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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Kirk Stensrud
     • 11/01/2012: Alice Seagren
     • 10/25/2012: Gene Stageberg
     • 10/25/2012: Profile: Kirk Stensrud
     • 10/18/2012: Peter Bozanich
     • 10/11/2012: Steve Smith
     • 10/11/2012: Kim Stender
     • 10/11/2012: Carter Glendenning
     • 10/11/2012: Dan Schultz
     • 10/04/2012: David Webb
     • 09/13/2012: David Johnson
     • 08/30/2012: Jeffery Simon
     • 08/30/2012: Katie Fulkerson
     • 02/16/2012: Al Krause

David Hann
     • 11/01/2012: Bob Dahl
     • 10/25/2012: Donna Azarian
     • 10/25/2012: Profile: David Hann
     • 10/18/2012: Viola Danciak
     • 10/18/2012: John Tyler
     • 10/18/2012: Fred Koppelman

Kirk Stensrud/David Hann
     • 10/18/2012: Kevin and Angie Maire
     • 10/11/2012: George Kissinger
     • 08/23/2012: Fred Koppelman

Hann/Stensrud/Loon
     • 10/18/2012: Jack Haedicke

Hann/Stensrud/Loon/Duckstad/Aho
     • 10/11/2012: Jeffrey Simon

EP City Council
     • 11/01/2012: Theodore Pegram
     • 11/01/2012: Lyle Hookom
     • 11/01/2012: Robb and Pam Hiller
     • 10/25/2012: Wally Anderson
     • 10/25/2012: Kevin R. Schultz
     • 10/25/2012: Commentary: Jon Duckstad
     • 10/25/2012: Commentary: Brad Aho
     • 10/18/2012: Don Opheim
     • 10/18/2012: Geoffrey Ferster
     • 10/18/2012: Bob and Deb Norberg
     • 10/18/2012: Profile: Jon Duckstad
     • 10/18/2012: Profile: Brad Aho
     • 10/18/2012: Greg Albrecht
     • 10/18/2012: Matthew Carpenter
     • 10/11/2012: Sandy and Mike Luker
     • 10/04/2012: Larry Devries
     • 10/04/2012: Hawk Nyhammer
     • 10/04/2012: Bob Carling
     • 09/26/2012: Bob and Deb Norberg
     • 02/02/2012: Jan Sotebeer
     • 01/26/2012: Kathy Tyler
     • 01/12/2012: Fred Koppelman

State Spending
     • 11/01/2012: Christopher H. Ceglia
     • 08/23/2012: Krisla Berreth

Schools
     • 03/06/2012: Kirk Stensrud
     • 03/01/2012: Don Heinzman
     • 02/16/2012: Mark Bell
     • 01/05/2012: Scott Ruthford

Obamacare
     • 08/30/2012: John Tyler
     • 08/02/2012: John Tyler
     • 01/05/2012: John Tyler

Mitt Romney for President
     • 10/25/2012: Cindy Powaga

Right to Work
     • 03/01/2012: Michael Ricci

Marriage
     • 10/31/2012: Jason Adkins
     • 10/18/2012: Bonnie Gasper
     • 10/18/2012: Robert Lawrenz
     • 10/18/2012: G. Johnson
     • 10/18/2012: David Saari
     • 08/02/2012: Jeffrey Simon

Photo ID
     • 10/27/2012: Joe Soucheray
     • 10/25/2012: Wally Anderson

Legislative Updates
     • 08/25/2012: Rep. Kirk Stensrud
     • 03/06/2012: Rep. Kirk Stensrud
     • 01/27/2012: Rep. Kirk Stensrud
     • 01/26/2012: Rep. Kirk Stensrud
     • 01/20/2012: Rep. Kirk Stensrud

Caucus
     • 01/26/2012: David Johnson

Ronald Reagan
     • 10/11/2012: Todd Carlsen

Archives
     • 2011 Letters to the Editor
     • 2010 Letters to the Editor

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News November 01, 2012:

Stensrud would work for education
By: Alice Seagren, Bloomington

In my work as the former commissioner of education, and as a former chair of the K-12 Finance Committee in the Minnesota House of Representatives, I've spent many years promoting a strong educational system because it is vital to our economic growth and success as a state.

During my service in the Minnesota House, I had the privilege of representing a portion of Eden Prairie. I know how important education is to the citizens of this community. For this reason, I am happy to endorse Kirk Stensrud for the Minnesota House of Representatives, District 48A.

As the father of three children who have been educated in our public schools, Kirk is an advocate for students and he strongly supports local control for our school districts As a small business owner who meets a payroll every month, he has practical solutions to help keep our education dollars focused on the classroom, making sure every child is educated to their fullest potential.

I urge you to vote for Rep. Kirk Stensrud on November 6.
-------------------------------------
Alice Seagren is the former Minnesota Commissioner of Education

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News November 01, 2012:

Thank you David Hann for leadership
By: Bob Dahl, Eden Prairie

I whole-heartedly support Sen. David Hann for re-election to the Minnesota State Senate.

As someone who works in senior care day in and day out, I have seen Sen. Hann's commitment to seniors.

As chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Sen. Hann faced the enormous challenge of balancing the Minnesota Health and Human Services budget. While cuts to this budget were needed due to large state budget deficits, Sen Hann worked to protect senior and caregivers.

Under his leadership, nursing homes were protected from cuts. Sen. Hann has also been a leader in looking for ways to encourage individuals to plan for and pay for their own long-term care needs so that we can maintain a strong safety net for those seniors who will need assistance as they grown older.

Please thank Sen. David Hann by returning him to St. Paul as Minnesota State Senator.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News November 01, 2012:

Duckstad a strong conservative voice
By: Theodore Pegram, Eden Prairie

I support Jon Duckstad to return to Eden Prairie City Council. He would represent a strong conservative voice for hard-working property taxpayers and others.

As a former council member, Duckstad helped create a voluntary Budget Advisory Commission in 2007. The Budget Advisory Commission is composed of seven Eden Prairie citizens with budget experience. They are to review and make recommendations on tight budgets to the City Council. Jon would insist that the Budget Advisory Commission follow its "required" charter to participate in budget considerations. In light of family incomes declining in today's stressful economy, we need a good fiscal conservative to promote a lean and more efficient local government.

Jon Duckstad has earned my vote and hopefully yours too on November 6.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News November 01, 2012:

Supports Duckstad for council
By: Lyle Hookom, Eden Prairie

On a personal level I met Jon several years ago when he joined our group on a houseboat fishing trip to Lake of the Woods. Our group consists of fathers, sons, grandsons, friends and friends of friends. On trips like this you get to know a person fairly well and Jon was a fine addition to the group.

On a political level I like Jon because he balances the needs of our city with fiscal responsibility. I know Jon regularly meets with business leaders and others to help him make good financial decisions. Jon supports having citizens involved in the city's budget planning and worked toward that process when he was a council member. It is my understanding that some of this citizen involvement has been reduced in recent years. Ultimately the future of our community rests with its citizens and we should be involved.

Watching the news this past year I have seen numerous communities that are declaring bankruptcy as they are unable to meet the obligations imposed on them from previous years. I am sure that these communities thought they were making sound financial decision s at the time, but something changed. One major change that we are seeing and this has been mentioned by most of the candidates is that Eden Prairie is changing from a fast-growing suburb to a more mature one. For this reason I want a person who is fiscally responsible and that is Jon.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News November 01, 2012:

Aho would work to keep EP great
By: Robb and Pam Hiller, Eden Prairie

I would like to thank Brad Aho for his eight years of service to our community on the City Council. During his tenure our economy has endured many challenges and he has been a steady voice for spending reform which led to three years of zero levy growth and our current less than one percent levy increase. He works diligently to ensure the city delivers the services we need at the right level we expect for a good value.

Brad is working on many transportation issues that are very important to our community and the entire Twin Cities area. He is passionate about keeping Eden Prairie a top city in the nation by supporting the needs of the residents in a cost effective manner by using his engineering and small business experience to find practical solutions. Please join me in support of keeping Brad Aho on the Eden Prairie City Council for another four years so he can continue working to keep our community a great place to live and work and an exceptional value.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News November 01, 2012:

Capitalism is not cruel
By: Christopher H. Ceglia, Eden Prairie

Capitalism seems to be on trial during this pivotal election year. We see it every day whether it is Romney's tax rate, corporations and CEO's making too much money, or even the second richest man in America (Warren Buffet) complaining that he pays too little in taxes. This all speaks to socialistic, and even worse, communistic ideas. Capitalism, although not perfect, is the best concept to date to increase nationwide wealth per citizen, and left the most people out of poverty.

For those that think capitalism is cruel or unfair, let us take a look at some statistics that compare the most capitalistic countries and those that are more "state run" like communism, socialism or even dictatorships.

According to the CIA Fact-book for the most recent year in U.S. dollar equivalents:

Capitalistic countries GDP/Capita: United States, $48,100; Canada, $40,300; Germany $37,900; United Kingdom, $35,900; France, $35,000; Japan, $34,300; European Union, $34,000.

State-run countries GDP/Capita: Russia, $16,700; Venezuela, $12,400; Cuba, $9,900; China, $8,400; Vietnam, $3,300; Laos, $2,700; North Korea, $1,800.

It's evident that capital has been deployed more efficiently in the countries on the left versus those on the right. Furthermore, the European Union tends to provide more "socialistic services" buy the U.S. GDP per capita is 41 percent more than the EU as a whole, hence arguing that the more state run policies enacted, the lower the overall goods produced per capita. The whole concept screams that government run programs cannot be as efficient as pure individualistic deployment of capital.

As the election approaches, remember that every idea that raises taxes, allows government to control more resources, stifles free trade, increases regulations, and anything that takes away an individual's freedom to choose chips away at our overall standard of living.

Capitalism may not be perfect, but is not broken either.

The following editorial appeared in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press October 31, 2012:

Minnesota marriage amendment: A "yes" vote protects liberty
By: Jason Adkins, Vice Chairman of Minnesota for Marriage

The public has continuously heard from opponents of the Minnesota marriage amendment that it "limits freedom" and uses our state constitution to "take away rights."

There is no truth to these assertions. In fact, the opposite is the case. Redefining marriage will expand government and erode liberty. Voting "no" is not the pro-freedom or "live and let live" option.

Understanding why that is the case requires us to examine why government is in the marriage business in the first place.

A society can take three postures with regard to how it treats various human relationships: promote, permit, or prohibit. It can promote them because they serve the common good; it can permit them because the benefits they produce or the harms they work are perceived as minimal -- or because regulation is difficult; or it can expressly prohibit them because they are harmful.

Marriage, currently defined in state law as the union of one man and one woman, fits in the first category. The state provides legal benefits to married couples and promotes this relationship because of the unique role it plays in fostering the common good.

There is a strong public interest in uniting men and women together in stable relationships that provide both individual and community benefits. The primary public purpose, however, of the civil institution of marriage is to strengthen and support what we know is the optimal forum for the procreation and care of children.

The gender and sexual complementarity of a man and a woman cannot be overlooked as irrelevant to the definition of marriage. In fact, such complementarity makes marriage what it is -- a unique sharing of gifts between a man and a woman that has the capacity to bring forth new life.

No other relationship, no matter how loving or committed, possesses these attributes, and society has an interest in supporting and promoting a relationship that is unlike any other.

Therefore, marriage as a public matter is not about affirming individuals, proving we are tolerant, or licensing love. The state has little or nothing to say about other kinds of loving relationships. It permits and tolerates them (most, anyway), but has no reason to promote them as marriages because they do not fulfill marriage's essential public purpose.

Further, consider that same-sex couples are currently free to love anyone they want, form relationships and families, jointly own property, designate a partner as a healthcare agent, and create any other legal relationships available to them through private legal contract. Any private organization or church can choose to support these relationships.

These rights already exist and will not be changed by the marriage amendment.

So what do gay marriage advocates really want? The social affirmation that comes with the rest of society promoting as "marriage" -- not just permitting -- same-sex unions.

And here we come back to the original point about how redefining marriage expands government and erodes liberty. The movement to redefine marriage is less about marriage than it is about using state power to coerce the social and cultural acceptance of same-sex relationships.

Gay marriage advocates want to end what they perceive to be "discrimination," that is, a legal differentiation between same-sex unions and traditional marriages.

It is no small irony, then, that marriage amendment opponents incorrectly claim that changes in marriage law have no impact on pre-existing non-discrimination statutes. The reality is that when marriage is redefined, and government treats both same-sex unions and man-woman marriage as though they were the same, anyone who still treats same-sex couples differently will be -- you've got it -- discriminating.

And when people discriminate, they face legal consequences.

As legal scholars on both sides of this debate agree, the redefinition of marriage will lead to the expansive application of nondiscrimination laws and human rights tribunals against those who continue to act in accord with their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Free speech, religious freedom, economic liberty, parental rights, and other liberties will all be impacted. Professionals will be excluded from licensure; students will get kicked out of educational programs; businesses will be fined or denied permits.

These consequences are real, and have emerged in places where marriage has been redefined, such as Canada, Massachusetts, and New York.

