House, Senate candidates provide introductionForum didn’t provide much in the way of fireworks but offered insight to candidates
By: Nathan Hansen, Rosemount Town Pages
The candidates who hope to represent Rosemount residents at the state level had the opportunity to share their views on a variety of topics during a Dakota County Regional Chamber forum Oct. 11 at Rosemount City Hall.
The forum included Senate District 57 candidates Greg Clausen, Democrat, and Pat Hall, Republican; and District 57B House of Representatives candidates Jeff Wilfahrt, Democrat, and Anna Wills, Republican. The forum was moderated by Jeff Ellis, a Rosemount resident.
The evening was relatively calm compared with the vice presidential debate that was also going on that night. Each candidate had an opportunity to tell a little bit about themselves during their opening remarks.
Clausen started the opening remarks talking about his background in education. He has been an educator for more than 40 years. His background includes teaching and coaching. He also served as principal at Rosemount High School, retiring in 2008. Currently Clausen is working as a grant writer for Independent School District 196.
A kid from the projects, Hall said he represents the hope that America represents. Hall said he has a background in business and education. He is running for office to ensure that his children and grandchildren can have the same type of experience.
“Isn’t it great that we live in a place where we can come out of the projects and end up getting a good education and with hard work end up becoming a college professor,” said Hall.
Wills said she has been politically involved since she was 12 years old. Currently she works as legislative assistant at the capitol. As a member of the House, Wills said she wants to be an advocate for taxpayers and help bring job growth to Minnesota.
“I believe it’s very important to be engaged in the political process and having been actively involved and in my service at the capitol was very excited to run for this position to be an advocate for taxpayers in the district,” said Wills.
Wilfahrt was approached at the beginning of the year about running for the office and decided to do so. He said the process has been enlightening. Wilfahrt has lived in Rosemount with his wife and high school sweetheart Lori for 28 years. The couple raised three children, who went through District 196 schools.
When asked about their priorities each of the candidates offered a glimpse into what they would concentrate on as a legislator. Hall said his priorities are pretty basic. He wants his children and grandchildren to have the opportunities he has had. Additionally, Hall said he wants to put together a budget that provides strong education and that helps businesses succeed.
Clausen said education drives the Minnesota economy, so that would be his top priority. In recent years, Clausen said, Minnesota has slipped from 15th to 38th in educational spending. Clausen said he would like to see more investment made in early childhood and kindergarten education.
“I think it’s time Minnesotans need to look at what’s really important in our lives,” said Clausen.
Wilfahrt said he has three elements he’s looking to focus on in office. The first, he said, is to sustain equality.
“I think there are two amendments right now moving through that interfere with that essence,” said Wilfahrt.
Additionally, Wilfahrt said he will concentrate on finding a way to balance the budget and ensure younger generations have access to quality education.
Wills said as a member of the House she would focus on improving the economy to make way for business growth and balancing the budget without tax increases. As she has campaigned, Wills said, business owners have expressed frustrations with government regulations. Wills said she would like to see business property taxes reduced and regulations streamlined to help create a better economic environment for businesses.
During the forum candidates also talked about the health care reform act, a projected budget shortfall as well as other issues. To view the entire forum go to ci.rosemount.mn.us/vote.