Meet the candidates: MN House of Representatives


(10/31/2004)

House of Representatives District 31A

Gene Pelowski (DFL)

Biography

Wife - Deborah, two sons, WSU masters degree, WSHS instructor, State Representative since 1986, DFL

What are your top legislative priorities and how would you turn those priorities into actions?

Politics should be about the improvement of people's lives. Affordable and accessible health care, well paying jobs and educational opportunities for all are the issues we should focus on in Minnesota.

What is your vision for the state of Minnesota, specifically greater Minnesota, in regard to job creation, local government aid, education, taxes, transportation, bonding, and health care?

Job creation: pass the bonding bill, fund building projects that provide jobs, complete the projects at WSU, the Technical College, address local road and bridge repair and expansion.

Education: opt out of federally mandated - No Child Left Behind. This will save our school districts millions of dollars and prevent the lowering of Minnesota's standards.

Health care: no funding cuts for nursing and medical programs at WSU, the Technical College or the U of M. Double digit increases in tuition prevented the expansion of these programs that provide doctors and nurses. This results in greater health care costs.

Local Government Aid should not be cut to balance the state budget.

What are your views when it comes to building a new stadium, competitive gaming and farming concerns?

I am opposed to using tax dollars to fund a new stadium. I do not support expanding gambling.

Roughly 75% of farm income comes from livestock. Since livestock and dairy farming is the largest part of farm income, looking to enhance those operations and help them become more profitable is one approach to improving farm incomes.

Nick Ridge (R)

Biography

A 22-year-old recent WSU graduate, I hope to open a small business in Winona.

What are your top legislative priorities and how would you turn those priorities into actions?

Top priorities: passing a bonding bill, making health care more affordable and accessible, bringing new companies to Minnesota and reforming funding for out-state school districts. I will work diligently to act on recommendations from the governor's health care task force and to bring new companies to the area using the JOBZ program. Cost differences in administering public education throughout the state need to be recognized in the funding formula.

What is your vision for the state of Minnesota, specifically greater Minnesota, in regard to job creation, local government aid, education, taxes, transportation, bonding, and health care?

We need to grow or prepare for the worst. Recent negative population growth in Winona County is horrible news. The underlying problem is that there are not enough young people moving here and having children. Out-state Minnesota needs new jobs in growing sectors. The state must continue to invest in out-state transportation, education and local government aid.

What are your views when it comes to building a new stadium, competitive gaming and farming concerns?

I do not support taxpayers financing a new stadium for the Twins or Vikings. I would support a new Gophers football stadium. The state needs to collect some revenue from gambling profits. We need to have pro-growth policies for our farming families that allow them to get their product to the market. We need the transportation infrastructure that allows our farm exports to get to ports cheaply and timely.

House of Representatives District 28B

Steve Sviggum (R)

Biography

Farmer, St. Olaf College graduate, former teacher and coach, Speaker of the House

What are your top legislative priorities and how would you turn those priorities into actions?

Health care reform, jobs and balancing the state's budget with the right priorities will be our top legislative priorities. These "right priorities" will be tax burdens on families, enhancing equity funding for schools, adequately funding the elderly and caregivers in nursing homes and the programs for those with disabilities.

What is your vision for the state of Minnesota, specifically greater Minnesota, in regard to job creation, local government aid, education, taxes, transportation, bonding, and health care?

Equity in reimbursements for our rural schools, rural nursing homes and rural hospitals will be a top priority. Jobs can be located and enhanced in rural Minnesota through the use of JOBZ legislation and technology. A bonding bill that is prudent, balanced and aimed at higher education, transportation and the environment should pass early in the legislative session.

What are your views when it comes to building a new stadium, competitive gaming and farming concerns?

The legislature should move towards more equity and fairness in our gaming situation. Minnesota should be able to renegotiate the gaming compact or enter into a competitive gaming such as RACINO. New stadiums are not a high priority. I like the bill introduced by Governor Pawlenty - it was prudent and user orientated. I could say to the person in Goodview, "If you don't want to put in a dime-you don't have to." Agriculture policy should add value to our products and support family farms.

Scott Metcalf (DFL)

Biography

Married, four sons, corrections officer at Fairbault state prison, former U. S. Marine, member of the Minnesota Army National Guard

What are your top legislative priorities and how would you turn those priorities into actions?

Health care, education and jobs. We need to sit down and start working together to move Minnesota forward. Let's stop fighting and make Minnesota the best place to live. Our representatives need to remember when they are up at the capital spending our tax dollars they work for us, we don't work for them.

What is your vision for the state of Minnesota, specifically greater Minnesota, in regard to job creation, local government aid, education, taxes, transportation, bonding, and health care?

We need to work with the businesses, big and small, to create jobs in greater Minnesota to ensure investment in rural communities. We need to take a step back and look at how we fund education, including redoing the school funding formula to help schools with their costs.

What are your views when it comes to building a new stadium, competitive gaming and farming concerns?

I would like to see a new stadium in Minnesota, but not at a cost to the taxpayers. If we use tax dollars then we should receive a portion of the gate and concession sales until that money is paid back. We need to be proactive in farming in the areas of value added production in bio-diesel and ethanol initiatives and help milk producers receive a fair price for their milk.

 

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