That the suppression of so-called "discrimination" is the inevitable result of redefining marriage makes perfect sense to those who believe that our current definition of marriage is bigoted and discriminatory. They openly support these consequences because, to paraphrase the mayor of Washington, D.C., these views should have no place in our society.

But most people, regardless of their views on marriage, don't believe that we should punish people who continue, for various reasons, to believe in conscience that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Unfortunately, however, redefining marriage inevitably threatens a host of liberties and imposes a new sort of "thought police" against those who believe marriage is the cornerstone of society.

Regardless of your views about marriage itself, that is a big reason to vote "yes" on November 6. Voting "no" does not mean "live and let live."

The following editorial appeared in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press October 27, 2012:

Without an ID, how do you do anything?
By: Joe Soucheray, Pioneer Press

They asked me the other day for a photo ID at the doctor's office. I produced my driver's license. I was asked for a photo ID in Chicago this summer when I was buying beer at a grocery store.

"You've got to be kidding me," I said.

She said she was not kidding.

One time in Phoenix, I tried to rent a car, but my license had expired the previous year and the rental agent said, "What is this, a joke?"

We won't go on. We all can list examples of having to produce a photo ID to accomplish the most mundane of tasks or to accomplish some business transaction or the other. And all of those examples are neither here nor there when it comes to the voter ID amendment, whose opponents insist that those kinds of examples are neither here nor there, which always has left me wondering just how many people there are who can't get anything done.

Voting is a right and not a privilege -- buying beer is a privilege -- and there being no evidence that the prisons are full of people who attempted to vote fraudulently, I expect that the sun will come up Nov. 7, no matter the outcome of the vote -- well, a glimpse of sun, if we can shake this snap of early winter.

But here is a bee for your bonnet: The same people who oppose the voter ID amendment also will insist that health care is a right and not a privilege. Why then the request for a photo ID at the doctor's office? And if I correctly understand Obama Care -- which will reinforce, of course, that health care is a right -- a photo ID presumably will be required by the health care provider. Maybe it will be acceptable to have an ID for health care if the recipient is thought to be getting something for free. It's not free. Nothing is free.

And if that is still neither here nor there, we might as well just cut to the chase. All of the arguments against a photo ID at the polls are tantamount to saying that the forgetful, the careless, the inconvenienced, the hapless, the young, the old, the uninterested, the confused, the recently relocated, the displaced and the free wanderer have a vote that counts just as much as the next person's.

That would be correct. I don't know of a soul denying it.

The left is desperate for the electorate to be accommodating of the most vaguely participatory citizen. They are correct on that account, as well.

But in every screed and letter to the editor hectoring us to be mindful of even the most casually participatory voter, they are acknowledging, it seems, that there are two Americas: one with ID and one apparently without. And because it is thought that those with ID are somehow thought to be more advantaged, it would be unfair, when it comes to exercising a right, to disadvantage those who by virtue of not having an ID are therefore victimized.

OK, I don't buy it. Victimized by whom? You still would be able to vote, provisionally, without an ID, and it would have to be followed up on. But OK.

If we can agree that having an ID says something about us -- that we drive, we work, we cash checks, we participate, that we are vested in the way things work, etc. -- then we are being asked to believe that not having an ID also says something about us, that the America envisioned by those without ID, according to opponents of the amendment, is just as meaningful and credible and valuable.

What we are asked to believe sometimes, in the interests of the common good, strains credulity.

But yes, we've made it this far, and I suppose if this weather breaks and the clouds pass, the sun will come up Nov. 7, one way or the other.
--------------------------------------
Soucheray is heard from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 25, 2012:

Hann respects tax dollars
By: Donna Azarian, Eden Prairie

Last week, I received a mailing from State Senate candidate Laurie McKendry in support of the light rail train system for Eden Prairie. Ms. McKendry's mailing further cemented my support for Sen. David Hann.

When 75 percent of Eden Prairie residents have a commute time of 30 minutes or less, is it fiscally smart to spend $1.5 billion dollars for 15 miles of track?

McKendry claims that the LRT will alleviate traffic and boost productivity. Traffic will be snarled for several years while this boondoggle is being built, causing even more traffic and delays. McKendry's same mailer says that she is going to “create incentives” for telecommuting so more people can work from home. Then shy would McKendry support the LRT if she will encourage people to work from home? Oh, the irony.

We already have the South-West Transit bus system, where many buses leave the station half filled.

The economy is horrible and people are struggling. The true cost for a ride on the SW Metro LRT is estimated to be somewhere in the $8-$10 range. At this cost, taxpayers will be subsidizing the LRT forever. Between the Hiawatha, Central, Northstar and Southwest lines, taxpayers will be on the hook for almost a quarter of a billion dollars a year.

Candidates who support the Southwest LRT claim that 60,000 jobs will magically appear when the LRT is built. I cannot get a straight answer from any candidate who supports LRT from where this data is gleaned.

McKendry's support of the LRT tells me that she would support other projects and programs that would waste my hard-earned tax dollars. No thanks.

I proudly support Sen. David Hann, who has always carefully considered and respected his constituents and their tax dollars.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 25, 2012:

Thank you, Kirk Stensrud
By: Gene Stageberg, Eden Prairie

I want to thank Kirk Stensrud for organizing a senior expo for Eden Prairie seniors October 5. It was a wonderful opportunity for seniors to see what kind of volunteer opportunities are available to themas well as services available to them within the community.

I enjoyed learning about the PROP food shelf and PROP Shop's second-hand store, getting information from Hennepin County Senior Services to learning what classes are available at the community and senior cents. The array of people who took time out of their day to support seniors in the community is much appreciated.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 25, 2012:

What is behind amendment?
By: Kathy Tyler, Eden Prairie

Putting an end to the current system of “vouching” is behind the Minnesota Voter ID Constitutional Amendment that will be voted on November 6. “Vouching” is the process by which individuals will “attest” that another is eligible to vote.

That individual completes a voter registration form with their contact information. They vote, and their vote is counted. A validating card is sent out to the address provided for confirmation. Tens of thousands of validating cards are returned in the mail as undeliverable each election. The trouble with the current system is, their vote has already been counted.

The proposed system will require votes prove who they are before they vote. If someone is “vouched for,”{ they will complete a voter registration form, and they will vote. Their vote is separated and not counted until a reply is received validating their eligibility to vote. Once received, their vote is counted. If the validation card is returned non-deliverable, their vote is thrown out as “non-validated.” Threatening, huh?

Is it a coincidence that in 1972 Minnesota switched from a consistently “Red” Republican state to a consistently “Blue” DFL state when the current system of “vouching” went into effect? Tens of thousands of ”undeliverable” voter validation cards were received following the recent U.S. Senate race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. Same story between Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer for governor. It is very possible the outcomes of those races, as close as they were, would have had different outcomes were the current system of “vouching” managed as proposed. Were these races stolen by voter fraud? Please vote “yes” for the voter I.D. amendment and let's get honest elections back in Minnesota.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 25, 2012:

Duckstad: Best service, lowest cost
By: Wally Anderson, Eden Prairie

As a retired businessman I support Jon because if his judicious approach to helping manage our cities business. In his previous term on the City Council Jon successfully promoted and passes three years of zero percent budget increases while maintaining essential city services. Jon's approach to services in government reminds me of a motto we had with my former employer, United Parcel Service, best service, lowest cost.

We could use more people at all levels of government to apply this approach. Please join me in electing Jon for another term to the Eden Prairie City Council.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 25, 2012:

Aho is the choice on Nov. 6
By: Kevin R. Schultz, Eden Prairie

I would like to take this moment to show my support for Brad Aho for City Council. I have known Brad for quite a few yesrs and what always amazes me is her personal and social interest for the city of Eden Prairie.

Brad is currently seeking his third term on the Eden Prairie City Council and lends his many talents including his keen sense of understanding of social and fiscal issues, transparency within our local government and most importantly, being a sounding rod for the citizens of Eden Prairie. Brad has embedded himself in our community by his affiliation/support with such local organizations as the Eden Prairie A.M. Rotary Club, his behind the scenes support for the ABD Foundation of Eden Prairie, and other civic organizations that he supports than many are not aware

During the soft economic times that we as a community experienced during the past several years, Brad continued to put fiscal responsibility first by voting for a zero to modest tax levy increase giving many of those in our community true economic relief when it was needed the most -- a bold and admirable decision that garners respect.

Brad conducts himself with honesty, integrity and well-thought-out stances on issues that face our community. If one were to know Brad, it would be apparent that his sincerity, civic drive and overall sense of community pride goes without saying.

Please make Brad Aho your choice for City Council on Nov. 6 - He will not only have my vote, but he also has my sincere thanks for his past efforts and my appreciation for making Eden Prairie the nationally recognized community that it is.

The following article appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 25, 2012:

Hann wants to create conditions for businesses to thrive
By: Karla Wennerstrom, Eden Prairie

David Hann said his interest in politics can be traced to growing up in Minneapolis.
“My dad was involved in political things when I was a kid and so I helped him out,” Hann said. “I can remember going out and pounding signs and knocking on doors with him.”

Always interested in history, politics and current events, Hann only became interested in running for office after he had children. He volunteered in the Eden Prairie School District, then ran for School Board.

“After I did that for a few years, [I] learned a great deal but also came to be aware that so much of what we do in education is determined at the state level -- and I believe that too much of it is determined at the state level,” Hann said. So after three terms on the School Board, when the opportunity arose to run for the Legislature, he said it was a good chance to try to shift the decision-making back to local school boards.

Hann and wife Anne live in Eden Prairie. After a 25-year career with E. A. Sween Co. in Eden Prairie, Hann has become a partnering agent in Boys and Tyler Financial and a consultant. He has four children.

Hann wants to steer Minnesota's government away from problem-solving requiring more bureaucracy and higher taxes.

“What we really need to do is create the conditions to allow people to make choices and create the conditions to allow the marketplace to thrive,” he said.

Major challenges facing the state

Getting our fiscal house in order is a major challenge, Hann said.

“We have the tendency and have had the tendency for a long time to spend money faster than the economy has been able to generate revenues and that has been a problem,” he said. The challenge is to develop a budget and spending structures that won't grow more quickly than the economy grows.
Federal programs, particularly in health care, will put incredible pressure on state budgets, he said.

“What's going to happen when the federal government decides it's no longer going to be able to live up to its commitment that it's made to support these programs?”

Addressing the budget

Hann said he wanted to be clear that there haven't been budget cuts. “The budget that we had that we passed ... was a budget that increased spending by $2 billion over the budget before,” Hann said. “Our Democrat opponents call that a cut.”

State budget increases should stay in line with revenue growth, he said. Let businesses and families spend their money, instead of bringing it to the Legislature, “which frankly isn't known to be very good in being effective and efficient at spending money.”

Position on marriage and voter ID amendments

“I voted for both of them,” Hann said of putting them on the ballot.

“I think that it is consistent with the expectation that the current law has that the people be in fact residents of the district that they vote in,” Hann said of voter ID. “If anyone votes and is not a resident of the district, they are actually invalidating someone else's vote. I think that's an important point that everyone's vote should count.”

Hann said the marriage amendment is consistent with state law. He said it's a fair question to ask the public to weigh in on whether it's an important enough issue rising to the standard of a constitutional question.

Keeping or bringing business to Minnesota

Hann said Minnesota has not been recognized as particularly business friendly because of its tax climate and regulatory structure.

“The statewide business property tax is an example of one of the things that we have said should be eliminated and we had some bills to phase [it] out over a period time that the governor vetoed,” Hann said. He said that would have sent a signal to encourage businesses to look at Minnesota as a place to expand and grow.

He said the state should look at implementing policies to become more competitive.

The following article appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 25, 2012:

Stensrud wants to keep state business friendly
By: Patty Dexter, Eden Prairie

Kirk Stensrud’s interest in political involvement began after his neighbor suggested that they attend a caucus during a conversation.
“I responded resoundingly, ‘Yes let’s do that,’ and then of course we both wondered, what is a caucus?” he said.

While he’s always been an active voter and tried to stay current on the issues, he said he never imagined he’d eventually run for office. Now, Stensrud, 50, is seeking re-election as a Republican candidate for the House District 48A seat. He resides in Eden Prairie and owns a window cleaning business. He is married with three children.

“It’s been an honor to serve … the last couple of years and I look forward to the opportunity to continue,” he said.

Stensrud said he is hearing from constituents that they are worried about their employment or underemployment and their income. Many have a son or daughter who just graduated from college with several thousand dollars of student loan debt and lives in their parents’ basement.

Finding good employers is important to provide opportunities for these college graduates to apply their education right away, Stensrud said.

“How do we get more employers into our state and not moving out of the state?” he said.

Major challenges facing the state

Stenrud said he’s hearing from employers at companies that may want to expand or are entertaining a customer who may want to move in, that Minnesota is not as competitive compared to other states.

“We have employers with good jobs looking at Minnesota and choosing to go somewhere else and that’s for a number of reasons,” he said. “We’re just not as competitive as other states or other parts of the country and that really gets me excited.”

Stenrud said the reasons vary depending on the employer but he’s heard that the regulatory process is longer than in other areas. The state’s business property taxes also make the commercial cost per square foot higher than some other places.

