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Get to know the Minnesota Senate District 57 candidates

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GREG CLAUSEN

DFL

City of residence Apple Valley

How long in the district 29 years

Immediate family Wife, Bobbie; three adult children Steve, Beth and Julie; three grandsons

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Occupation Writing and administering grants for Independent School District 196

Why are you running for office?

I would like the opportunity to continue serving my community. My message is "Greg Clausen: A life of service and dedication." I have always held the belief as an educator that my first responsibility was to serve others. My entire life as an educator and community member has been devoted to building a better tomorrow for future generations of Minnesotans. Moving this vision to the Minnesota Senate is a natural continuation of my life's work. I believe that I can make a difference in the lives of Minnesotans and the future of our community and state.

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

My experience as an educator and community involvement will bring leadership, consensus building, public service, sense of community, responsibility and a strong work ethic to the Minnesota Senate. I have served on or directed numerous committees, boards, and projects within the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public Schools, Minnesota State High School League, the University of Minnesota College in the Schools Advisory Board and nonprofit groups. Establishing group norms and procedures, identifying goals, working within timelines and reaching productive and results-orientated outcomes through group consensus have been a major part of my professional and personal life.

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

I have three priorities: education, restoring public confidence in the legislative process and creating jobs.

Education is the infrastructure that drives the Minnesota economy and ultimately the quality of life for our citizens. Minnesota currently ranks 36th nationally for K-12 spending, a decline from 15th in the nation 10 years ago. Minnesota schools need equitable, predictable and sustainable funding and Minnesota students need affordable higher education opportunities. The school funding formula must take into account inflation and unfunded mandates for educational services. These mandates, dictated by state and federal governments, must include full funding.

Over the past several months I have had hundreds of conversations with voters on the needs of Minnesota families and communities. The reoccurring theme I have heard is the frustration over the inability of the legislature to work together to address key issues which affect the Minnesota quality of life. Restoring public confidence in the legislative process and elected officials is critical. Legislators need to develop a shared vision with the citizens of Minnesota and make that vision a reality to move Minnesota forward.

Getting Minnesota back to work requires a strong economic infrastructure. Business incentives that will keep jobs in Minnesota, provide training programs and hire veterans are priorities. Encouraging scientific innovation, research and development will evolve into new business opportunities that will create jobs for Minnesotans. The New Jobs Tax Credit, investing in infrastructure through bonding bills and the Minnesota Investment Fund are programs that will provide jobs and the means to support Minnesota families.

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?

Our state is potentially facing a $1.1 billion general fund deficit for the 2014-15 biennium. In addition, the state previously shifted $2.4 billion from the state education budget to balance the budget which needs to be repaid to Minnesota schools.

To address and reduce Minnesota's budget deficit, a balanced approach is needed through tax reform, managing budget spending, budget reductions and revenue enhancements. We must cut spending through prudent and prioritized budget reductions, identify cost-savings and efficiency measures to manage budget spending, study tax reforms and close tax loopholes.

PAT HALL

GOP

City of residence Apple Valley

How long in the district 20 years

Immediate family Wife, Debra; three daughters; four grandchildren

Occupation Pastor

Why are you running for office?

I wish to represent you in the Minnesota Senate because I believe we need common-sense solutions to secure a more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren.  Right now, our state and nation confront profound economic and fiscal challenges.  The price of food, gas, and energy are up, while incomes are down.  New job creation remains depressingly low while the unemployment rate continues to remain alarmingly high.  Everything that should be up is down and everything that should be down is up.  We need individuals who will use common-sense solutions - such as not spending more revenue than the state receives - to put Minnesota on track for a more prosperous future.

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

I know how good jobs are created because I worked in the private sector for many years.  Prior to becoming an ordained minister, I was employed in the insurance, banking, and printing industries.  I've seen firsthand the impact that state laws and regulations can have on the business community and its ability to create and sustain good-paying jobs.  I will use this experience at the legislature to support laws and policies that encourage and allow businesses to create jobs and grow the economy. 

 I know how to work constructively with those whose life experiences differ from mine.  I am the head pastor of a congregation of individuals who come from at-risk backgrounds.  I am proud to state that I have helped many of them overcome major life struggles and have watched them proceed to live productive, rewarding lives.  In the same vein, I will work with others at the legislature - regardless of background - to do what is right for Minnesota.

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

My top priority will be to improve the state's business and economic climate by passing a balanced budget that does not increase taxes on individuals, families, and businesses and by repealing unnecessary and burdensome regulations that hinder job growth and creation.

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 state's budget needs to be balanced without increasing the tax burden on individuals, families, and businesses.  The next biennial budget is projected to take in $1.7 billion in more revenue than the current budget.  It is possible to prioritize spending, reduce government waste, and live within our means to balance the state's budget.

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