as a result the levy has remained nearly level for the past five years. Departmental spending below budget has helped off-set increases in some services. The board really watches over the “people’s money.” As for challenges, (3) Parker mentioned the quarterly Minnesota Association of Townships meeting there are discussions Jeffrey Schipper where about being creative in cutting costs while continuing Jeffrey Schipper is the to provide services. In the challenger for Seat B. (1) current economy, the board Schipper is looking for “ways to pare and his costs,” possibly working young famwith neighboring commuily are relanities to share services, or tively recent seek quotes and bids jointly arrivals to to get better deals. the township. SchipCarol Searing per works in design engineering/manuCarol Searing is also facturing management. He has A.A. degrees in ma- running for Seat C. (1) chine tool technology and Searing and husband Tom engineering; drafting and retired to Linwood Towndesign from Dunwoody ship seven years ago and Institute, a BS degree in since then she has “atmanagement from Bellevue tended virtually every LinUniversity. He is currently wood Town Board meeting pursuing a management ex- in the past seven years, ecutive MBA at the Univer- and I have spent hundreds of hours volunteering for sity of Minnesota. Schipper says, “I am an various township activianalytical and methodical ties.” Learning all the time, individual that tends to weigh multiple perspec- she has spent many hours tives while I gather the studying the Minnesota facts. I also believe strongly Association of Townships’ in proactively involving Manual on Town Governthose affected most during ment and Minnesota laws

time, every incumbent has at least one challenger. Each supervisor candidate was asked to (1) provide a brief biography, and identify skills and experiences which would help in the officer of supervisor. Then (2) regulating township government. “I spent 15 years working as the personnel director for a major Twin Cities non-profit corporation much larger than our local government, in terms of both annual budget and number of staff.” As for the quality of Linwood Town government, Searing (2) praised the fire and rescue department, school forest, great parks and lakes. Township government “allows considerable citizen involvement in the form of volunteer committees.” It is “less expensive than city government, and citizens set the annual tax levy and provide input into government decisions.” Searing also says “a democracy requires informed citizens. Our local government needs to do a better job of informing the citizens and keeping them engaged. Also, if the office staff were cross-trained and empowered to answer questions, it would be much easier for citizens to get information. Our government needs to be more transparent, more accountable and more focused on detailed recording keeping.” As for challenges facing the township in the next 10 years, (3) residents cannot bear higher taxes and “our current levy should be able to cover Linwood’s needs.” Searing believes “We could cut expenses by doing more work ourselves and not hiring a lawyer so frequently.” Searing also says, “There are many little ways to save money that add up. I believe that with improved efficiency and organization we can reduce the tax levy.” Searing thinks the township’s personnel policies need updating and believes with her personnel background, she can help with this, as well as improving record-keeping, cross-training staff, and better organization overall. “I believe that our Township should develop a long-term plan for major expenditures, such as road improvements, purchase of fire and rescue vehicles.” Also, “while we cannot afford, nor do we need, a new town hall; we do have an urgent need to find or create a fire-proof place for our township records.”

foundation the township was built on and I don’t see much of the younger generation becoming as involved as our senior citizens. No one really wants to get involved unless they have a problem they might get on a board or join a group until their situation is solved. I don’t like seeing separate groups/volunteers arguing back and forth as I am seeing now. We are a community and should all work together.”