The state also has changing demographics. The population is aging and the baby boomers will be exiting the workforce in the near future. The Legislature needs to look at what that will do to long-term revenue projections and where it’s at with its spending commitments.
Addressing the budget

Stensrud said he’s hearing the same thing he heard two years ago. People aren’t expecting huge tax increases right now and they want to keep the economy growing. He believes it’s important for the state to spend within its means and it needs to get a good value for its tax dollars.
“I don’t think we should raise taxes significantly to balance a budget. I think there’s plenty of opportunity to work with what we have,” he said.
Position on marriage and voter ID amendments

Stensrud voted to place both items on the ballot. He said he didn’t necessarily campaign on the marriage amendment but it is an important enough issue to go before the people for a vote.

People overwhelmingly believe it’s a reasonable request to show some sort of picture identification to vote. People are showing photo ID everywhere, Stensrud said. He gave personal examples of being required to show his photo ID at the doctor’s office or when he changed his cell phone plan recently.

“People want to know their elections are valid and they can have a good feeling of trust,” he said.

Keeping or bringing business to Minnesota

Stensrud said the state should keep an open mind and speak with business leaders about how legislators can help. They can learn what drives business leaders crazy, what drives their costs and what delays production or their projects. Oftentimes the state may have a good idea about a regulation or program, but it’s changed over time.

“It wasn’t intended that way but it’s morphed into something that’s slowing things down,” he said.

The following article appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 25, 2012:

Duckstad commentary: Council needs another strong voice for fiscal responsibility
By: Jon Duckstad, Candidate, Eden Prairie City Council

Dear friends, Believing the council needs another strong voice supporting fiscal responsibility while remaining focused on essential services, I am running again for Eden Prairie City Council.

During my tenure on the council, I helped create the Budget Advisory Commission (BAC) whose purpose was to add transparency to the budget process and provide taxpayer input on the financial decisions of the city. One reason I am running again is because the current BAC has been changed so it no longer is the taxpayer watchdog on the council's actions as it was meant to be. If elected, I will work to restore the commission to its original purpose and restore your right to have a say in how your tax dollars are spent.

I reviewed and right-sized city government staff resulting in cost savings to the taxpayer with no adverse effect on city services. This included opening up the bidding for city legal counsel that resulted in a cost savings of $60,000 annually to the city.

I also promoted and helped pass three years of zero precent budget increases while maintaining all essential city services, during which time Eden Prairie received a prestigious award from CNN Money magazine as the Number 1 city in the nation for our population size. If elected, I will work, as I have done previously, to continue holding the line on spending and focus on providing the services our city needs to grow and prosper. I will work to implement ideas and policies that would support my goals of reducing spending while maintaining essential services.

One way to reduce spending is by consolidating operations through cost-sharing services with neighboring cities. Some examples are: centralize the 911 dispatch center with Hennepin County, utilize Hennepin County assessor service instead of maintaining our own, sharing first responder costs with surrounding cities that have establisheed facilities near our borders which could improve response time and save tax dollars. This "sharing of services" will let us provide the city lower-cost services while maintaining local control. We could also cosolodate purchasing and human resource services to gain volume discounts.

Other avenues to save tax dollars include cost effectively privatizing commercial city services. As a customer, rather than a provider of the service, we can increase or decrease the amount of service provided, or change providers, in response to changing needs of the city or the state of the economy. We would not be saddled with maintaining facilities, personnel and equipment that increease overhead costs.

City staff payroll and benefits constitutes 70 percent of the budget. By right-sizing our staff through service sharing, using part-time employees or contractors for certain positions and using commercial vendors in a competitive marke, we can reduce costs and have more flexibility and choice in providing the best services possible to the taxpayer.

It is also important to maintain an "open door" policy at city hall whereby we invite city businesses to discuss their needs and find practical solutions to help them grow and prosper.

Eden Prairie deserves a strong advocate for fiscal discipline with a focus on essential services provided efficiently to all residents and my record shows that I have been successful in doing this. If you elect me to the council, I will continue to be the good steward of your tax dollars.

I would be honored to serve Eden Prairie for four more years as a dedicated public servant and I respectfully ask for your vote on November 6.

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Jon Duckstad is a candidate for Eden Prairie Ciry Council

The following commentary appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 25, 2012:

Aho commentary: Continuing to find principled, pragmatic solutions
By: Brad Aho, Candidate, Eden Prairie City Council

I’m honored to be the only candidate who has continuously served on our City Council for the past eight years, and I ask for your vote again on Nov. 6. During my tenure, Eden Prairie has received numerous awards recognizing ours as among the best cities in the nation – including Number One. As a council member, I’m proud to have played a role in keeping Eden Prairie exceptional.

Bev and I have been blessed to live here for more than 21 years, where we raised our three children. We were immediately embraced by our wonderful community, and we’ve enjoyed serving through our schools, sports, charities, church and community organizations. We thank you for your love and support.

While serving on the council, I have focused on many areas including our budget, transportation issues and responsible future planning. As the only engineer and business owner on the council, I helped champion a fiscally responsible budget with zero levy increases three years in a row and 0.9 percent increase this year, while maintaining our high level of services and Moody’s highest AAA rating. I also worked to make our budget process more inclusive, responsive and transparent. I initiated our Budget Advisory Commission which is composed of residents who independently analyze and make recommendations regarding our budget. During these challenging economic times, we right-sized our city government, implemented new and cost-efficient uses of technology and invested wisely in our amenities including upgrading our community center, parks and building a fourth fire station.

Eden Prairie’s general fund covers all our basic services including police and fire, street maintenance, parks/trails and general administration for our more than 63,000 residents and 2,500 businesses. We have over 120 miles of multi-use trails, 1,000 acres of parks, and 1,400 acres of preserved land for open space. We received the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting, and we support a scheduled level of maintenance with a five-year Capital Improvement Plan for all our capital assets. During my tenure on the council, we also established a policy regarding the use and size for our Budget Stabilization Fund, which is used to augment our general fund for emergencies to help manage fluctuations in the budget. It is critical that we plan responsibly for our future and allocate resources wisely, to continue our high quality of life and essential services, and meet the changing development and demographic needs of our residents and businesses.

Transportation is a key component to attracting sound business development that promotes job growth. As part of my council duties, I serve on the SW Transit Board and I-494 Corridor Commission. The I-494 Corridor Commission includes representatives from four neighboring cities. As part of my council duties, I currently chair the commission, and was able to help prioritize the 494-169 interchange improvements. During my tenure on the council, I also worked with MnDOT to complete Hwy 312 through Eden Prairie and with Hennepin County to improve Pioneer Trail and other county roadways. I have worked with the LRT planners and Eden Prairie residents and businesses to ensure that when light rail comes to Eden Prairie, it will be strategically located to meet the needs of our residents and businesses.

Responsible future planning, strong fiscal stewardship, and strategic transportation improvements remain my three top priorities. I will help keep Eden Prairie exceptional by continuing to find principled, pragmatic solutions to our city’s challenges. Please contact me with any concerns you have at (952) 303-6884, and view my website for additional information at bradaho.com. I thank you for your support and respectfully ask for your vote so that I can continue these efforts.

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Brad Aho is a candidate for Eden Prairie Ciry Council

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 25, 2012:

Questions president's language
By: Cindy Powaga, Eden Prairie

In less than three weeks Americans will elect the next President of the United States. Incredibly there are many voters who remain undecided. I suspect they are either turned off by the rhetoric and grad promises or they just aren't decoding the language of President Obama. I hope this letter helps them.

When Obama speaks of "shared prosperity," "economic justice," your "fair share," and "level playing fields" he is simply borrowing the euphemistic terms for the wealth confiscation and transfer objectives of socialism. If you don't believe me, just read anything by Karl Marx.

When Obama says he is fighting for "equality," he really means the utopian socialistic ideal of equal outcomes. When he derides the free market system of wealth creation ("You didn't build that") and wealth creators, he ignores the bloody and deadly footprint of socialism all over world history.

In Obama's world, "investments" are bailouts and higher taxes, and "cuts" are spending increases ... just smaller ones than he believes we ought to make. "Compassion" is government taking your money and giving it to someone else who is "entitled" to it. You will pay a lot more for his "free" healthcare. And Obama's 2012 campaign slogan of "Forward" fondly looks backward to the mantras of Mao Tse Tung and Vladimir Lenin.

Obama has revealed himself for the hardcore Marxist he is and the direction he wants to take our country. My hope is the "undecideds" will choose freedom and liberty and vote instead for Mitt Romney.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Stensrud, Romney support responsible government
By: Peter Bozanich, Eden Prairie

It is interesting to me how Democrats pick positions based on how much the people contribute to their party, and not by right and wrong.  If you make money, Democrats say you should pay more in taxes.  But if you happen to be the CEO of General Electric or you are a union-owned business, then paying zero taxes is okay.  The failed “green” company Solyndra wasted billions of taxpayer dollars before going bankrupt.  The owners, all heavy Obama contributors, are laughing all the way to the bank.

Democrats are willing to overlook their past leaders’ treatment of women while in office but can find a war on women behind every corner when it comes to Republicans. Voters that may vote illegally would probably vote Democratic, so let’s not look into voter fraud even though cases have come up in the news and vote counts have been higher than the number of people voting. Research from states with voter ID laws show no decrease in voting by senior citizens, but Democrats say let’s ignore that claim as if they believe Minnesota seniors aren’t as smart as people in other states.

Representative Kirk Stensrud and the Minnesota House Republicans crafted a budget that gave us a surplus, but Democrats want you to believe it’s his fault that Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed efforts to use some of the surplus to give money back to school system.  On November 6, please vote for responsible government: Kirk Stensrud for House and Mitt Romney for president.

Sources:

GM pays no income tax

General Electric paid no federal taxes in 2010

General Electric one of the top contributors to Obama

Obama fundraises with players in Solyndra scandal

No decrease in turnout due to photo ID

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Questions ads against Hann, Stensrud
By: Kevin and Angie Maire, Minnetonka

Is anyone else out there sick of watching anti-Republican political commercials funded by Political Action Committees (PACs) which are full of distortions and mistruths -- particularly against Senator David Hann and Representative Kirk Stensrud? The same sleazy tactics used against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker are now being used against these two public servants. It seems this election has produced an unprecedented number of negative television and radio messages attempting to convince us that so many of our Republican candidates only have a "hurt the world" agenda. Of course the only solution is to elect tax-and-spend Democrats to save us all.

Hann, Stensrud and their GOP colleagues must be doing something right, as did Scott Walker, because these PACs seem willing to go to any expense to remove them.

These same Democrats gave us the $6.2 billion budget state budget deficit and voted in 2009-2010 to take $2 billion from our schools then voted against paying it back to them in 2011. Had this same DFL majority been allowed to unite with DFL Governor "tax-the-rich" Dayton, we would all be writing much larger checks to the Minnesota Department of Revenue each year to cover their spending. And schools still wouldn't be paid back the money the DFL took from them.

These PACs seem to have unlimited dollars to spend to see the return of budget-busting Democrats. We do not need a return to the fiscal mismanagement of the DFL. Please send a message to these special interests by taking notes and voting against their intended DFL beneficiaries. Send these PACs a message with your vote: "Stop trying to buy our elections with Dayton's ex-wife's money funding distortions and false statements." Instead, vote for the fiscally responsible party which turned the DFL deficit into a GOP surplus. Vote Republican.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Questions McKendry's statements
By: Viola Danciak, Eden Prairie

DFL Senate candidate Laurie McKendrie clearly has little positive to say about her own vision, positions, or agenda in her run to replace GOP Senator David Hann. McKendry's misleading statements reflect her own lack of knowledge of how state government works, or assumes you don't understand much, or both.

Claims that Senator Hann voted to increase property taxes is a perfect example of this lack of government knowledge. Property taxes are set by counties, cities and school districts, not state legislators. Hann did not vote to cut the state budget, only voting to reduce the rate of growth. The most recent budget increased spending by $2 billion, but reduced the projected spending by $6.2 billion. Gov. Dayton was salivating to get out of this financial jam by increasing our taxes and continues to call for taking more of our hard-earned money to give to his political cronies.

The SD48 team of Representative Jenifer Loon, Representative Kirk Stensrud, and Senator David Hann refused to pass any such budget. As a result, Governor Dayton elected to shut down the government -- something only the a governor has the authority to do.

McKendry's claims that David Hann shut down government indicates a lack of basic understanding of how government works. Further, she claims that he cut spending on needy women and low income citizens. In reality, Hann increased it by $1.1 billion., just less than initially budgeted. Hann also increased K-12 education spending, voting for an increase of $100/pupil/biennium. To DFL blowhards like McKendry, spending one dollar less than they demand is a "cut" even when actual budgets are increased.

