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Get to know the United States House Second District candidates

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John Kline

GOP • Incumbent

City of residence Burnsville

How long in the district 18 years

Immediate family Wife, Vicky; two children; four grandchildren

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Occupation USMC, Ret.

Why are you running for office?

I am seeking to continue to represent Minnesota's 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives because we need strong, conservative leadership during these tough times for our nation. During my five terms in office, I have demonstrated my commitment to reducing the size and scope of government, pushing for historic spending cuts that enable American families to keep more of their hard earned money, and keeping our promises to veterans and their families. I remain committed to amplifying the views and values of Minnesotans in Washington and advancing the issues that matter most to them and their families.

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

During my time in office I have demonstrated my ability to find solutions to the problems that matter most to Minnesota families - whether ensuring our Minnesota Red Bulls receive the benefits they earned or advancing legislation to do away with the flawed No Child Left Behind education law. I believe the American people - not the federal government - have the answers to the challenges facing our nation, and I am committed to continuing to carry the views and values of Minnesotans in the second district to Washington.

What would your top priority be as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives? How do you propose to address it?

The most important issue facing Americans today is the struggling U.S. economy. Instead of hope and prosperity, Minnesota families and businesses have found only disappointment and hardship in the stagnant Obama economy of the past four years. Washington must work toward creating an environment that helps families by preserving tax relief and providing economic certainty so private sector employers can create jobs and put some of the 23 million unemployed Americans back to work. We must earn back taxpayers' trust by carefully weighing every dollar we spend and setting priorities to ensure America continues to thrive in the competitive global economy.

These continue to be difficult economic times for many in Dakota County, and foreclosure has been a big issue. What would you propose to do to help improve the situation for Second District residents?

While the housing market has shown signs of strengthening, many families continue to struggle. I favor long-term, comprehensive housing policies that provide incentives for responsible homeowners, but discrete housing policies alone will not solve Americans' economic woes. We must pursue pro-growth initiatives that provide more Americans opportunities to get back on their feet and take control of their financial futures.

Mike Obermueller

DFL

City of residence Eagan

How long in the district 10 years

Immediate family Wife, Sara; sons Greg and Aaron

Occupation Business attorney

Why are you running for office?

I'm running for office because Washington is broken--and both parties are to blame. Democrats haven't done enough to cut spending and Republicans are just as wasteful when they keep pushing for bigger tax breaks for multimillionaires, at the expense of the middle class. We need to get our spending under control and balance the budget--but we can't do it on the backs of the middle class.

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

I am a former state legislator and I represented the seat once held by Tim Pawlenty. In the legislature, I had a strong record of working with both parties to get things done and I will bring that same mindset with me to Washington.

I was raised on a small family farm with five brothers and sisters, all of us adopted. I worked my way through college and law school, marrying and raising two sons along the way. I know what middle class families are going through because I've experienced it firsthand. In Washington, I will be a tireless advocate for the middle class.

What would your top priority be as a member of the U.S. House of representatives? How do you propose to address it?

My top priority would be to grow the economy while reducing our national deficit. We can do this if we set the right conditions in place. First, we need to simplify the tax code to one that is less burdensome on small businesses--this will help small businesses to expand and will create jobs. Second, we need to invest in innovation and new technologies so America can continue to lead in the world economy. Third, we need to make sure we have a skilled workforce--that means job retraining for those who have lost their jobs as well as expanding quality education. Last, we need to cut wasteful spending, such as government redundancies and make sure we're not borrowing money from China to fund unnecessary wars.

These continue to be difficult economic times for many in Dakota County, and foreclosure has been a big issue. What would you propose to do to help improve the situation for Second District residents?

We need to continue to streamline the current federal programs aimed at helping people refinance their homes. Too often these programs have left people frustrated due to misinformation, lack of communication and slow processing at the hands of our largest mortgage lenders. I will work to ensure better oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as mortgage finance institutions to make sure people really can afford the loans they are offered, and will help grow the economy with smart, innovative federal policy that strengthens the middle class.

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