Ed Kramer

Ed Kramer, who is running for Seat E, writes, (1) “My wife and I raised five children and ran a business while residing in Linwood Township. Since 1968 this township has been our home and we plan to live out our lives here, including final resting at the Linwood Cemetery.” Kramer says, “My first experience with the township governance was at the annual meeting at Grange Hall in 1969...In my early days with the township, I was involved as the building inspector and weed inspector, and was on the Planning and Zoning Commission. I also helped install snow fences for Road and Bridge.” Very busy in the 1980s with a growing family and growing business, his participation was cut back. “Now that I am retired and my family is grown, I have time to give back to the township that I deeply care about. With my experience in business, family and life, I have learned to listen well. Using this experience I plan to listen to the issues and then research for the best possible answer, this may mean that I need to be persistent to find the root cause, so that the problems are being solved, not the symptoms.” Kramer says (2) “I do not believe in raising taxes, and the existing board has done a good job at holding the budget down. I do believe in lowering costs or adjusting costs where possible.” As for challenges, (3) “With closer involvement, I would see places to operate more efficiently to save money and then use the funds for what I feel are the three most important Mike Budde (I) township requirements: roads, fire and security. Budde, the incumbent in For instance, I am currently Seat E and wife Annabelle working on an ordinance have both to legally add restrictions raised their to registered sex offenders children in that are attempting to reLinwood. side in our township.” (1) Budde says “I have Mark Olson supervisor experience from 1996Mark Olson is the third 2005 then from 2008 until candidate for Seat E. (1) now.” He works for the Originally from New BrighTownship in a maintenance ton, he and his family lived capacity, for Parks, Road for awhile in North Branch. and Bridge, and Buildings. Looking for a good school He has also served as as- system, “Linwood moved sistant building inspector. to the top of our list. We He writes “I believe I have a found a location we both better insight of day-to-day loved and built a house. problems in Linwood.” By this time our second (2) “Township govern- child was almost two. ment is the grassroots Since then, we’ve both government, where people been very involved in all still have a say in how their their activities.  Volunteertaxes are spent and who ing whenever we can has spends (the money). At the become a full time job in annual meeting, the people itself but we both love it.” will have their voice in how Olson has a career has Linwood is run. I believe the focused around sales and town board is doing a good service, primarily in the job, with the residents’ best financial field. “I’ve coninterests at heart.” sulted with hundreds of Budde writes, (3) “the people and thousands of biggest challenge I foresee businesses with the priis the current volunteers mary goal of providing are elderly and not able to options and solutions to do as much. They are the financial problems.

identify some of the better qualities of Linwood township government. Identify improvements you would like to see in governance. (3) What important challenge faces the township in the next five to 10 years? “Being an attentive listener; always wanting to help people has been the driving force behind my work. “The township is a business and my expertise and experience in helping businesses financially prosper makes me a great fit for a position that requires being able to provide the most services for the least amount of taxpayer dollars. I know how to be frugal and maximize the return on other people’s money.” About the township he writes, (2) “I think the township supervisors have done a fantastic job with the revenue they have. There are very few businesses in the township, so the folks foot the majority of the levy each year. As costs continue to rise, department cuts will only be able to offset those costs for so long.”  To minimize or postpone an increase in taxes, Olson believes the township, “needs to spend more time talking about longer range planning,” to anticipate needs.  3) “As I said above, keeping costs in line with revenue going forward is going to continue getting more difficult unless we get an influx of business moving here or a massive wave of new housing, neither of which I see happening.” Also, “we need more community involvement in both the governance of the township and activities held within the community. People love to have a say in how things are done and how their money is spent. A township keeps that power with the people. We just need to get more people actively involved.”

Clerk Race

Clerk candidates were asked the same first two questions. However, they were asked a different third question: The position of Town Clerk requires managing many forms of information and requests from residents. List specific technical skills you possess to help you meet job requirements. Comment on software you know how to use. How do you use continuing education to improve these skills?

Judy Hanna (I) Judy Hanna is the incumbent clerk. (1) Residents since 1979, the Hannas have raised their five boys in Linwood. Hanna worships at Linwood Covenant Church. She is a long-time member of Linwood Helping Hand (27 years) and has been on the board of the Anoka County Historical Society for 15 years (33 years a member). Hanna is coordinator for Linwood Family Fun Day. She has volunteered for Linwood Seniors and Linwood Food Shelf since 1985. Since 1987 has worked as Senior Center Coordinator, which includes supervision of the transportation program. Hanna was first elected Town Clerk in 1998. “I would like to continue on as the clerk for another four-year term. I bring stability and commitment to the position, and I feel I do good work.” The better qualities of township government, (2) include a, “fire department which provides top-notch services, 10th year of contracting with the Anoka County Sher-

iff’s office for a township deputy. Important issues in the township are roads and safety. The township needs to continue upgrading these roads.” In the position of Clerk, Hanna believes “teamwork is important. There has to be a good working relationship between the clerk and office staff, clerk and town board, clerk and treasurer, clerk and auditor, clerk and county/ state elections, and many other people the clerk works with. I believe I have a good working relationship.” She referenced the clerk’s duties and responsibilities according to Minnesota Township Law 367.11 and direction from the board. (3) Hanna did not comment on this question.

