Sparks wants to improve health care

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 27, 2006

By Adam Hammer, staff writer

Sen. Dan Sparks has been building his record at the Minnesota Senate in District 27 for four years and is hoping to add to it after the November election.

&8220;I&8217;ve worked hard the last four years to listen and put people before politics,&8221; Sparks said. &8220;I&8217;ll let my record speak for that.&8221;

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Sparks is a lifelong resident of the district and lives in Austin with his wife, Andrea, and their three children.

When not at the Capitol, Sparks works in banking and finance in Austin.

He has worked on the farm, in road construction, in the Hormel plant and in local small businesses.

Sparks, 38, was elected to the Senate in 2002 and serves on the K-12 Education Budget Division, the Jobs, Energy and Community Development Committee, Early Childhood and is vice chair of the Commerce Committee.

Sparks said the top three issues that need to be addressed for District 27 are health care, education, and jobs and economy.

&8220;One important issue we&8217;re hearing out here is the need for quality, affordable health care,&8221; Sparks said.

He said as senator he aims to lower prescription drug costs and the cost of health care and ensure all Minnesotans are adequately insured.

On the education front, Sparks said there needs to be increased funding for schools to lessen the burden on property taxes.

&8220;We need to live up to our responsibility at the state level to fully fund education,&8221; he said.

When it comes to jobs and the economy, he said there not only needs to be good jobs in southern Minnesota, but good paying jobs. He said there also needs to be a demand for corporate accountability and work toward prevention of outsourcing American jobs.

His accomplishments directly affecting the district include securing money for an expansion at Comforcare Good Samaritan nursing home, and for the Shooting Star and Blazing Star Recreation Trails, Riverland Community College, Albert Lea Library, Paramount Theatre and Hormel Nature Center.

He has also helped pass legislation to crack down on meth users, dealers and producers and a bill to help the Shell Rock River Watershed District with lake cleanup and restoration.

He has also been vocal about helping local National Guard soldiers come home sooner, and towards a veterans ID bill that assists veterans in receiving the most current medical information.