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Get to know the Minnesota House District 57B candidates

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JEFF WILFAHRT

DFL

City of residence Rosemount

How long in the district 28 years

Immediate family Wife and two remaining children

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Occupation Inspection and measurement software development, self

employed

Why are you running for office?

I adhere to a more positive opinion of government and that is why I agreed to enter the race. The GOP having failed to achieve a truly balanced state budget has opted to place two amendments on the ballot creating a socially divisive atmosphere. In short this is not the governance I expect in a state with a reputation for innovative and progress oriented politics garnered under predominantly previous Republican administrations. If smaller government and austerity are the goal, then the GOP must argue and persuade on a case by case basis. The Minnesota government was built in this way, program by program, and if the agenda for smaller government is to prevail it must be disassembled this way. Having waited 38 years for majorities a truly conservative approach would have been a measured, prudent and judicious use of legislation, they would own this year's election statewide. Instead they acted in an imprudent manner, failing to compromise, shut down the government, and created social unrest.

In summary I believe in Minnesota, its citizens and its traditional form of governance.

What skills or experiences do you have that you believe will help you be an effective legislator?

My education is science based. As such my decisions are largely data driven. Since the GOP has failed to present data that confirms the argument that reduced taxation and less regulation increases employment it is clear that this is not the economic remedy touted. Bring me the data to support this contention from a dozen or more businesses and I'll reconsider my position. We pay professionals in the area of finance, education, environment and taxation yet we fail to heed their advice. It is time to exploit the expertise we pay for with tax dollars.

What would your top priority be as a member of the Minnesota Legislature? How do you propose to address it?

Jobs. The economic remedy lies in livable wages. I believe government has a role, via bonding, to re-enforce the demand side of the supply-demand equation. Infrastructure is past due for maintenance, school funding has been eroding with budget shifting, and business is off due to lack of demand. A revived economy with strong wages will bring businesses clients and stability to education funding and brighten the prospects for all Minnesotans. Where reasonable regulation can be streamlined legislatively it should be done.

What are your priorities when it comes to the state's budget? Are there areas where you see room or need for cuts? Areas you think should not be cut?

The cost of state government relative to the Gross State Product (GSP) is reasonably constant just above 15 percent. The budget deficit is the result of over a decade of shrinking tax revenue. Meanwhile the rate of increase for the net personal income of all Minnesotans has outpaced the rate of both the cost of government and GSP. In short, there exists money in the Minnesota economy that is not being taxed to resolve the budget shortfall. That money is not in the hands of the lower and middle class.

To those who argue for smaller government I suggest they appear before the pertinent committee and argue specific cuts to specific programs just as those who fought for those programs once did to gain funding. Our government exists today as it is because some faction of our society fought for these issues. Close the loopholes one at a time and reduce program costs one at a time in the same fashion they were put in place or accept the fact that need was presented and prevailed legislatively for the betterment of Minnesota.

ANNA WILLS

GOP

City of residence Apple Valley

How long in the district Three years

Immediate family Husband, Rob

Occupation Minnesota Senate legislative staff

Why are you running for office?

I am running for office because I care about the future of our community and our state. I want to be a part of the decision-making that affects Minnesota families and businesses by working on legislation that will empower people and businesses to truly thrive. This is accomplished through free market enterprise and by reducing taxes and regulations so families can invest their money in our economy how they see fit, and businesses can have the freedom to expand and add more jobs.

What skills or experiences do you have that you believe will help you be an effective legislator?

I have the unique experience of working in the legislature and understand how to navigate the complicated process of making a bill into law. I've been out in the community meeting the residents of our district to hear their concerns. Listening to constituents is one of the most important qualifications a legislator can possess, and something I am committed to maintaining if elected into office. I attended Northwestern College. I served in many volunteer leadership positions; as a volunteer coordinator, a campaign office manager, and as the Burnsville City Chair for the 2008 Presidential Campaign. I worked in my parents' successful small business, held management positions in the restaurant industry, and worked as a Personal Care Attendant with children and adults with special needs.

What would your top priority be as a member of the Minnesota Legislature? How do you propose to address it?

My top priority is improving our economy and growing jobs. Government does not create jobs. It is government's responsibility to create a healthy environment for job growth by reducing tax and regulatory burdens that are currently stifling Minnesota businesses. As I talk to business owners, particularly in the manufacturing industry, they have shared that the permitting process can take upwards of two years to get the permits necessary to build or expand. We need critical tax reform and reductions to make Minnesota more competitive. We also need to eliminate burdensome regulations that make it difficult for businesses to grow and succeed. Because of my strong stance on economic and job growth issues, I am pleased to be endorsed by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business.

What are your priorities when it comes to the state's budget? Are there areas where you see room or need for cuts? Areas you think should not be cut?

Minnesota families are already stretched to the limit and pay enough of their hard-earned income in taxes. Many government programs are on auto-pilot to spend more than we take in, we must reform government to be more efficient and effective to provide better services at lower costs. I will fight for lower taxes and fiscal responsibility in state spending by closely examining our government programs to eliminate fraud, abuse and duplicative services because government needs to live within its means. Our reserves are full, and Minnesota Management and Budget is projecting a $2 billion increase in state revenues in the next biennium; with this in mind, we need to prioritize wisely to balance the state budget-just like Minnesota families do with their household budgets.

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