The DFL needs to be challenged to speak truthfully about Senator David Hann's considerable legislative accomplishments instead of demeaning his fine work. Go to http://www.minnesotahousegop.com/100-facts/ for the facts.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Hann is health-care reformer
By: John Tyler, Eden Prairie

Genuine innovation in health insurance an health care reform is desperately needed in Minnesota, and GOP Sen. David Hann, who chairs the Senate Health Policy Committee and Finance Committee, is providing that leadership. Hann authored the first of its kind legislation to reduce the sots and enhance coverage for the MinnesotaCare Adults Without Children population with incomes between 200 percent and 250 percent of federal poverty. This legislation called the Healthy Minnesota Defined Contribution plan addresses cost, quality, access and portability for this population, and recognized these four features must all be present in all health-care reform if it is indeed to be real reform

Hann authored the Health Care Compact Legislation which would have allowed for multiple states to allow the purchase of individual and group health insurance across state lines to enhance competition in the participating states, without giving up state oversight of local markets.

Hann authored the unified Premium Account legislation to help address the problem of people working multiple part-time jobs but not having access to employer-funding group coverage. By introducing the concept of "defined contribution," employers may contribute dollars to a single account that accepts dollars form multiple sources, making it possible for part-time workers to purchase affordable quality, private an portable health insurance coverage.

Health-care reform that enhances all aspects of care and coverage is complicated, detailed work, but Sen. David Hann is making huge contributions in this challenging area.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Questions attacks on Hann
By: Fred Koppelman, Eden Prairie

Senator David Hann of Eden Prairie must be doing something right in St. Paul. He is the target of a monsoon of negative DFL political action committee cable ads distorting and misconstruing the fine work he is doing there. The purpose? To portray the Herculean efforts of one very fine individual making every attempt to make a positive difference with his elected position as something sinister.

Remember the financial mess the Republicans inherited from their DFL counterparts in a $6.2 billion deficit? The DFL had everything to do with this irresponsible situation just as other states had around the country. Senator Hann is the chair of the Senate Health Policy and Finance Committee that oversees the fastest growing sector of state government spending. Given the current rate of increases in cost of Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare of 13 percent or more per biennium, costa are projected to double every 11 years. This means more government jobs and more people on entitlements. DFL legislators and the governor have a simple solution -- increase your taxes during recessionary times.

Senator Hann had a better idea -- and the moxie to back it up: Slow the rate of growth in entitlements to 5 percent. This is not a cut, but a reduction in the rate of growth to keep the programs solvent without raising taxes. So when you see accusations of cutting spending in the negative attack ads, please remember: Nothing was cut but the rate of growth.

And remember it was the DFL who spent us into a $6 billion deficit when you vote on November 6. So vote for the party that turned a deficit into a surplus. Vote Republican.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Grateful to Loon, Hann, Stensrud
By: Jack Haedicke, Eden Prairie

Eden Prairie and Minnetonka are represented in high places in the Minnesota Legislature. The near miraculous fiscal turn-around did not just happen. Inefficiencies were discovered in education, health-care entitlements and many more jajor programs. The hardworking team of Rep Jenifer Loon, Rep. Kirk Stensrud and Sen. David Hann worked effectively, dealing with complex pieces of legislation designed to streamline and improve state government.

It has been suggested that slight-of-hand accounting methods are largely responsible with erasing the multi-billion dollar deficit faced by our determined Republican team, but this was not the case. Rep. Loon and Rep. Stensrud sit on the House Commerce Committee and Sen. Hann actually chairs the Senate Health Policy Committee. Talk about being in positions to positively influence crucial legislation! And influence it they did.

We should all feel most proud of the contributions of Hann, Stensrud and Loon and grateful the result was not a tax increase. I don't know about your family, but ours cannot afford to send unnecessary dollars to St. Paul when better alternatives exist. The next time you see any of these three elected officials, please thank them for allowing us to keep our hard-earned dollars in our own possession. They worked hard to make that happen and have earned our votes this November.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Vote 'Yes' for marriage amendment
By: Bonnie Gasper, Eden Prairie

Our family visited the Vote No booth at the Minnesota State Fair in August and spoke with a volunteer for the cause. I asked him what the logical outcome of what constitutes "marriage" will be if they are successful in redefining the meaning of marriage. He said that concern was a separate issue. So, I asked him if marriage is indeed a right, then how can he deny that right to tohers who desire polygamous, polyamorous, even incestuous relationships as deeply as people of the same sex? Again, he asid it was a sepate issue.

It isn't a separate issue, because it reveals the uncomfortable truth that if marriage is regarded as merely a right and not an historical institution defined by God, understood and recognized as the union of one man and one woman, then anything can qualify. Anything.

I also asked since many companies now provide domestic partner benefits, what other marriage "benefits were unavailable to committed same-sex couples that someone couldn't remedy with legal paperwork? He didn't name any.

Society does not prevent same-sex or opposite-sex couples from cohabiting or forming long-term commitments to each other. They can and they will continue having the freedom to do so. However, society (as well as the courts) is not free to call those unions "marriages" when they are not.

And marriage is not a civil right. People with same-sex attraction have the same enumerated rights as every other American and they are protected by our Constitutuion.

Marriage is a unique institution that stands alone as the union of one man and one woman, and our government has a compelling interest to protect it. Please vote "Yes" on the marriage amendment.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Vote 'Yes' for values
By: Robert Lawrenz, Eden Prairie

The heated debate over the November ballot's Marriage Amendment has its sides in more way than one. At one level it is a fight for your yes or no vote. At another level it is conflict between those demanding greater fairness for gays and those fighting to protect core values.

Everyone wants to be treated fairly. Fairness to you, is whatever you feel is right - an emotional response. Fairness is subjective. Values, however, are core beliefs that you believe something is right or wrong. Values are already established making them long-standing facts; thus they are objective.

Being fair with gays is accepting each individual gay as God's creation. It is giving respect. It is recognizing that they are the smae as others except for this acting on their same-sex attraction. Gays need to be treated fairly. But acceptance is not the same as condoning their lifestyle. Traditional marriage, one man married to one woman, is a core value held by a majority of people. It is a long-held belief that has stood the test of time as being best for society and for our children. There is too much at stake to change the definition of marriage as an experiment in social engineering.

If you believe that traditional marriage is one of your core values, vote "Yes" for the marriage amendment on November 6. If you do not vote "Yes" under the law your vote automatically becomes a "No" vote. So there is no way to be neutral and opt out. The Marriage Amendment simply encodes the present law on marriage into the state's constitution so that the people can decide on this matter rather than the courts.

If you value marriage vote "Yes."

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Marriage should not be redefined
By: G. Johnson, Eden Prairie

Those apposing the Marriage Amendment want to redefine marriage. The long-time definition has serv ed civilization will. There is no other civil institution that provides in a natural way for the propagation of humankind and at the same time provides a mother and a father for the resulting children.

History has shown us that this is the time-tested best family unit. A plethora of serious studies has also demonstrated that children are better off when they have a mother and father. Granted, many children must get along with only a mother or a father, and in many cases that parent performs heroically. But still we shouldn't want to re-define the ideal of family to a single-parent arrangement.

It should also be kept in mind that homosexuals, who comprise approximately 2.8 percent of the population, do not all seek to marry.

But if society swishes to sensitively create some kind of special social arrangement for same-sex couples, it should do so. There may be good reasons that apply. But it should be recognized as something different from marriage, because it is different. Common sense and the laws of nature so inform us.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Voting no redefines marriage
By: David Saari, Eden Prairie

My "Marriage Yes" lawn sign was stolen. It was important to me. Voting "No" will not expand the definition of marriage. It will redefine it. It eliminates children from marriage and increases government control.

The No. 1 question that is asked when you hear someone is married is "Do you have any kids?" Marriage includes the potential for biological procreation. A physical inability or decision of a couple to remain childless doesn't change that. Eliminating biological compatibility will sever the association of children from marriage. It becomes nothing more than an adult social structure. If same-sex marriage is introduced, procreation is eliminated from marriage and will have nothing at all to do with it.

A change will empower the government to enforce political correctness. Take Catholic adoption agencies as an example. The church created alternatives to abortion so that birth mothers could place their newborns into an environment with the hope that their child will be raised in a traditional family. Faith-based agencies will be denied funding simply due to their religious beliefs and ultimately their licensing if they don't abandon their convictions. This is why such adoption agencies in Massachusetts and Illinois have a already closed.

Birth mothers choose where to give up their babies. Their choices are reduced when agencies close. With fewer choices, abortions are sure to increase.

A military chaplain has lost his chapel by insisting that it not be used for same-sex marriages. When will churches be targeted?

Because times change, traditional marriage times change, traditional marriage needs protection from judicial activism.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Supports Duckstad for City Council
By: Rick and Jane Norell, Eden Prairie

Jon would be an excellent choice for our City Council. We have known Jon for several years, and always found him to be very professional, highly responsive, and fiscally conservative. Jon understands the needs of Eden Prairie residents, and is highly motivated to be sure our hard earned tax dollars are spent wisely in areas that can bring the greatest results.

With the economy struggling and household budgets tight, you can be sure that with Jon he will be a great steward of your tax dollars, and treat them as he would his own. Please join us in voting for Jon Duckstad for City Council.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

I support Jon Duckstad
By: Don Opheim, Eden Prairie

I plan to vote for Jon Duckstad for City Council. As Eden Prairie matures and becomes a fully developed city we will be confronted with many new challenges. With new problems on the horizon such as light rail and transportation in general, staffing issues, and budgeting, Jon's open approach to government will be much needed by our city.

Jon and Brad Aho were the first to support citizen involvement in the budgeting process and that openness in our local government is just what we need going into the future. We all know what out of control spending is doing to our country and Jon Duckstad is well suited to helping us combat this problem in our own backyard.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Why elect Jon Duckstad now
By: Geoffrey Ferster, Eden Prairie

Many readers know Jon's background, his career - in the military (Germany); then as a lawyer, with recent years as an advocate for most needy individuals; on the City Council (2004 - 2010) and commissions in Eden Prairie and St. Paul. As a very active senior - Jon has the full grasp of issues faced by our seniors and is committed to look after their best interests.

Jon is fully "refreshed" and ready to join colleagues on the City Council. Jon is fully up-to-date on the main issues, challenges and opportunities facing Eden Prairie and the City Council. Jon Champions fiscal responsibility, He has a solid framework on budgetary issues -- but is not dogmatic, always open to solid fact-finding, rigorous analyses and clearly dialogues with members of the public and colleagues -- seeking to assess preferred practicable options. Jon is fully committed to use his expertise, experiences and communicate with members of the community, colleagues and those serving in city government -- then make decisions which lead to long-term positive results for Eden Prairie, its residents, businesses and all working within the city.

Most of us are aware we live in a city with a most enviable infrastructure and service improvements over the last two decades. Indeed, Jon is a strong advocate of Eden Prairie's quality of life by "preserving safe, friendly neighborhood maintaining the improving parks playgrounds trails and open spaces." Jon astutely recognizes the need for "City policies that foster business expansion and job growth."

Looking to the next years -- coping with relatively constrained city finances for competing needs -- planning light rail extension and allied opportunities to expand business and job growth -- we will be well served and benefit from Jon Duckstad's experience and "steady hand on the tiller." Please join me in voting for Jon Duckstad for City Council.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Duckstad supported arts
By: Bob and Deb Norberg, Eden Prairie

Our vote is for Jon Duckstad, City Council, Eden Prairie. My wife and I are strong supporters of Jon Duckstad. We have several children and now many grandchildren.

One of our favorite things to do is to attend musical and theatrical events that are free to residents of Eden Prairie.

Jon, as a past councilman, supported strongly the upgrade for the staring Lake Amphitheater With his support, we are allowed activities where we can take several of our children without the high cost of going to Valley fair or the Mall of America.

Please join us in supporting Jon so we can continue to enjoy the quality of life we have grown accustomed to.

The following article appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

City Council candidate: Jon Duckstad
By: Karla Wennerstrom, Eden Prairie News

Eden Prairie Attorney Jon Duckstad, 78, is seeking his second term on the Eden Prairie City Council. He first served from 2007 to 2010.
“I had an abiding belief that when you serve on the council, you’re a public servant who has an obligation at least to consider taxpayers, because it’s really their city,” he said.

“It belongs to the people that have to pay the bill.”

Duckstad often stood out as a “no” vote during his time on the City Council.

“I probably had more ‘no’ votes than my colleagues who I respect and like,” Duckstad said.

Duckstad received his bachelor’s degree from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, in 1956, and his juris doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in 1962.

Duckstad is an attorney, and practices part-time as an advocate for clients with mental health problems, he said. He is an adjunct professor teaching trial skills at William Mitchell.

Duckstad and wife Carole Jean have lived in Eden Prairie more than 10 years. Duckstad has four daughters, Marjorie, Patricia, Julie and Jennifer Jean, and six grandchildren.

What are your top three priorities if elected?

“One of the things that I would consider to be a high issue of importance would be transparency in our city government, which is I think needed at all levels of government,” Duckstad said. He said that the Budget Advisory Commission isn’t reviewing the city budget as it did when it first started in 2007.
Duckstad said that when the Budget Advisory Commission was formed, “it created a little sunshine, which is the greatest disinfectant. I think people benefit from knowing more rather than less.”