Sandy Mischler Sandy Mischler is a challenger for the Town Clerk’s position. Residents of Linwood for 25 years, Mischler and her husband have raised their two sons here. (1) “We have been active in our community and Forest Lake School District since we moved here.” Mischler has worked “many years in the manufacturing field as a customer service representative, inventory coordinator and receptionist, along with a diverse experience in business as an office manager and owner of a small business for the past 25 years (Triple J’S Towing).” She says, “attending Township Board Meetings, along with 11 years working for the town hall, have given me a good sense and respect for the way our local government works.” Mischler (2) believes it is important to maintain and support “vital services in our community.” Improvements she would like to see include and which she would focus efforts on include “timely and accurate board meeting agendas and minutes; keeping the township web-site current and accurate; improving efficiency, along with assuring proper documentation of disbursements; and working within the established hours and parameters of the position.” Also “I intend to be more open and available to the citizens of Linwood. My focus (would be) making sure it runs like a government center is supposed to. I won’t forget I work for the people of Linwood, not the other way around.” Identifying technical skills (3) Mischler notes her experience with a wealth of programs. She says, “I possess excellent organizational and customer service skills and have completed college coursework on-and am proficient with--the Microsoft suite of computer programs and other computer operating systems and databases. “If elected I will immediately start the Anoka County course that is offered for new candidates. I am always interested in any class that will help me be better at my job.”


Thursday, October 25, 2012 – Forest Lake Times – Page

www.forestlaketimes.com

7A

voters guide

Former State Senator Olseen seeks Barrett’s House seat Bob Barrett (I) R-Lindstrom

I was elected in 2010 as the state representative for Chisago County running for office because of the chronic and increasing budget deficits our state faced. My background as an analyst (numbers guy) has served me well in St. Paul. My wife, Judi, is a special education teacher. I have two daughters, one in college, one a high school senior. I’m a student mentor and youth sports official and have worked locally for almost 20 years. 1.) Explain the single accomplishment you take the most pride in from your current term. There were many accomplishments. The single biggest being eliminating the $6.2 billion budget deficit we inherited and replacing it with a surplus. Also important was increasing school funding by $100 per student while managing this massive deficit. We also eliminated a mandate which forced schools to use 2 percent of their budget on staff development. This gave schools $500,000 more to save teaching jobs (6-8 per district). Substantially re-

ducing Chisago County’s unemployment rate was extremely important. 2.) Republicans say they balanced the state budget, while DFL’ers say it was through smoke and mirrors. What is your take on the state budget? Do you see the current model as being sustainable for future years? Democrats controlled the legislature from 2007 to 2010. A large surplus was squandered in 2007 resulting in chronic deficits. School funding was flat. They raided Local Government Aid and the Market Value Homestead Credit and shifted $2 billion from K-12 education. My opponent repealed Green Acres. A $6.2 billion deficit ensued. Given this, the ballooning $16T national debt, and the fact that the Dayton administration announces surpluses, Democratic candidates have a credibility deficit regarding balanced budgets. 3.) One issue all can agree on is the need to create jobs. What can be done at the state level to lower unemployment and foster business growth? Chisago County’s unemployment rate in early 2010 exceeded 12 percent. August 2012 unemployment is 5.8 percent, a significant decrease. More than 1,000 Chisago County residents are working today than before the last election. Comparatively, the nation’s unemployment had been above 8 percent for 43 consecutive months. Resisting Gov. Dayton’s tax increases while eliminating the deficit helped boost business confidence in Minnesota. Cutting red tape and reducing regulations will allow Minnesota to compete with other states and na-

tions. 4.) Identify a concern specific to your district. What is your stance on it? A large concern is school funding. Local districts receive much less funding (about $8,000/ student) than districts such as Minneapolis and St. Paul, who receive over $12,000 per student. Senator Nienow and I authored a bill that would increase the funding for Minnesota’s low-funded districts. No previous local state rep/senator had ever authored a bill like this. Another concern is taxes. My border-zone bill, incentivizing lower taxed Wisconsin companies to move here, was vetoed by Dayton. 5.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes at a state or local level; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. One bill requiring initial taxpayer money relates to a pilot project that would study the impact that vision therapy would have on reducing the number of special education students in Minnesota. The project would cost around $100,000 but could help kids learn to their potential and reduce the need for special services saving Minnesota taxpayers money. Implementing an audit of HMOs in Minnesota could potentially save taxpayers billions. UCare, the smallest HMO, gave $40 million back to the state in 2011 because of a favorable economic climate. This same climate didn’t produce any refunds by the three much larger HMOs.

