Editorial: Vote for Sparks Tuesday

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kathy Green, who seeks office in the Senate District 27 race, should stay active in southern Minnesota politics. She is a smart leader and viable candidate.

However, so is Dan Sparks, who deserves your vote Tuesday.

Sparks has done a solid job of making connections with the business community of this district. He works hand in hand with Riverland Community College and works hard for programs here in District 27. He fights for JOBZ, and we trust he will fight for its next inception.

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He serves on key Senate committees for businesses:

  • Commerce and Consumer Protection
  • Finance, Economic Development and Housing
  • Business, Industry and Jobs
  • Capital Investment
  • Energy, Utilities, Technology and Communications

Frankly, that’s someone who cares about jobs. In the coming four years — four difficult years — we will need a state senator who is not a freshman, one who has clout in St. Paul and can help the region get through the recession.

With education, Green, a member of the Austin school board, presents many ideas we agree with — such as getting away from state-mandated standards testing and back to more local control.

However, Sparks favors many of the same things as Green and cares about securing a stable source of funding for schools and things like all-day kindergarten. He even favors getting the politics out of the Minnesota Department of Education by taking the commissioner out of the cabinet, among other ideas.

Roads are important to southern Minnesota’s businesses and farmers. Sparks favored the gas tax increase, which has resulted in improved highways in the region. He wants to get rid of the deceptive executive-branch tricks — deferments, unallotments — that have been used to balance budgets.

Though we disagree with the idea of a Racino to bolster state coffers, we do appreciate Sparks’ ability to look at new streams of funding.

Sparks was key in helping Albert Lea clean up Edgewater Park, and he will be important in the upcoming fight over local government aid.

There are other reasons, but the best one is that he has done a good job. We endorse Sparks for state senator.