A second issue for Duckstad is the franchise fee on utilities to help fund road reconstruction. “I have no problem with the council recognizing a need to raise revenue,” Duckstad said. “I question the lack of total forthrightness in calling the revenue-raising device a fee, while it’s really, I think, a tax.”
Duckstad said it’s hard to say what he would have done, since he hasn’t been on the council for two years, but if he were on the council when the fee came up, he would have considered it on its merits, and if it was found to be necessary, “at least I would have called it a tax.”
The third priority for Duckstad is deciding what items are needs versus wants. He said items like roads and bridges, police and fire are needs, but items like acquiring heritage properties are wants. He said he is not so sure that preserving heritage is an essential government service.

What are the main challenges facing Eden Prairie?

Duckstad said that one of the major challenges is the route the Southwest LRT line will take through the community and the location of the stations. “I think that is a challenge to try to figure out where they’re going to end up putting the five stations and who’s going to be affected by it,” Duckstad said.
He said another challenge is to provide residents with the services they need without raising taxes to an exorbitant level. He suggested looking into the possibility of more cost-sharing arrangements with other communities, as well as privatizing some services.

The city just OK’d some economic development strategies for the next seven years. What do you think should be the highest priority?

Duckstad said that a lot of businesses want to come to Eden Prairie because it’s a first-class city. “The city has a lot to offer businesses that come here,” he said.

The market drives business growth, he said, but “the city can play a part by trying to keep taxes low rather than letting them rise so high that businesses might be discouraged from coming here.” The city can also avoid regulations or code requirements that are too stringent.

Duckstad said the city should be open to business owners who want to discuss a problem or grievance.

Is the city doing enough to plan for its senior population?

Duckstad said that senior residents want more transportation available.

“I’m also reaching the age where I consider myself a senior,” Duckstad said. “They’re also reaching an age when they want to keep taxes low.”

He said that he’s noticed that seniors living along Flying Cloud Drive near the mall are fearful of traffic as they cross the street.

“I have a concern as a citizen that the traffic that’s allowed to pass through the city on these highways passes at such a high rate of speed, I’m worried someone is vulnerable to not only getting hurt or hit, but killed,” Duckstad said. He said the city should consider working with MnDOT to get speed limits lowered.

Duckstad said that Eden Prairie is facing changing demographics. He said the city should be receptive to its older population and work with residents to help them maintain their quality of life.

Some councils have considered taking a stance on the marriage amendment. Should Eden Prairie have approved its Domestic Partnership Registry? Should it take a stance on the amendment?

“As a lawyer who’s been a problem solver for 50 years, I have some familiarity with law,” Duckstad said. “It’s my understanding that that is really not a city issue.” He said it might be a county or a state issue. “It has nothing to do with an operation of city government and therefore it’s an irrelevant consideration for the city,” Duckstad said.

What is your vision for Eden Prairie’s future and how would you attain it?

“My vision is the same as many or most people in this city,” Duckstad said. “I think we all have a shared vision that we have a tremendous city.”
Eden Prairie has a lot of lakes, open space and trails.

“I think the greatest thing about this city, in addition to all those amenities, is we have a city full of people that have a real strong sense of community,” Duckstad said. There’s a strong sense of volunteerism and wanting to help one another, which results in a great quality of life.

“My vision for the city is that this is going to remain because primarily we have people in the city that are really extraordinary,” he said. “If I get re-elected to the council, I would want to do everything I could also to strive to maintain the quality of life that we currently have. That’s the expectation of most of the citizens of the city.”

He said the city deserves its top rankings from Money magazine. “I was happy to be serving on the council when they made that rating, but I make no claim that I caused it,” said Duckstad.

Have you been charged with a misdemeanor offense or higher, or ever declared bankruptcy or been involved with foreclosure proceedings?

“Thank God no.”

The following article appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

City Council candidate: Brad Aho
By: Karla Wennerstrom, Eden Prairie News

Brad Aho, 53, is seeking his third term on the Eden Prairie City Council. He had been working to mentor a few individuals who had been interested in running for City Council, he said, but it wasn’t the right time for them. Aho had previously stated he would only serve two terms. “I did a lot of soul searching,” he said, and he received a lot of requests from residents to run for re-election.

For the past few years, Aho has been in a more conservative minority on the City Council. He said it can be more difficult to bring priorities forward that may be in conflict with other council members. “For the most part, we have a good working relationship, we get along well and we can work together,” Aho said.

Having a diversity of opinion on the council is a good thing,” he said. “I think it’s healthy. I personally haven’t minded it.”

Aho and wife Bev have lived in Eden Prairie for 21 years. They have three grown children, Amber, Annie and Austin. Aho received his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota. He started a business called Information Technology Solutions, which was sold in 2007 to Erickson Technologies. “I’ve been working with them ever since,” he said. Aho works in national technical sales in the dental market. He has also started a consulting company, which helps health-care providers set up electronic records.

What are your top three priorities if re-elected?

Aho said he wants to make sure Southwest LRT construction won’t interfere with business and traffic. “There’s going to be a lot of planning required to make sure that the five stations that are located in Eden Prairie make sense for business, commuters, residents and we plan the transit-oriented development around those in a very smart fashion so we can encourage development around them,” Aho said. “That’s a huge priority of mine to work on that and see that through the process.”

Moving the 35W/494 interchange forward on MnDOT’s priorities list is another priority for Aho.

“Currently that interchange is responsible for backups on 494 in both directions,” Aho said. “It’s backed up every day ... There are plans to reconstruct that, but it’s an expensive project and it’s not currently on MNDOT’s top list of priorities to do in the short term.” Aho is on the I-494 Corridor Commission. He said that group was instrumental in moving the 169/494 project forward and he expects it to be instrumental on the 35W/494 interchange as well.

The third priority for Aho was the budget. He said the city continues to focus on its budgeting process, working to maintain the high level of services and make improvements to parks and infrastructure, while planning for the future as well. He wants to keep taxes as low as possible while maintaining the city’s quality of service.

What are the main challenges facing Eden Prairie?

Aho said that the main challenges include planning for the location of the five proposed LRT stations in the community, continuing to provide a high level of services for not much increase in taxes, if any, and working with the immigrants in Eden Prairie to make sure that they are welcome and help them to access the things that they need to make them successful.

Should changes be made to the Budget Advisory Commission?

Aho said the envisioned role for the commission was for the group to analyze the budget in its entirety to find improvements and efficiencies. “The people that we have serve on the Budget Advisory Commission are really excellent people to do that,” Aho said. “They came up with a lot of good ideas.”

He said a suggestion from the Budget Advisory Commission a few years ago to consolidate the Senior Center with the Community Center was just that, a suggestion. “Some people viewed that as a policy decision,” Aho said. “I welcome the suggestion, it doesn’t mean we have to act on it.”

Aho said that the City Council isn’t asking the commission to give it policy direction. “We’re the elected officials,” he said. “It’s up to us to come up with the policy directions.”

The city just OK’d some economic development strategies for the next seven years. What do you think should be the highest priority?

Aho said that station planning for the Southwest LRT is the biggest change coming that will have the biggest impact on residents and businesses. Another item on the list is entrance monuments welcoming visitors to Eden Prairie. “I think it would be a nice amenity to add.” Aho also cited streetscaping projects and the Town Center area.

Is the city doing enough to plan for its senior population?

“I would say we’ve done quite a bit,” Aho said. “I think there’s certainly room for more.” He said the Presbyterian Homes redevelopment project will be a nice addition. He said the City Council recently had a town hall meeting with seniors to listen to their needs.

Some councils have considered taking a stance on the marriage amendment. You voted against the city’s Domestic Partnership Registry. Should Eden Prairie have taken that step? Should it take a stance on the amendment?

“I was the only one on the council that was opposed to the Domestic Partnership Registry,” Aho said. “The reason I am opposed to that is that I feel the state has that on the ballot this November as an issue. There’s a court case in Hennepin County that is ongoing. I think that it was not a good thing for the city to get out in front of that issue.”

He said he voted to table the issue to wait for more public input as well as the results of the state vote and court case. Since the city does not register births or deaths, it shouldn’t register marriages either. “It’s not a role the city should play,” Aho said.

What is your vision for Eden Prairie’s future and how would you attain it?

“We’ve been recognized by Money magazine as a No. 1 and No. 3 city and we want to continue to be top,” Aho said. “We need to innovate and we need to keep our city vibrant. We need to keep our city a destination for businesses as well.

“We can’t … sit on our laurels and let things stagnate. We need to keep things fresh and keep improving.”

Have you been charged with a misdemeanor offense or higher, or ever declared bankruptcy or been involved with foreclosure proceedings?

“No. No and No,” Aho said.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Aho an effective leader
By: Greg Albrecht, Eden Prairie

I've known Brad Aho for many years and have served with Brad in the Eden Prairie Rotary Club and other community volunteer organizations and in that time Brad's proven to be an effective leader - caring community-builder and principled council member. I am writing in support of re-electing Brad Aho for Eden Prairie City Council. Brad has a positive attitude, is hard-working, honest and has an open door policy for listening to residents' issues and solving problems with the fiscal responsibility of a business owner and taxpayer.

Being a business founder and owner, as I am, Mr. Aho understands what it takes to manage budgets while staying focused on service to his clients (Eden Prairie residents), and he sees the big picture of continuous improvement and fiscal responsibility. Brad is constantly looking out for the best interests of a few.

With his engineering background, Brad brings a unique perspective and understands the complexities that are presented, is educated to look for more than one way to solve a problem and has a logical, positive approach to building our community.

Another attribute I admire of Brad's is his family and his commitment to his wife, Bev of 30 years; and three children, all being active community leaders in their chose professions.

Please join me in supporting Brad Aho for re-election to the Eden Prairie City Council.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 18, 2012:

Support Aho to keep EP great
By: Matthew Carpenter, Eden Prairie

Eden Prairie residents should be pleased that Brad Aho is running for reelection to the Eden Prairie City Council. He has provided prudent leadership with an eye on fiscal responsibility that has helped Eden Prairie be named in 2012, by Money Magazine, one of the top 10 best cities in the USA to live. Brad has been a member of the Eden Prairie AM Rotary for years, contributing to our community through many volunteer efforts. He has also been a small business owner and knows the challenges and responsibilities that come with maintaining an ongoing enterprise.

In the current fiscal environment, with tight family budgets, it is comforting to know that we have a committed and experienced leader. Join me in voting to reelect Brad Aho. Let's keep Eden Prairie a great place to live.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 11, 2012:

Supports Kirk Stensrud in 48A
By: Steve Smith, Eden Prairie

Choice in Minnesota Health Care is made up of a group of individuals that believes in the sacred relationship between a patient and a doctor. The group looks for candidates that share this idea, and who oppose a government takeover of health care.

Recently, Choice in Minnesota Health Care wholeheartedly endorsed Minnesota House Rep. Kirk Stensrud in District 48A for re-election.

As a voter in this district I am glad that Kirk earned this endorsement. It makes me confident that he will vote for common sense health care reform. Next to creating jobs and improving our economy, nothing is more important in this election. Kirk once again is a champion for small businesses that employ so many of us in Minnesota.

Please join Choice in Minnesota Health Care, and me, with your personal endorsement, and better yet, with your vote on November 6.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 11, 2012:

Supports Aho, Duckstad, Loon, Stensrud, Hann
By: Jeffrey Simon, Eden Prairie

We are coming up to a truly major choice election. We will not simply be choosing candidates, but choosing the direction for our city, our state and country. A look at the issues, positions and rhetoric of the two sides is very revealing.

The general pattern is that conservatives such as Brad Aho and Jon Duckstad for the Eden Prairie City Council, Jenifer Loon and Kirk Stensrud for the Minnesota House, and David Hann for the Minnesota Senate all serve the interests of all of the taxpayers in their balanced approach to local government. I have had the privilege of getting to know each of these fine people and can couch for their integrity, dedication and hard work. As all are in office or have been, I have seen what they stand for through their actions.

How do they bring balanced government? They deliver a balance between the best that government can offer while at the same time realizing that government, just as every business, every church and every civic organization has to deal with limited financial resources. I have never, ever heard one of them say that an expenditure was so good that we should make our children and grand children pay for it because we want it now.

While the opposition may not explicitly make such statements either, in effect that is only because they want to hide this ugly part of their agenda. Their agenda seems to be to grow government and dependence, while confiscating an ever-increasing share of the fruits of the productive members of society, so they can “spread it around.” Just as at the state and national level.

Thus we have a clear choice in this election between responsible, good government, and the failed policies of the big-government dependency creators.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 11, 2012:

Special interest group lies about Stensrud
By: Kim Stender, Eden Prairie

I'm writing in regards to an attack ad on Rep. Kirk Stensrud. The ad repeats a lie this special interest group has used across Minnesota with claims that media outlets has investigated and found to be false.

The fact is, as reported by WCCO television on Sept. 17, 2012, that 32 percent of Minnesota homeowners saw reduced property taxes last year. Homeowners are expected to see another decrease this year according to a report by the nonpartisan House Fiscal Department.

I hoped that we could make it through the election year without false smears against local candidates. These ads against Kirk with "facts" so untrue that even WCCO had to call them out for lying mean my hopes are dashed.

