Q&A: Carlson Wants to Bring Back Ethics and Honesty Back into Politics

To help voters learn more about local political candidates in advance of the general election, Eagan Patch asked all of the candidates about their views and accomplishments.

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School funding, state spending, job creation. Those are just a few of the issues that will drive voters to the polls on Nov. 6 to vote for their preferred candidate in local and state races.

To help voters learn more about Eagan City Council, House District 51A, House District 51B and Senate District 51 candidates, Eagan Patch asked all candidates to submit their responses to a set of questions regarding their views and accomplishments. Each candidate was limited to a 200-word response per question. We will publish their responses in installments leading up to Election Day. For ongoing political coverage, check out our 2012 Election Guide.

Without further ado, here are Senate District 51 Candidate Jim Carlson's (DFL) responses.

Eagan Patch: What inspired you to run for election in Minnesota Senate District 51?

Senate District 51 Candidate Jim Carlson (DFL): I served in the Minnesota Senate from 2007 to 2011 when the Governor and the legislative majorities were dominated by opposing parties. Even though the Governor led with his eyes on higher ambitions, much more progress was made without the present acrimony, partisan standoffs and finally a government shutdown. I am running to offer and apply my private business and prior Senate experience to Governor Dayton's agenda to move Minnesota forward.

Patch: Tell me about your previous accomplishments as an elected official representing Eagan. What other relevant background experience do you think you could bring to the position if re-elected?

Carlson: I served four years in the Senate learning the ropes and the standing up for well-reasoned policy in education, transportation, energy and health care. My engineering background has positioned me as a quick study on technical issues. I sponsored bills for local requestors and supported statewide initiatives in transportation, education and energy policy. Having four years prior experience will enable me to be immediately productive and place me in the upper half of serving senator seniority.

Patch: What is something you think the current legislature has done well?

Carlson: Even though the deal could have been better, I believe the legislature should be commended for preventing a move of the Vikings. Also commendable is the legislation to provide jobs and support, including treatment, to returning military. Many smaller initiatives were also worthy of note, however many important policy bills ran out of time.

Patch: What is something you think the current legislature has done poorly?

Carlson: The present Republican Senate leadership has brought disrepute, poor fiscal decisions and an unprecedented shutdown into Minnesota history. The 2011-12 legislature focused on social issues and avoided addressing critical fiscal and policy issues. To quote the bond-rating houses, this legislature caused a downgrade of the state bond rating due to "poor fiscal decisions". The ballot questions to add two completely unnecessary amendments to the Minnesota Constitution are admitted partisan political games as well as being mean-spirited and unjustified. Draining the reserves, taking education funding and borrowing against future health care receipts are irresponsible actions and represent an inability to make tough decisions. Re-writing history by claiming to have increased education funding, turning a deficit into a surplus and blaming the Governor for their own intransigence has become a statewide strategy to deceive voters.

Patch: What are some of the most pressing, long-term issues facing Senate District 51? The state?

Carlson: Senate district 51 faces many of the same challenges as other Minnesota large Metropolitan communities. Eagan and Burnsville have enjoyed above-average prosperity due to excellent amenities and a diverse mix of businesses that employ thousands of well-paid workers. The challenge is to insure that employers continue to find Minnesota a great place to build businesses with a highly skilled workforce, ready access to markets and a vision for the future. The legislature needs to rise above partisan politics and promote the investments needed to sustain Minnesota as the state having top-tier education outcomes, a great quality of life and the highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies per capita in the nation.

Patch: Why should constituents vote for you in November? What distinguishes you from your opposition?

Carlson: I want to bring back ethics, honesty and fiscal responsibility to the Capitol. I have more than 35 years in the technical aspects of business, including 30 years as an engineer in design, manufacturing and management. My background is solid and shows a dedication to ethics, honesty, completing tasks and standing up for people. I will continue to represent the people of this district and Minnesota, not special, deep-pocket interests, not fringe, bill-mill groups like ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and not those who are pouring influence money into races across the country. I do not take lobby money, I don't play for financial favorites and I am willing to speak truth to power. I have a proven track record of frequent town hall meetings and listening to constituents.

