Southern Minn. needs a stronger advocate

Published 8:59 am Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Column: Shannon Savick, Guest Column

I believe we need a stronger voice in St. Paul that will fight for the needs of Southern Minnesota. That’s why last week I filed to run for state representative in District 27A, which serves communities in Freeborn County, western Faribault County and southern Dodge County.

Shannon Savick

I want to share with you why I am running and why I am asking for your trust and your vote.

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There is a big disconnect between the policies being pushed in St. Paul and what’s best for southern Minnesota. As the former mayor of Wells, I have watched as the Legislature’s current priorities have raised our property taxes and taken resources away from our schools. It’s time for a new direction that puts people first.

Here are some of the top issues I will focus on as your state representative.

First, we need stronger representation in the Legislature to avoid further increases in property taxes.

Eliminating the homestead credit was unquestionably a bad vote for Greater Minnesota. According to nonpartisan research, rural areas were hit three times harder by the homestead credit elimination than the metro area.

Taking away that credit from homeowners and businesses has led to a 5 percent property tax increase for Albert Lea homeowners and a 6.8 percent increase for our small businesses.

As a former mayor of Wells, I understand city budgets and the vital partnership between local governments and the state. This partnership has been chipped away by policies that disproportionately hurt rural communities financially. That’s wrong. I will put our community’s interest first — and I will start by working to restore the homestead credit so we can reduce property taxes.

In addition, we need a stronger voice for our schools and our students. Few question the important link between a quality education and a strong economy. Yet, our legislature’s actions have not reflected this reality. Last year, the Legislature borrowed a record amount from Minnesota schools, leaving our kids with a $2.4 billion IOU, without a plan to pay it back.

In fact, the state has borrowed more than $10 million alone from the Albert Lea School District. We need to properly fund our schools, so our children and grandchildren get the education they deserve and need. I will work to pay back our kids and start making our schools the priority that we all know them to be.

Lastly, we need a stronger resolve to work together and solve problems. Minnesotans are rightly frustrated by the gridlock and the extremism that brought us the longest state shutdown in our history.

It’s not enough to talk about bipartisanship — we need to “walk the walk” and truly work across the aisle. We need to cooperate with one another and not settle for anything except for a better outcome than shutdown and more gridlock. That’s what Minnesotans should expect and deserve from its representatives.

Over the coming weeks and months, I look forward to having one-on-one conversations about how we can be better and be stronger for southern Minnesota at the Legislature. I hope to see you soon and invite you to share with me any of your ideas and input.


Shannon Savick of Wells is a Democrat running in the House District 27A race.