I would urge anyone who wants to know where Kirk Stensrud stands to visit his website, www.kirk4rep.com. Next time you see one of these ads that lies about his record, do yourself a favor and change the channel.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 11, 2012:

Selcer not pro business
By: Carter Glendenning, Minnetonka

Based on a Star Tribune pro-DFL piece this morning and Yvonne Selcer's own Fact Check VIII from her website, she wants us to believe she is an entrepreneur, fiscal hawk, a big supporter of business and that her financial management would be respected by Mark Twain. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Truth is she has no chamber of commerce endorsements. She says she made a positive surplus for the Hopkins School District, but we know she borrowed for building maintenance costs and retiree healthcare. Can she point to where the state did that? She (and her surrogates) denies the state's report that it currently has a surplus and then declares there will be a deficit (based on the same state report) in the next biennium, implying we would both believe and disbelieve the report as she directs.

And she claims that she didn't get endorsements because she believes the state has a revenue problem. Then, she compares the bond ratings of Hopkins to Minnesota, which is odd because the state backs school bonds. Her answer to every problem? Raise taxes and spend more.

She's getting desperate because we now know who she really is.

Vote for the pro-business endorsed candidate who actually kept spending and debt in check, actually owns a small business and is a recognized champion of small business (NFIB award winner). Vote Kirk Stensrud.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 11, 2012:

Supports Hann, Stensrud
By: George Kissinger, Eden Prairie

The no votes cast by State Rep. [Kirk] Stensrud and State Sen. [David] Hann on the new Viking Stadium were the right votes and these two elected officials should be commended for their no votes in this matter. The new Viking Stadium is now reported as a $975 million dollar project and surely will cost over $1 billion dollars once completed.

This over-the-top, and frivolous, stadium expenditure is being made in a time of spiraling public debt, bloated tax burdens and the ever increasing size, wastefulness and intrusiveness of government at all levels. Mr. Stensrud and Mr. Hann are cited now for their commendable anti-stadium votes because this exemplifies their overall fiscal responsibility in representing the people and taxpayers of their districts and the state of Minnesota - something that must be kept in mind Nov. 6.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 11, 2012:

Vote for Stensrud
By: Dan Schultz, Eden Prairie

I am a freshman at Northwestern College in St. Paul. I live in Eden Prairie and I have known Kirk for 14 years. As a college student making many sacrifices in the hopes of getting a job in such a rough economy it's settling to know that there is someone fighting for our local businesses like Kirk, so that my efforts in college are not in vain. Kirk has defended our state's private businesses with his action in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Kirk has also impressed me with the way he wants his constituents' input and how he is such a servant leader. Since he was elected in 2010 Kirk has worked to answer every question he can, to respond to every phone call, every email, every letter.

Kirk is not a lifetime politician who has been corrupted by the ugliness of politics, but rather a small business owner who cares deeply for the prosperity of this state and specifically, the district which he lives in and represents.

I know my vote will go for Kirk this fall, But how will you vote? For business or against it? For a servant leader or one s\who has an individual agenda? Vote for prosperous business, vote in confidence, vote for Kirk Stensrud.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 11, 2012:

Support Brad Aho for City Council
By: Sandy and Mike Luker, Eden Prairie

We are writing in support of Brad Aho for Eden Prairie City Council. We have known Brad for over 20 years and have known him a youth hockey coach, a community volunteer, a businessman, a councilman, a father, a husband and a friend. We have great respect for him in the way he has performed each of these responsibilities. We believe he has made good, sound decisions for Eden Prairie and will continue to strive to keep Eden Prairie a financially sound city that is rich in all the qualities that make it such a wonderful place to live. We are voting for Brad and we hope you will too.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 11, 2012:

Reagan for individual freedom
By: Todd Carlsen, Eden Prairie

President Ronald Reagan had an optimistic belief in people and individual freedom. He used the word "freedom" over a dozen times in his second inaugural address. He optimistically told Americans to believe in themselves, believe in individual freedom, and reach to an optimistic future for all.

President Reagan's sunny optimism was contagious. He made entrepreneurs feel so good about taking risks and reaching for the American dream, benefiting the American economy and our prosperity.

In his autobiography “An American Life,“ Reagan wrote, “Every individual is unique, but we all want freedom and liberty, peace, love and security, a good home, and a chance to worship God in our own way; we all want the chance to get ahead and make our children's lives better than our own.”

Reagan's unshakable belief in personal freedom may surprise some people. In 1978, a constitutional referendum went before the voters of California to ban gay people from being public school teachers. The measure was well ahead in the polls - but then Ronald Reagan came out against the referendum, despite personal political risks, and the referendum failed. This was after serving as governor of California for eight years and shortly before his successful run for President of the United States. "There is no doubt in my mind that the man who put us over the top was California Gov. Ronald Reagan," said referendum opponent David Mixner. “His opposition to Proposition 6 killed it for sure.” Reagan personally had nothing to gain, except advancing individual freedom and the American dream.

“My mother always taught us: 'Treat thy neighbor as you would want your neighbor to treat you,' and 'Judge everyone by how they act, not what they are,” Reagan wrote in his autobiography. His spirit was deeply shaped by his mother's Disciples of Christ faith, which espoused an optimistic view of all people.

Ronald Reagan's burial tomb is inscribed with his chosen words: “I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there's purpose and worth to each and every life.”

Regardless of how we vote, let's value the goodness and freedom of others.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 04, 2012:

Supports Kirk Stensrud
By: David Webb, Minnetonka

As Europe and the United States choke on debt, DFL-endorsee Yvonne Selcer continues proposing tax increases and more government borrowing to spend on education and light rail. Future generations won't be able to pay this debt off, but DFLers don't care.

Kirk Stensrud knows this and that's why he voted to rein in $5 billion of state spending. This is spending that, if it had been allowed, would have remained in each subsequent budget cycles compounding out debt.

While every Hopkins resident now owes $3,000 or more in debt thanks to Yvonne Selcer, Kirk Stensrud voted to return over $300 million to schools and voted for approximately a $675 million increase in school funding.

Kirk's own children received their education in the Minnetonka system and his wife works for the Minnetonka Schools. They are a middle class family and know that an extra $3,000 in debt will crush families.

Stensrud has the right spending priorities.

Kirk strongly supported kids with his votes by supporting almost $1 billion in cash funding to schools in the current budget.

The DFL's solution at every level of government is to raise taxes and increase debt. However, remember that taxpayers will end up borrowing the construction costs to build, and will forever subsidize, the operating costs of all light-rail riders. The DFL makes little mention of actually growing the economy through the private sector, the actual engine of the economy.

And when it comes to the private sector, Kirk Stensrud's small business voting record has been recognized by the National Federation of Independent Businesses as outstanding.

Keep the right priorities at the Capital - spend within our means, get quality education through performance, not seniority and stop burdening middle income families with more crushing debt. Vote for common sense, vote for Kirk Stensrud.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 04, 2012:

Supports Brad Aho
By: Larry DeVries, Eden Prairie

Brad Aho has a record of service on the Eden Prairie City Council that is admirable. He deserves re-election to another term.

Brad's service goes back to 2004 when he joined the City Council. He has served since for two four-year terms. He was part of the City Council (2008 to 2010) that held the line on budget increases while retaining essential services. He used his business background to apply common sense to spending and taxation in those years.

Those council years were important in that the council then obtained efficiencies in government that would not likely have happened under councils with other agendas. Those city budget years required - each year - no city spending increases for services.

Prior city budget spending increases were on average of 6.2 percent per year. The "flat" spending budget for three years has provided a lower budget base of over $7 million because of that restraint. As budgets are passed going forward we are all benefiting each year from that lower city spending base.

Brad has taken an interest in transportation issues which are a top priority for state and local government. He worked with the Metro Council as a local representative in the I-494 and Highway 169 interchange project and has been vocal on other projects affecting transportation in Eden Prairie.

Looking forward Brad is most likely to be prudent with the city budget and cautious with spending and tax increases. He will look for new ways to provide services without tax increases. He is most likely to research and tailor innovative practices form cities in other states for use to provide efficient city government in Eden Prairie.

Based on his record Brad Aho deserves your vote and mine this Nov. 6.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 04, 2012:

Supports Jon Duckstad
By: Hawk Nyhammer, Eden Prairie

As a war veteran I want to go on record of support for Jon Duckstad for City Council.

As a war veteran himself, Jon represents our concerns for the well being of our fine city as well as the needs of our nation. Jon served with the Army on active duty and knows the hardships endured while defending our freedom. Jon supports the city's memorial and is working to establish how out vets can participate in funding it, while not throwing the burden on those who do not want to contribute.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News October 04, 2012:

Supports Jon Duckstad
By: Bob Carling, Eden Prairie

I'm a single senior, living in Eden Prairie. As a result, my main concern is transportation and access to local facilities.

As a councilman, Jon helped to develop an oversight committee made up of seven local citizens to investigate our concerns. Jon also supports the senior center, which we wanted to remain where it is as well as give access to Nature center and public transportation to shopping and recreational areas.

As a senior himself, he knows how to listen and understands that while we are on fixed incomes we can count on him to balance our needs with keeping our tax burden within our budget.

The following letter appeared in the Eden PrairieSun-Current September 26, 2012:

Our vote is for Jon Duckstad, Eden Prairie City Council
By: Bob and Deb Norberg, Eden Prairie

My wife and I are strong supporters of Jon Duckstad. We have several children and now many grandchildren.

One of our favorite things to do is attend musical and theatrical events that are free to residents of Eden Prairie.

Jon, as a past councilman supported strongly the upgrade for the Starring Lake Amphitheater. With his support, we are allowed activities where we can take several of our children without the cost of going to Valley Fair or the Mall of America.

Please join us in supporting Jon so we can continue to enjoy the quality of life we have grown accustomed to.

The following opinion appeared in the Eden Prairie News September 13, 2012:

We can't afford Selcer's leadership
By: David Johnson, Eden Prairie

Several people have written letters here praising Yvonne Selcer for her work on the Hopkins School Board as "responsible," "strong" and "effective." They claim we need her "leadership" in St. Paul supposedly so she can do there what she did in Hopkins. Let's look at the costs of her leadership.

Anyone comparing costs per student of various school districts would have a hard time agreeing with the claim that Selcer showed strong cost management. Hopkins School District reports a cost per pupil for fiscal year 2011 of $17,392. Minnetonka reports a $11,606, Wayzata $11,187, and Eden Prairie $13,496. And the Annual Financial Report shows that declining enrollment will mean this trend for Hopkins will continue. That's more than any of the other districts around Hopkins. Selcer managed costs, alright. She managed to rise them more than any other school district.

The Hopkins School District increased its borrowing by $100 million over the past 10 years in part to fund deferred maintenance costs. Fiscal prudence would have saved money to cover these known costs from operating funds like apartment associations do. Why didn't Selcer set aside funds for this instead of placing Hopkins in deeper debt and paying interest on the monies used?

Another $20 million was borrowed by the Hopkins School District to pre-fund employee benefits. Like the maintenance costs, instead of setting aside current money for this. Selcer placed Hopkins in even deeper debt and saddled taxpayers with even more interest payments.

It's this kind of DFL "leadership" in St. Paul that spent a $2 billion surplus and left us with a $6 billion deficit at about the same time Selcer was leading Hopkins into deeper and deeper debt. We can't afford Selcer's type of leadership. Keep the adults in charge of the state by re-electing Kirk Stensrud in November.

--------------------------------

Sources:

The cost per pupil is reported by each school district as an attachment to their comprehensive annual financial report(CAFR).

http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/123275/kirk-stensrud  Specifically:  HF 1752

http://www.hopkinsschools.org/sites/default/files/Hopkins_Public_Schools-CAFR-FY11.pdf  See Pages 38 and 72 for maintenance and page 39 for OPEB bonds.

• Hopkins FY 2011 Cost per Pupil page 139 $17,392 http://www.hopkinsschools.org/sites/default/files/Hopkins_Public_Schools-CAFR-FY11.pdf

• Minnetonka FY 2011 Cost per Pupil page 143 $11,606 http://www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us/administration/Budget/Documents/District_Audit.pdf

• Wayzata FY 2011 Cost per Pupil page 125 $11,187  http://www.wayzata.k12.mn.us/Page/3338

• Eden Prairie FY 2011 Cost per Pupil page 108 $13,496  https://webmedia.edenpr.org/District/Documents/comprehensive_2011.pdf 

Spreadsheet converts comparable districts to Hopkins standard of using Total Government Fund Expenditures.

The following opinion appeared in the Eden Prairie News August 30, 2012:

Thanks to Kirk Stensrud
By: Jeffrey Simon, Eden Prairie

I want to express my thanks to Rep. Stensrud.

Since Kirk Stensrud campaigned for the Minnesota House, I have had the pleasure of speaking to him several times at length. I have been pleased to find out that he is very knowledgeable about the issues and presents a clear voice for the type of changes that we need to get Minnesota back on the right track.

Not only is Rep. Stensrud conversant with the standard solutions to problems caused by the excessive growth of government, he has shown me that he has deep insight into both the philosophical underpinnings of good government and American principles.

I am proud to have supported Rep. Stensrud in the past, and I hope that everyone gets a chance to really hear what he has to say, beyond the sound bites.

I have heard some criticism from the other side that Rep. Stensrud has engaged in "negative campaigning." What is negative campaigning? The other side seems to think it is anything they disagree with. But that is not what negative campaigning is.