Anoka’s Mike Starr set to challenge Michelle Benson in Senate District 31 Mike Starr DFL-Anoka

St. Francis graduate, five years U.S. Air Force, security police dog handler, attended Minot State University with a B.S. in criminal justice. After college, hired as a North Dakota state parole/probation Officer. Five years later hired full-time active duty North Dakota Army National Guard, retired 1998. Commissioned 2nd Lt. from Officers Candidate School while in college. Former school board member in ISD 15, currently substitute teacher there. Married to Sue for 28 years, three boys. 1.) Explain what specifically motivated you to run for office. Dysfunctional state government. A state shutdown should never happen, which put over 19,000 employees out of work. We need a new Fair Share business tax code so Minnesota business owners can compete on the national level and a new Fair Share income tax code. Women’s rights for equal pay for equal

work, and stronger domestic abuse laws for women and kids. I care about our state’s future and citizens, time to get involved. 2.) Republicans say they balanced the state budget, while DFL’ers say it was through smoke and mirrors. What is your take on the state budget? Do you see the current model as being sustainable for future years? We cannot balance our state budget by not having honest and open discussions. We are heading over a financial cliff because elected officials are not able to compromise. We do not have a balanced budget and we do not have a surplus! The state owes our school districts over $2.4 billion and they took money from future payments to the tobacco fund. Spending cuts and Internet sales tax are needed to help balance the budget. 3.) One issue all can agree on is the need to create jobs. What can be done at the state level to lower unemployment and foster business growth? A new Minnesota Business Tax Code on the state and national level so our business owners can compete in the world economy. My seven-point plan drops the national income tax down to 2225 percent, allows the $1.4 trillion dollars in overseas accounts to be returned for reinvestments. Returned dollars to be taxed at 13-15 percent with a one-time, 9-12-month timeframe to bring the funds back into your business. Establish permanent taxes so busi-

ness owners can project cost out. 4.) Identify a concern specific to your district. What is your stance on it? Jobs, jobs and more jobs. I have seen many empty homes and while door-knocking neighbors have told me about foreclosed homes. I want to do all I can to help business owners as long as they put the tax savings back to hire more employees. I want people to earn as much as they can, yet employees have now become just an employee number. When do we start paying employees a quality-of-life living wage? 5.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes at a state or local level; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. 1.) Infrastructure projects for roads, bridges and government buildings. Government and private businesses provide jobs, which put money back into the local economy. 2.) Allow more local control. Washington DC and the state do not have to dictate what to do and how to do it. Give them the standards and let them pick which road to take. I leave you with a question to think about, “What do you want from your government, and how much are you willing to pay for it?” Open and honest discussions are needed. “Because I care, I will represent the people, not special interest groups!”

Rick Olseen

DFL-Sunrise Twp.

I am a 28-year resident of Sunrise Township, where my wife Bambi and I raised our two daughters. When my daughters began school in North Branch, I got involved in a task force for building facilities and was a founding member of the PTO. I then ran and served 10 years on the school board. From there I served four years as a Chisago County commissioner and four years in the Minnesota State Senate. 1.) Explain what specifically motivated you to run for office. I decided to run for office when I saw my opponent vote to take away the Homestead Tax Credit. The repeal of the Homestead Credit hit Chisago County homeowners and business harder than anywhere else in the state and I couldn’t believe our representative would vote for it. Areas like ours that have low tax capacity present unique challenges and I believe my experiences have prepared me to be a strong advocate on

these issues! 2.) Republicans say they balanced the state budget, while DFL’ers say it was through smoke and mirrors. What is your take on the state budget? Do you see the current model as being sustainable for future years? The Republicans balanced the budget by borrowing. For example, they borrowed 747 million against future tobacco settlement funds, which means in the year 2032 we will still be paying for the operations on the state today! I think we have seen a cycle of shortfalls, and do not believe the current model will be sustainable for future years. 3.) One issue all can agree on is the need to create jobs. What can be done at the state level to lower unemployment and foster business growth? Traveling the state as a truck driver, I see many businesses ready to grow. As a legislator I will work to facilitate job growth and industry opportunities in our county. I also I believe we need continuing education opportunities, whether vocational school or four-year, to produce a trained workforce that can jump in when businesses expand. I have supported programs like the Angel Investor that fosters creation of new products and leaders at our universities. 4.) Identify a concern specific to your district. What is your stance on it? North Branch Schools are in their third year of four-day school weeks. I’m concerned about

