Candidate Profiles: Minnesota state Senate district 11 Tony Lourey (DFL) • Bill Saumer (R)
By: Pine Journal, Pine Journal
Question 1. How does your past experience, job or education qualify you to serve at the Minnesota House of Representatives/Minnesota Senate?
Question 2. In 2011, it took a government shutdown before the Republican legislative leaders and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton could reach an agreement that patched together a “balanced” budget – including one-time monies and delaying payments totaling $2.4 billion to schools, which haven’t been paid back. What do you think the state needs to do to make ends meet this time around?
Question 3. Why should constituents vote for you on Election Day? What makes you a better choice than your opponent?
I have deep roots in our region and a thorough understanding of the needs in greater Minnesota. I learned about hard work growing up on a farm and continue farming with my family today. I’ve got over two decades of experience working in public policy and health care. Also, an excellent public education from UMD gave me the tools I use to be an articulate and effective advocate for our region.
For the past decade, lawmakers have been promising to solve deficits with spending cuts alone, and it has never happened. Instead, they’ve used short-term borrowing and accounting tricks to temporarily solve the problem, and that’s why we’re short on cash yet again. We need to be honest: Next year’s deficit actually is $4.5 billion if we intend to pay back schools – which we must. If we want to pay back schools and avoid yet another future budget deficit, we need to consider a mix of spending cuts, reforms and new revenue to stabilize our budget for the long-term and address all of our debts.
Last year’s legislature rejected the most common-sense reform we can and should do: Closing corporate tax loopholes that forfeit millions of dollars in Minnesota revenue each year. Most of these tax breaks go to out-of-state companies – why would we continue sending Minnesota dollars to people that don’t even live here? At the very least, this simple reform could help capture money already owed to Minnesota and use it to pay back schools the $2.4 billion they are owed.
I work very hard to be honest about my views, responsive to constituents, and consistent about working with all members, Democrat or Republican, to make progress in St. Paul. What the legislature needs most right now are lawmakers who are willing to throw political rhetoric aside and truly work together for the betterment of the state. I have a proven record of doing just that – I was a key part of passing the health care bill that was heralded as one of the best bipartisan accomplishments of last session. But I also have a record of standing up for what I believe in and what my constituents ask of me, even when it isn’t the most popular view at the Capitol. I have always and will always be responsive to our district’s needs above all else. I’d be honored for another opportunity to serve.
I come prepared with a wealth of educational, agricultural, natural resource, energy, rural and community development and sustainability knowledge and skills. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science and my Master’s degree in Agriculture Education from the University of Minnesota. I have taught high school agriculture in three schools in Minnesota and was also an extension educator for the universities of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Maryland. I know and understand the people and resources in our District 11 and know how to return jobs to our area and improve the lives of our citizens.
The state needs to improve the economic climate for small business and corporations to re-establish and expand their operations, creating better and more jobs. The state needs to stop over-regulation and over-taxing these businesses and companies or they will continue to shrink and/or even leave our state entirely as many have already done! Our families need these jobs and when this happens, we will have the revenue to run the state and fund our educational needs.
The people in my district should vote for me for many reasons, including my educational background, knowledge of our district and our state, our natural resources, my commitment to improve the lives of our families, our communities, and our businesses. I am also committed to improving the job climate and creating new jobs and keeping companies and businesses here. My opponent has done nothing in six years to show he has any of these qualities. He has done nothing to help save jobs in our district and to create new ones. He only got in riding on the shirttail of his mother who was always talking about stuff, but also did not do anything for the industries, businesses and jobs in our district.
The main reason why people should vote for me is because I will be there for them! In my campaigning I stopped at many homes and businesses that have NEVER heard or seen their current or past state senator. I was the first one ever to visit their farm, home or business and ask THEM what I could do for THEM in St. Paul. I will be the state senator they will be proud of. I am endorsed by parents, students, farmers, teachers, union members, business owners, civic leaders, unemployed and underemployed, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), NRA and former state senator Florian Chmielewski.