Negative campaigning is either an unfounded personal or policy attack not borne by the facts, such as that Rep. Stensrud is "against veterans." A look at his records shows him to be very pro-vet. As such he is the target of negative attacks, not the originator.

The following opinion appeared in the Eden Prairie News August 30, 2012:

Taxpayers should be grateful to Stensrud
By: Katie Fulkerson, Minnetonka

The taxpayers of Minnesota owe a $10 million debt of gratitude to the fiscally responsible Rep. Kirk Stensrud after an independent audit found that thousands of state employee union members and their dependents have been improperly receiving health benefits! There is absolutely no reason why taxpayers should be footing a $10 million bill each year for ineligible beneficiaries, especially when we're facing a $1.1 billion projected deficit in the next budget cycle.

The best part about the bill authored by Stensrud (and thankfully supported by Rep. Loon and Sen. Hann) is the requirement to "implement a process for ongoing eligibility verification" to prevent future waste and fraud. It's a relief to know that adults are back in charge in St. Paul and proper accounting should keep this from happening again.

Kudos to our Republican budget hawks for holding the state accountable to the taxpayers.

The following opinion appeared in the Eden Prairie News August 30, 2012:

From Obamacare to 'My Care'
By: John Tyler, Eden Prairie

Repeal and replace Obamacare with what? The answer is the "My Care System" recommended by the Minnesota Republican Health Care Task Force. Real reform will reduce cost and improve quality and access. The PPACA does not. The PPACA limits coverage choices to four, and where you may purchase your coverage. Costs of coverage will increase by 50 percent, health insurance actuaries tell us. Not exactly "reform." The Republican Party's "My Care System" focuses on the health-insurance and healthcare needs of the individual. This includes the following:

1. Individual health insurance policy premium to provide tax-parity for the individual. A 1040 federal/state line item deduction for the purchase of individual health insurance. This is tax-parity with the employer-tax deduction for the individual.

2. Utilize existing federal Health Care Compact legislation to allow states to enter into voluntary "Compacts so their citizens may purchase their insurance across state lines." Eden Prairie's Sen. David Hann authored such legislation that passed through the Minnesota House and Senate, only to be vetoed by Gov. (Mark) Dayton. Eden Prairie's Rep. Jenifer Loon authored legislation to allow the purchase of insurance across state lines, but needs the Health Care Compact enabling legislation to activate it.

3. Allow more flexibility in what individual health insurance actually covers instead of requiring among the richest mandated levels of benefits in America. Individual and group insurance premiums are driven up, in part, because of what the state requires they cover. Premiums might reduce as much as 35 percent if we were not required to be over-insured by state government mandates.

These common-sense ideas are being adopted by Congressman Erik Paulsen, Rep. Kurt Bills (GOP U.S. Senate candidate), Sen. David Hann, Rep. Jenifer Loon, and Rep. Kirk Stensrud as designed by the Minnesota Republican Health Care Task Force.

The following is an e-mail update from Rep. Kirk Stensrud, August 25, 2012:

Kirk Stensrud (48A) - Email Newsletter

Dear Neighbor,

We conducted a special session yesterday to approve a relief package after flooding and high winds damaged various parts of the state in June and July.

The package we approved is a $167.5 million appropriation to help cities, businesses and citizens throughout Minnesota recover and rebuild following the devastation they suffered.

Some key provisions are in place to ensure this funding is put to its intended use. First, unused funds will be returned to the state. The bill also states relief money must be used for recovery/rebuilding efforts and cannot be applied to additional projects.

I am pleased those key safeguards are in place. The state has a duty to help recovery efforts when natural disasters take place, but we also have a responsibility to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars.

There are two separate bills. The larger – for $159.6 million – is to help counties and cities recover from storms and flooding that occurred on or after June 14. These affected counties were listed on the Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster and include: Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Crow Wing, Dakota, Goodhue, Kandiyohi, Lake, Meeker, Pine, Rice, Sibley and St. Louis, and to the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

The other appropriation is $7.8 million to assist recovery efforts from July 2 windstorms. These counties include: Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, St. Louis, and Cass Counties, and to the Leech Lake and Bois Forte bands of Ojibwe.

The total price tag is approximately $28 million less than the governor proposed. If necessary, we could access existing revenue once we have a final damage assessment total.

Sincerely,

Kirk

The following opinion appeared in the Eden Prairie News August 23, 2012:

Keep Hann and Stensrud in office
By: Fred Koppelman, Eden Prairie

We've lived in Eden Prairie for 34 years and I have never been happier with the two people representing us in the state Legislature than I am with Rep. Kirk Stensrud and Sen. David Hann.

Minnesota has been under the thumb of the DFL's tax-and-spend policies for as long as I can remember. Finally in 2011 we have a Legislature that has said, "Hold everything! Let's start looking at the things that people need rather than satisfying each other's spending appetite."

Past Legislatures, all under DFL control, have spent and spent their way to a $1 billion deficit in 2007. As if that isn't enough, the deficit sank to $5.4 billion in 2009 and $6.2 billion 2010. How's that for fiscal responsibility?

In just one session with people like Stensrud and Hann, the GOP Legislature turned that record deficit into a $1.2 billion surplus. Kirk Stensrud authored legislation that resulted in finding 3,400 people receiving health coverage who were not entitled to it. This saved us tax payers $10 million to $22 million per year. This, of course over the objection of the DFL and some of the unions.

How refre shing to have a Legislature seeking out wasteful spending instead of trying to get their hands deeper into our pockets. We need to keep Hann and Stensrud right where they are. Vote Republican this November and keep the adults in charge of state government.

The following opinion appeared in the Eden Prairie News August 23, 2012:

Click on the graph above to enlarge.
Responds to recent letter
By: Krisla Berreth, Eden Prairie

A healthy debate is rooted in fact; not opinion. In Ms. Pryor's recent letter she laid out outlandish and misleading opinions. In 2007, the DFL-controlled Legislature squandered a $2.2 billion surplus in one year; and in four years, they bequeathed a $6.1 billion deficit. However, in just one year, thanks to restrained spending and not raising taxes, Republicans created a $1.2 billion surplus.

The same budget department that informs Minnesotans of a deficit is the same department that reports a surplus. This year, Republicans passed H.F. 2083 to fully repay last year's K-12 funds and also begin chipping away at the delayed funds we inherited from the DFL. Democrats voted against it. Republicans still passed it. Gov. Dayton, DFL, vetoed it.

Overall, Republicans increased education spending by more than $675 million this biennium and they already used $318 million of the surplus revenue to pay back a sizable portion of last year's shift. The state owes schools $2.4 billion; $400 million from the 201 session and $2 billion the DFL borrowed from schools in 2010.

The Republicans' proposal would have used $430 million from our projected $1.2 billion state surplus to fully repay last year's shift and begin paying down the K-12 shift Republicans inherited from the DFL. It is inappropriate for the state to hoard surplus revenue while schools borrow money to cover for delayed state payments, but that's what Dayton and the DFL chose to do. The DFL should have paid back the billions they took from schools and demand Dayton not veto payback before accusing Republicans of fiscal irresponsibility.

How can Ms. Pryor claim Republicans are fiscally irresponsible when the facts simply do not support that hypothesis? Only a desperate and morally bankrupt party would squander away the future of Minnesotans and distort the truth of it all.

The following opinion appeared in the Eden Prairie News August 02, 2012:

Traditional marriage must be protected
By: Jeffrey Simon, Eden Prairie

In a letter to the editor by Dan Daniels published in the July 19 letters to the editor, Dan asks "Who are we to decide?" relating to the Minnesota marriage amendment. The conscientious individuals of society who support good government to preserve the best qualities of society and civilization are those who have to decide what affects our lives.

Marriage has been traditionally defined in the social and religious context. In the last hundred years, government has expanded its role to include more and more elements of society which formerly were handled entirely by the people: by neighbors, church groups and other community institutions. But as government expands into the welfare of individuals, it needs to have control. Therefore, marriage becomes something relevant to welfare, as benefits granted by government and laws and regulations necessarily become concerned with such things as the marital status of individuals.

This never happened before you had a welfare state. In Western civilization we have never before seen the extent of this welfare state. As a consequence, the government wants to make the rules to a greater extent than ever before. Thus non-traditional marriage becomes a matter for government regulation and interference where it never has before.

For example, the paying of benefits to surviving spouses is just one example of the type of government activity that must be regulated.

How does marriage affect our lives? It is overwhelmingly seen that the most important determining factor in the economic well-being of an individual is whether they have been raised in a home with a father and a mother. Studies have shown that if you want to give your child a head start in life, the best chance for a good education, a good job and to avoid crime and drugs, you should aim for a traditional marriage. This single factor is more important than income level, home environment, school quality and any "head start" like program.

Therefore, support for traditional marriage is also support for the well-being of your children and of society as a whole. Non-traditional marriage may be good for the non-traditional, but it is not good for children. Sure there are stories of the successful, non-traditional families with children, but these are statistically insignificant.

When you look at graduation rates, for example, you see things like a 45 percent rate in areas dominated by broken homes, as compared to the 70 percent national average.

I am not in favor of preventing any two adults from engaging in any legal activities permitted by their consciences; I would rather have the government stay out of the bedroom. But marriage is supposed to encourage behavior beneficial to society as a whole, and giving children the best chance is the biggest part of that. So as long as the government makes rules based on marriage must be encouraged and protected.

The bottom line should be individual choice, but we need to educate parents to realize that the best prospect for their children lies in maintaining and preserving the traditional family.

The following opinion appeared in the Eden Prairie News August 02, 2012:

Stop defending Obamacare (Affordable Care Act)
By: John Tyler, Eden Prairie

In reply to "Health Care Reform Will Help," I can only say Democrats really need to stop attempting to defend the indefensible, meaning defending the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA/"Obamacare'). The subject is deeper than what is indicated in the author's letter.

To get the correct answer, one must first ask the right questions. "What do we want from real healthcare reform?" should be the correct question to ask, and let the answer be our guide to real reform. "Real reform" should enhance and improve quality, cost and access to treatment as defined by the person, or "consumer" seeking that treatment. Properly address all three priorities and an insurance mandate is unnecessary, defusing much of the legal debate over constitutionality and if the government can force you to buy unaffordable health insurance.

There are two things we know about the PPACA. One - it dramatically increased taxes ($500 billion over 10 years), and two, it builds a mountain of regulations and bureaucracy all of us, insurers, employers, medical professionals and sick patients will need to live, or die with. Does any of that seem consistent with the goals of enhanced cost, quality and access: Does it empower the patient to seek out the best health-care available using the coverage of their choice?

"Consumer-directed health care," which Rep. Erik Paulsen is referring to, is a patient-centered approach that frees patients to seek out the best in each category. The PPAC A is so onerous that 80-plus percent of physicians polled considered quitting medicine if the PPACA is allowed to remain. Why? Because the PPACA attempts to put us all on the equivalent of Medical Assistance (MA) as a means of expanding coverage to all.

The average office-visit reimbursement fee for a physician seeing an MA patient is $17 as compared to $54 for a private pay policy. What standard of care can we expect for $17? A decreased standard of care, if we can find a health-care professional to provide it, has compromised quality and access. Does a $17 payment really decrease the cost of the program providing it?

Compare the average cost per person enrolled on MA to private sector insurance, and you will find the average cost more than $500/higher than what one might find in the private sector that pays at the $54 encounter rate. Why? Because government bureaucracy is far less efficient than the private sector.

The Dayton/Obama "Exchange" is estimated to cost $145,000,000/year to operate. How does this reduce the cost of insurance, taxes or government? The exchange will also limit the coverage options we are allowed the coverage options we are allowed to four as compare to 70 now, track us should we lapse it and force us to buy coverage through it or tax us further. So access to insurance coverage choices is also compromised due to the PPACA. Decreased standards of care, decreased access to coverage and decreased access to coverage and decreased affordability are the fruits of the PPACA. How is that kind of "reform" helping, exactly?

The following opinion appeared in the Eden Prairie Sun-Current, March 06, 2012:

Our children deserve better return on land investment
By: Rep. Kirk Stensrud (48A), Eden Prairie

I was among the many Minnesotans who were recently alarmed to learn 2.5 million acres of land set aside to generate revenue for our children has been largely underperforming over the years.

This trust land was designated to generate revenue for children in our public schools way back when Minnesota entered statehood in 1858. The DNR currently is charged with managing these lands to secure the maximum long-term economic return for the benefit of our public schools.

Disappointingly, the state has not been living up to its fiduciary responsibility to maintain the integrity of this trust fund for our children. One legislator indicated that, while income from forestry on the lands during the last two years dropped, administrative fees had risen by 326 percent.

How is this acceptable?

We can and must do better. This not a partisan issue; it is about doing the right thing in the future. Better management practices can provide additional funding for our children in today's tight economy without raising taxes.

Fortunately, a bipartisan group of legislators from both legislative bodies has unveiled a plan to fix this problem. The proposal would create a panel of citizens and legislators that would oversee the school trust lands in the state. This removes the lands from the jurisdiction of the DNR, which was responsible for this poor performance.

