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 House District 51A Rep. Diane Anderson's (R) responses.
Eagan Patch: What inspired you to run for re-election in Minnesota House District 51A?
House District 51A Rep. Diane Anderson (R): I am running for re-election because I want to make a difference. I desire to serve to make government responsive to the needs of the citizens. I am pleased with the progress we made in the last two years with the state budget, but there is more work to be done. We took a $6 billion deficit and turned it into a $1 billion surplus, without raising taxes. Our economy in Minnesota has improved since I took office. The unemployment rate in Dakota County went down from 8 percent to 5 percent and the number of jobs in Dakota County has increased. I will continue to work to improve our economy, tax policies, and job climate. I support less government, fewer government regulations, less government spending and fewer taxes. I desire to continue the work we have done to keep moving our state in the right direction.
I want to continue to work on reforming government, providing quality health care, and providing quality education. I will continue to use common sense leadership. We have reformed the size, reach, and cost of government.
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?
Anderson: I was a citizen advocate for over twenty years before being elected to the legislature. My knowledge of the legislative process has been very beneficial. I was a member of a Minnesota Supreme Court Task Force and several state task forces.
I want to continue my work in St. Paul, which focused on health and human services issues to help people with mental illness, chemical dependency, and homelessness. I was chosen to chief author the health department’s bill for chemical dependency, which passed and was signed into law. I chaired a legislative work group to develop reforms for chemical dependency and mental health services. I had legislation that passed that provided funding for homelessness. I also had two commerce bills that were signed successfully into law by Governor Dayton.
In addition to legislation, I spent a lot of time touring hospitals, non-profit organizations, and the Minnesota Sex Offender Program facility in St. Peter. I have been endorsed by CARE-PAC, the political action committee for care providers of Minnesota. I have learned a lot and want to continue the work I have been doing.
Patch: What is something you think the current legislature has done well?
Anderson: The citizens are best served when the legislature works together to solve problems. The legislature did a great job of working together. There were two good examples of this bipartisan cooperation in the 2011-12 session.
First, the Health and Human Services bill this year was bipartisan. All of the members of the committee voted in favor of the bill. Secondly, we passed a bill to make things better for School Land Trusts. Now the schools will be able to get more money from their land trusts. I believe we should work together to get things done.
Patch: What is something you think the current legislature has done poorly?
Anderson: We need to do a better job in communicating with Minnesotans. We have done a lot of great reforms and most Minnesotans do not know about all of the great things we have accomplished.
Patch: What are some of the most pressing, long-term issues facing House District 51A? The state?
Anderson: The most pressing issue for both District 51A and the state continues to be economic growth and job creation. The families of Eagan and Burnsville work hard, pay their taxes, and are busy raising their families. We need to create an environment that is positive for job growth and economic development. We also need to continue efforts to reform the state’s K-12 education system so our students can compete with students from around the world in a global economy.
Patch: Why should constituents vote for you in November? What distinguishes you from your opposition?
Anderson: I will continue the work we have done to keep moving Minnesota in the right direction. My policies of less government spending without raising taxes has produced real results. The Republican legislature did a great job with the state budget. The previous legislature left us with a $6 billion deficit and in the February forecast we had a $1.2 billion surplus. We did not raise taxes, we reduced spending, and we received more revenues. I increased the state funding for K-12 education for our local school districts.
A big difference between me and my opponent is that the people who create jobs have endorsed me. I have a 100-percent voting record with the business organizations.
The economy in Minnesota has improved since I took office. The Republican legislature did a great job in turning our economy around. The four years before I was elected, when the DFL was in control of the legislature, unemployment went up. In the last two years since I took office, the unemployment rate in Dakota County went down. We enacted many great reforms and I would like to continue the work I have been doing.
Patch: Anything else you would like to add?
Anderson: I believe we need to make sure we have quality education and our schools need to be fairly funded. The DFL legislature provides more money to the Mpls/St. Paul school districts than our local school districts. I was able to increase the state funding for K-12 education for our local school districts. School District 196 had deep cuts the past three years and this year ISD 196 was able to balance their budget without making any cuts. We provided ISD 196 $1.5 million each year in additional revenue per pupil. They are also receiving $2.96 million in compensatory funding and $1.63 million in literacy aid.
This year, I voted in favor of a bill that would have given our schools $430 million and Governor Dayton vetoed the bill. My top priority is to make sure our local school districts receive fair funding from the state.
Please go to my web site for more information at: DianeAndersonforHouse.com