school districts in areas like ours with low tax capacity that makes it hard to pass operating and building referendums, with a larger burden falling on property taxes than in districts with high capacity. I want to work with SEE (Schools for Equity in Education) to equalize operating levies and ensure our students get the education they deserve! 5.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes at a state or local level; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. Restoring the Homestead Tax Credit will lower property taxes for homeowners, farmers and businesses in our area. Equalizing operating levies for our schools will require state taxpayer money. Prior to Gov. Ventura, the perpupil funding formula was a combination of state and local aid. Ventura and the legislature voted to take over the formula without a funding stream for it, and schools have been behind the eight-ball ever since (especially in areas with low tax capacity). Equalizing levies would allow our communities to support our youth while alleviating the impact on homeowners and property taxpayers.

Hackbarth seeks ninth term Tom Hackbarth (I) R-Cedar

Married, three children. Retired from auto parts sales, former business owner, volunteer firefighter. Resident of the City of Oak Grove since 1978. Serving my eighth term as State Representative. 1.) Explain the single accomplishment you take the most pride in from your current term. I was the chief author of the game and fish bill in the 2012 legislative session. Working that bill through the entire process and having it signed by the governor was a huge success and accomplishment for me. There were two articles, and over 100 sections contained in the bill. In my opinion, the best part of the bill was reducing the price of youth hunting and fishing licences, and other items, to encourage youth to be involved in outdoor fun. 2.) Republicans say they balanced the state budget, while DFL’ers say it was through smoke and mirrors. What is your

take on the state budget? Do you see the current model as being sustainable for future years? The Republicans did a great job of balancing the budget while facing a huge deficit. However, we absolutely need to cut (reduce spending) more than we ever have before. We need to backup and start cutting the base spending, and not just reducing the spending increases. 3.) One issue all can agree on is the need to create jobs. What can be done at the state level to lower unemployment and foster business growth? Eliminating the burdensome and expensive over-regulation that keeps business from expanding and locating in Minnesota. Last legislative session we got a good start on getting rid of some of these issues, but a lot more remains to be done. 4.) Identify a concern specific to your district. What is your stance on it? Families are having a hard time making their mortgage payments, paying their utility bills, putting food on the table, and buying gas for the car to get to work.

As I go door to door campaigning this year, I see a huge number of empty homes that have been foreclosed. We need to do what we can to help keep businesses, and attract new businesses with good paying jobs to boost our economy. 5.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes at a state or local level; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. One project that I have supported for many years that would require state bonding dollars is the Oliver Kelley Farm Visitors Center. Improvements to this facility is vital to allow tours for elementary school children to learn about how, and where, our farming history and economy came from. I have always been a major supporter to allow “racinos” in Minnesota at our two horse racing tracks. I will continue to work on Racino legislation.

Facts About Elections • In the 1984 presidential election, Ronald Reagan received both the highest number of popular votes (54,455,075) and the highest number of electoral votes (525) in the history ahave yet to be surpassed by another presidential candidate. • The oldest presidential candidate to be elected was Ronald Reagan at age 69, while the youngest candidate to be elected was John F. Kennedy at age 43.


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Nienow, Noordegraaf face off in Senate District 32 Sean Nienow (I) R-Cambridge

Current state senator. Also served in the Minnesota Senate from 20032006. Lifelong resident of the area, hometown of Stacy. I currently reside in Cambridge with my wife, daughters and son. Currently serving on these committees: Finance (vice-chairman), K-1 Education, Health & Human Services, Agriculture, Government Reform & Redesign sub-committee (chairman). 1.) Explain the single accomplishment you take the most pride in from your current term. Obviously, keeping Gov. Dayton from raising job killing taxes $6 billion was an accomplishment, but from a policy standpoint I’d highlight