Patch: Anything else you would like to add?

Carlson: Burnsville and Eagan are hiring a Senator to represent them. I urge all voters to examine my accomplishments and work history and ask themselves if I am committed to the future of our communities. I ask voters to also examine the history of Minnesota as a high-service state that works, and answer the question: Why? To sustain the Minnesota quality-of-life requires a dedicated and cooperative government that is not afraid to make tough decisions when they are needed. Our past and future is deeply rooted in education investment and achievement. Standings of our best students prove that we have the ability to achieve excellent results in our classrooms with our educators. External issues must be addressed to turn around Minnesota's "education gap" of achievement. Our future depends on our next generation, and they must be ready to accept their responsibility.

Stay on top of the 2012 election cycle. Check out these other Q&As with our local Eagan legislative candidates:

  • Q&A: Masin Believes Current Legislature Unable to Address Minnesota's Needs
James N October 22, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Time to get rid of Daley. His borrow and spend tactics are going to be the downfall of MN. Republicans stole $2,700,000.00 from the educational school funds with no plans of reimbursement, just so they could create an artificial budget surplus.
Grace Kelly October 22, 2012 at 03:57 PM
We need a senator like Jim Carlson who believes in making things work. Last year, the state government shut down for 21 days - that is government not working. Last year, the state government paid its bills by borrowing $2.7 Billion from schools - that is government not working. Then, just a little was paid back to create "a paid back" line when there is still $2.4 billion left. Anyone who did the financial management of a business this way would be fired. It time to have a new senator - Jim Carlson - who believes in keeps things working smoothing, who believes in no-crisis management. With state senators like Jim Carlson, we could have government that just works without being in the news, I would like fiscally responsible government that runs smoothly. We need a change in senators for that to happen.
ellen holmes lafans October 22, 2012 at 04:36 PM
JIm Carlson has my vote as do the rest of the DFL candidates. They ARE the party FOR the working class! I was present when Ted Daley, Doug Wardlow and Diane Anderson were at the town hall forum in the fall of 2011. They had the talking points of Paul Ryan's RADICAL budget plan to privatize social security, voucher medicare and do away with Planned Parenthood. (Planned Parenthood is a major provider of BASIC health care for women.) Ryan's plan would be the path to poverty for most of us. At this forum it became clear that our current republican "corporate puppets", oops legislators, were not well intended moderate republicans! I am also VERY concerned about Daley's ties to ALEC. Check out alecexposed.org to find out more. Daley says that government is "bad" but he seems to say that the corporations running our country are "okay"? Daley seems at face value to be Mr. Nice Guy but turns out he is a well financed "puppet" for the VERY wealthy corporations who support his campaign. Does the word "plutocracy" ring a bell? Find out more about plutocracy at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSoglDcRbAg) By comparison, Jim Carlson does NOT take lobbyist money. He will represent YOU! Jim is a hard-worker, he makes fair and well thought out decisions based on facts, was raised on a farm in Eagan, and really loves Eagan/Burnsville! EVERYTHING IS AT STAKE! VOTE FOR JIM CARLSON FOR SENATE ON TUESDAY, NOV. 6TH.
Anne Starr October 22, 2012 at 05:58 PM
We need Jim Carlson returned to the State Senate. As a senior, I am supporting Jim because I feel he understands the needs of people of Eagan and Minnesota.
Sherry D. October 23, 2012 at 12:06 AM
We need the honesty and integrity that Jim Carlson brought to St. Paul on behalf of the people of Eagan and Burnsville. When he represented us, there was never a question that he was too busy to answer--which is not true of Senator Daley. Jim works for the people, not for the ALEC organization. He stands for jobs and for education. Let's send Jim back to St. Paul!


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