Bunn from page 1 ing water. 2.) Republicans say they balanced the state budget, while DFL’ers say it was through smoke and mirrors. What is your take on the state budget? Do you see the current model as being sustainable for future years? When the legislature reconvenes in January to work on the 2013/2014 biennial budget, it will face a deficit of $4.5 billion: $1.1B projected in the February 2012 forecast, $1B ignored inflation on the expenditure side, plus $2.4B still owed Minnesota schools. Yes, the current approach is unsustainable, both because it relies on gimmicks and borrowing, and because it fails to address a structural deficit problem due to the aging of the state’s population. 3.) One issue all can agree on is the need to create jobs. What can be done at the state level to lower unemployment and foster business growth? I am committed to creating a tax climate

Housley from page 1 businesses to create more jobs. I will propose new solutions to our education concerns and health care issues. I will be very careful with your money and I will hold government accountable. 2.) Republicans say they balanced the state budget, while DFL’ers say it was through smoke and mirrors. What is your take on the state budget? Do you see the current model as being sustainable for future years? Republicans took a $6.8 billion dollar deficit and turned it into a $1.2 billion dollar surplus. They filled empty reserves. A tax and spend budget in shambles was left to the legislature by a DFL majority and my opponent before she was voted out in 2010. The trend of always borrowing from the schools needs to stop. I support a budget model that looks at reforms to streamline and make government more efficient. 3.) One issue all can agree on is the need to create jobs. What can be done at the state level to lower

my bipartisan efforts for transparency and accountability in our $4 billion per year Medicaid program. I was able to implement true independent audits of the program to reduce fraud and abuse. That has already helped return over $100 million taxpayer dollars – even before the first audit has been done! That’s good government in action! 2.) Republicans say they balanced the state budget, while DFL’ers say it was through smoke and mirrors. What is your take on the state budget? Do you see the current model as being sustainable for future years? Governor Dayton’s own department reports show a surplus in the current budget. We placed nearly $1 billion cash in the bank for reserves. If there was no current surplus, it would not be possible to put $1 billion cash in the bank! Despite the rhetoric, every quarter we are taking in more revenue than projected and spending less. This has helped to reduce next year’s projected budget deficit by 75 percent, because of responsible budget reforms. 3.) One issue all can agree on is the need to create jobs. What can be done at the state level to

lower unemployment and foster business growth? A perfect example of the kind of program that works is JOBZ. That passed by one single vote when I first served–without me in office the program wouldn’t exist! To highlight recent successes locally, Polaris (who only came here because of JOBZ) just used JOBZ incentives to expand and will create 300 new jobs in Wyoming. That’s real jobs, and without me in office it never would have happened. 4.) Identify a concern specific to your district. What is your stance on it? K-12 funding equity is a significant concern locally. The state formula is designed to disproportionately benefit certain metro districts. That needs to change. Last year I authored legislation to start addressing that, and we also phased out an ineffective $100 million funding program to allow flexibility in the next budget to try to look at reasonable and equitable funding reforms. 5.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes at a state or local level; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. K-12 funding equity re-

that attracts and grows jobs. I support reducing the state industrial and commercial property tax and corporate tax. Such reductions should be included in a comprehensive modernization of our tax system to provide more stability as the population ages. We also need to make appropriate infrastructure, R&D, and higher education investments, and to lower the rate of growth in health care costs, a major constraint on business. 4.) Identify a concern specific to your district. What is your stance on it? Protection of the St. Croix River and other water resources. We live here, in Minnesota, and along the St. Croix River, for a reason – beautiful lakes and rivers, farm vistas, and abundant outdoor recreation. We must work cooperatively to protect our natural resources. I will work closely with our non-profit organizations, our federal, state and local officials, and the citizens of our district to protect our water resources from pollution and invasive species.

5.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes at a state or local level; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. Paying back the school shift. Without additional revenues, paying back the $2.4 billion owed our schools would require that all other portions of the state budget experience substantial cuts. Restoration of full K-12 funding requires slowing the growth in health and human services spending and modernizing the state tax system (See reports: Budget Trends Study Commission, and Governor Pawlenty’s 21st Century Tax Reform Commission). Government redesign to reduce costs. Whether streamlining state agencies, or assisting local government in efforts to form shared services agreements, redesigning government to improve transparency, efficiency and accountability will be a key focus of my efforts.

unemployment and foster business growth? We need to get Minnesotans back to work and help our businesses grow and create jobs. We need to keep our businesses here and enact policies that encourage them to create more jobs. Policies such as lowering high fees, taxes and complicated regulations. The only way a business can expand is if they have more capital. If the government consistently dips into the bottom line of local businesses, there is nothing left for expansion, growth, or hiring. 4.) Identify a concern specific to your district. What is your stance on it? Besides jobs, the biggest concerns are education and health care. I’m the daughter of two public school teachers and I am a proponent of improving and reforming education. Moving 17 times in 21 years with four school age children, I became an expert at researching schools and districts. I have experience with what works. I will listen to the parents, students, teachers and school administrators to

address their needs and concerns, as education is a top priority. 5.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes at a state or local level; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. Taxpayer dollars should be used for change in the classrooms. I’ve heard from the students in Mrs. StennessRogness’s [Forest Lake High School] class and others – education needs to be modernized and we need more technology in our schools. (The kids say they need faster wi-fi and a system that doesn’t crash and lose homework files.) Also, we need to focus on our aging baby boomer generation by addressing both housing and insurance needs. Opening our health care system to competition, increasing consumerbased decision-making in the process and providing greater incentives for those who purchase longterm care insurance are a few tax savings approaches with promise.

form possibly will require some additional spending, but previous answer shows it’s not always about finding “more” money. Often ineffective spending can be identified and eliminated so money can be spent in better ways. My Medicaid transparency and reform efforts last session yielded significant results, but there is much work to be done still. Estimates are as much as 20 percent of that $4 billion program could be lost to waste fraud and abuse. Nearly a billion taxpayer dollars potentially getting wasted. I spent two years making great progress there, and saved taxpayers $100 million in the process.

Jeske Noordegraaf DFL-North Branch

My name is Jeske (pronounced Yes-ka) Noordergraaf and I am an equine veterinarian. I moved to Minnesota 21 years ago and started my business, Sunrise Equine Veterinary Services, in 1995. I am also a Sunrise Township Supervisor and currently chair of the board. I am involved in my church, which is Immanuel Lutheran Church of Almelund, and am on the or-

ganizing committee for the Chisago County Relay for Life. I am married and have a teenage son. 1.) Explain what specifically motivated you to run for office. My interest in running is based on issues I hear when I am out on farm calls. Running a small business takes the ability to negotiate, compromise and look at the issues from all the sides. Watching the legislature last year was very frustrating as there was little bipartisanship and the loss of the Homestead Credit affected almost all homeowners, renters and business owners detrimentally. We need someone who will look out for our interests. 2.) Republicans say they balanced the state budget, while DFL’ers say it was through smoke and mirrors. What is your take on the state budget? Do you see the current model as being sustainable for future years? It is hard to say that there is a surplus when there are bills (the school shift) that have not been paid. The economic forecast is that the legislature will face a $4.5 billion budget shortfall on Jan. 1, 2013. Either revenue needs to increase or expenses need to decrease to balance the budget. I do not think that the middle class needs to pay more taxes but we need to find other sources of income and continue to make government more efficient. 3.) One issue all can agree on is the need to create jobs. What can be done at the state level to lower unemployment and foster business growth? This is a good time to pass a strategic bonding

bill that will maximize job creation in Minnesota as interest rates are low and residents are looking for work. I wholeheartedly support efforts to reduce state government spending and streamline services, but not through cutting the workforce. Being a small business owner, I support helping new businesses get started and supporting those that already exist. 4.) Identify a concern specific to your district. What is your stance on it? Education is a big concern to this district as all our schools are financially stressed and North Branch has even had to go to a four-day school week to save funds. All children deserve an excellent education and Minnesota is known for this. We need to redo the school formula to help the districts with a lower property tax base so we continue to have a welleducated work force. 5.) Explain your support for two projects or policy changes at a state or local level; one likely requiring taxpayer money and one that likely saves taxpayer money or does not require it. Education funding would be the project that requires taxpayer money that I would support. Car insurance rates are partially based on credit scores. When someone loses their house due to unemployment and being upside down in valuation, this causes their credit score to decrease, increasing their insurance rates. This needs to be investigated as it could help save taxpayers money.

Forest Lake Times Voters Guide  

Forest Lake Times Voters Guide

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