The goal is to help us generate more annual income for state school districts from timber and mineral sales and leases. The key is to responsibly tap into the resources these acres provide to generate additional revenue while upholding the integrity of our environment.

Minnesota is not alone in facing issues with trust lands; a lack of transparency, conflicts of interest and general underwhelming performance has bogged other states, too. We are studying Utah, which has increased revenue generated by a similar trust fund from $18 million to $1.3 billion the last 16 years.

We owe it to our children and the taxpayers to do a better job of productively managing our resources

--------------------------------------------

Rep. Kirk Stensrud, R-48A, represents parts of Eden Prairie and Minnetonka in the state legislature.

The following is an e-mail update from Rep. Kirk Stensrud, March 06, 2011:

Kirk Stensrud (48A) - Email Newsletter

Dear Neighbor,

I invite District 48 residents to attend a town hall meeting I will be co-hosting with Sen. David Hann and Rep. Jenifer Loon this week.

The event will be 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 10 in the Large Room of the Eden Prairie Library (565 Prairie Center Dr., Eden Prairie).Our meeting will be conducted in a casual setting and we can discuss a wide variety of issues we face at the state level; our improving state economy is a topic I am sure will arise.

Your participation and input would be greatly appreciated and I hope to see you there.

Sincerely,

Kirk

The following opinion appeared in the Eden Prairie Sun-Current, March 01, 2012:

Sen. Thompson's 'Employee Freedom Bill' right for workers
By: Mark Ricci, Sun Newspapers

While we citizens work and struggle during these extremely poor economic times, it only makes sense that individuals would like to keep all they earn for obvious reason, and in the past few years, it seems more municipalities are even getting it -- keep spending at a minimum. They have been doing this by making difficult but still necessary cuts and by not approving increases in forms of compensation.

But if you are like many who just happen to work in a field and happen to be in a union, and you don't happen to agree with certain views or actions of your respective union, you have little to say when it comes to paying dues, dues that add up to very large sums of money to support those very political activities. To address those in the political sense is not entirely the issue, as there are many union workers who are not too concerned with politics as opposed to choice.

Well, they soon may have the choice to not pay dues for whatever reason they choose.

In early February, Sen. Dave Thompson of Lakeville proposed the Employee Freedom Bill at the legislature. Thompson was attacked as being anti-union and another "evil Republican" who is callous as all can be. The author of one letter accused the senator of wanting to "bust unions." This person also seemed to imply that Thompson's proposed amendment would leave citizens without the ability to bargain for decent medical benefits and put them at risk of losing living wages.

The facts of the matter are that none of this person's presuppositions will occur. According to the Center of the American Experiment, if Minnesota has passed Employee Freedom back in 1977, the personal income per household would have been up to $7,700 more per year.

But why let solid data run interference when one is trying to advance his ideas rhetorically, without substantiation?

I had the pleasure of speaking with the senator in regard to this very proposed amendment to our state's constitution. I like it, I support it, and I am glad that someone is advancing the cause.

It's quite simply an issue of choice -- not those evil corporations deciding for each and every one of us what air is safe to breathe. Don't worry, as I did not quite understand how such a link could be made when talking about being forced to do something you do not wish to do.

The Employee Freedom Bill would simply create equity among workers regardless of their chosen skill, trade, or field of work. It would mean that employees couldn't be forced to join a labor union and pay union dues. It's hard to imagine how one's mind could interpret such calamity in the event of one's right to make a simple choice regarding their welfare, and that of their families.

In fact, 70 percent of Minnesotans favor the state's being a freedom of employment state, according to a recently conducted survey by Public Opinion Strategies. This high percentage includes Republicans, Democrats, Independents and union members. (view at bit.ly/w6jwgm)

"This does not touch collective bargaining at all," Thompson said, citing the difference between the Employee Freedom Bill and recent legislative actions in Wisconsin and Ohio. The verbiage of the bill, which I've read, makes no mention whatsoever to collective bargaining or even corporations deciding what air we are to breathe - and I looked very closely for that one, believe you me.

Currently there are 23 employee freedom states, and every individual in the state would enjoy the right to join a labor union; however, it would be a choice and not forced upon any individual. What could be fairer than this? This is the country of fairness, is it not? I think I've seen more attempts at fairness in the workplace while viewing NFL replays after a coach makes a choice to challenge a play.

If common sense and logic prevail, as they so dearly do not most of the time unfortunately at the state legislature, the amendment would help workers who choose to stop paying dues to save hundreds of dollars per year, and at the same time keeping their benefits and pay.

It would also eliminate a horrible law in Minnesota that allows union bosses to take millions of dollars from the paychecks of state workers every year just so they can keep their jobs, so when you see "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to guarantee all citizens the individual freedom to decide to join or not join a labor union, and to pay or not pay dues to a labor union?" vote yes.

The following opinion appeared in the Eden Prairie Sun-Current, March 01, 2012:

Teacher effectiveness must be part of lay-off process
By: Don Heinzman, ECM Publishers

How teachers with tenure should be evaluated and laid off in a school system are hot topics at the Minnesota Legislature.

Republicans, who are in the majority in both houses, seem to favor a measure that would use test scores and teacher effectiveness along with seniority in terminating teachers.

Now, seniority (years of experience) is used as a major consideration in laying off teachers, or as is commonly known: last hired, first fired.

Education Minnesota, a union of 70,000 teachers, responds that 40 percent of the school district contracts now enable administrators to use criteria along with seniority to terminate teachers. While teachers about to be dismissed are entitled to due process, it is false to say that principals do not have the power to get rid of bad teachers; they are reluctant to use it.

We have favored making it harder for teachers to get a license, which they must renew every five years. This idea, suggested by Minnesota Education Commissioner Dr. Brenda Cassellius apparently isn't on the Republican legislators' law-making agenda.

By toughening licensure requirements, teachers would be more qualified to teach for another five years.

Those who favor watering down the seniority process claim it will get rid of the "bad" teachers, which they say seniority protects. Once again there is no data that tells how many teachers are ineffective, only that there must be bad ones, because they can't all be good.

The law now requires the definition of an effective teacher by which teachers must be measured. This is in addition to the demand that teachers must have a college degree, they have to survive three years of probation and be licensed regularly.

All this emphasis on ineffective teachers overlooks the good record Minnesota education has compared to other states, with its higher college entrance exams and high graduation rates.

Proponents of changing the seniority system claim that culling the bad teachers would narrow the educational achievement gap between minority and white students. It's important to determine what the gap is and where it is. The achievement gap compares minority students to white students in urban poverty areas of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth.

Those who have studied the data say students who live in poverty do not do as well in school as kids living with families above the poverty line.

The gap will only be significantly narrowed when policies at the local, state and federal levels are able to lift urban families out of poverty enabling their kids to do better in schools. All that said, the public along with leading educators believe the time has come to change the law so that teacher effectiveness as well as seniority are considered when laying off teachers.

The tenure law has served teachers and students well by recognizing that experienced teachers generally become better instructors and should be protected from arbitrarily being laid off.

The time has come, however, when as in any profession, a teacher's effectiveness along with the seniority should be considered in any lay-off decision.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News, February 16, 2012:

Questions Letter Writer's Common Sense
By: Al Krause, Eden Prairie

I'm responding to Terry F. Erickson's letter in the February 2 issue of the Eden Prairie News. Sorry for the delay but by the time the “Eden Prairie News” was forwarded to me precious time was lost. Mr. Erickson calls Rep. Stensrud's letter on reform:

“A Republican euphemism for: 1. Increasing the tax burden on the poor and middle class. 2. Cutting public services. 3. Helping the rich avoid paying their fair share.”

I would like to know:

1. When did Mr. Erickson ever hear any Republican state they were for raising anyone's taxes - rich, poor or middle class?
2. Why is eliminating duplicate government services "cutting public services?"
3. What is a “fair share” of taxes the rich should pay - 70 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent?

You don't have to be a financial genius to know that:

1. If you cut the federal budget it will take less taxes to meet that budget.
2. Private sector jobs create added tax revenue for the government while it takes additional tax revenue to pay for public sector jobs.

Please, Mr. Erickson, where is your common sense?

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News, February 16, 2012:

Remove teaching of homosexual theology
By: Mark Bell, Eden Prairie

As the Penn State child sex-abuse scandal grows, I ask myself how this deviant degenerate and disgusting man-boy activity exists, and in researching the 1992 studies by K. Freud and R.I. Watson, I discovered that homosexual males are more likely than heterosexual males to engage in pedophilia and that the average pedophile has sex with 20-150 boys before he is caught. A 1988 study in the “Archives of Sexual Behavior” found that 86 percent of pedophiles identified themselves as either homosexual or bisexual.

The American Psychological Association (APA) in 1998 published a study by three academics that concluded that sex between adults and minors might be a “positive experience” for the child. The U.S. House of Representatives voted 355-0 to condemn the study.

President Obama, with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on May 19, 2009, appointed Kevin Jennings to the position of Assistant Deputy Secretary for the office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. Jennings founded GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network), and wrote the forward to Letts and Sears book “Queering Elementary Education.”

Now keep in mind that GLSEN has had its members come into our Eden Prairie health classes since the mid-'90s and have had access to our kids and our facilities to set up so-called Safe Zones for “Questioning Youth.”

The president of the United States finds nothing unacceptable in this kind of education, nor do his friends at the NEA (National Education Association). The NEA has established the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender caucus and in 2003 the former NEA president Bob Chase gave a glowing endorsement of GLSEN and Kevin Jennings, saying “Schools cannot be neutral when dealing with issues of human dignity and human rights. I'm not talking about tolerance, I'm talking about acceptance.”

History lessons are even now being rewritten to acknowledge known homosexuals as heroes, not just for their achievements, but also for their lifestyle. Many of these new heroes are also on the NAMBLA (North American Men and Boy Love Association) List as practicing pedophiles. And remember Dr. Richard Green? He was instrumental in removing homosexuality from APA's list of mental disorders in 1972 and is now fighting to remove pedophilia as well.

It seems the radical left has infiltrated our schools here in Eden Prairie and is promoting their most cherished activity, homosexuality, but parents, if you wanted to you could stop this cycle of perversion planned for your children by simply redirecting your compassion and remove the teaching of homosexual theology from our school system.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News, February 2, 2012:

Responds to partnership registry
By: Jan Sotebeer, Eden Prairie

Regarding the City Council's vote on the domestic partnership registry: I'm committed to my grandmother, do I need to register? This seems to be a political move in my estimation. I'm just sayin' ..

The following is an e-mail update from Rep. Kirk Stensrud, January 27, 2011:

Kirk Stensrud (48A) - Email Newsletter

Dear Neighbor,

The first week of the 2012 legislative session is drawing to a close. We did not spend much time on the floor, but spent most of our time getting committees started. The House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee approved a bill related to Gov. Dayton's efforts to unionize daycare providers earlier this week. The bill stated that union dues and fair share fees could not be deducted from a parent's child care assistance payment. I voted in favor of the measure.

Another House committee approved a bill that would allow a county attorney or assistant county attorney to carry a firearm on duty, provided they have a state-issued permit to carry. This measure is in response Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell being shot while doing his job at the courthouse.

I will keep you updated as both of these bills make their way through the Legislature.

In the meantime, the Eden Prairie News ran a session preview this week, highlighting a number of issues with local importance. Click here to see the article.

Sincerely,

Kirk

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News, January 26, 2012:

2012 Legislative Session = Reform
By: Rep. Kirk Stensrud, 48A

The 2012 legislative session is going to come down to one word which is both simple and enormously complex: Reform.

The simple part about reform is we all understand inefficiencies exist in our government. We can make better use of our tax dollars if we find ways to eliminate duplication, stop performing unnecessary practices and work together across levels of government.

The complex part about reform is that change is difficult. Government has a track record of being far less nimble than families and businesses. Our state is till trying to adjust to our recession, years behind the private sector in making common-sense improvements.

Our aging workforce means change is on the way one way or another.

Reports show more Americans will reach age 65 in the next decade than the four previous decades combined. That will leave us with fewer workers supporting a greater percentage of non-working citizens.

Government revenue will slow more than overall economic growth.  The same crisis European countries are facing in paying for past promises will become an increasingly large problem here unless we take action.

I continue to believe we must shift the budget debate past the old limited choices of cutting spending or raising taxes. Our discussion now must include a wider vision to drive economic growth and help government provide better service at a lower cost.

I am addressing the latter with a number of bills I plan to introduce in 2012. One of the first places we can reform is at the Capitol to cut costs; more on that later. Other proposals reduce the size of the executive branch and trim the number of legislators.

Citizens deserve an opportunity to discuss whether 201 legislators is an appropriate number or if a reduction is in order.

Local input is very important to me as we prepare to make key decisions in these areas and others. Please continue providing me with your thoughts on the issues by emailing rep.kirk.stensrud@house.mn or by calling (651) 296-3964.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News, January 26, 2012:

We get what you elect
By: Kathy Tyler, Eden Prairie

Liberal social engineering. Have you had enough of it yet Eden Prairie? A previously-elected Eden Prairie School Board hired former Eden Prairie School District Superintendent Melissa Krull. Result? Liberal social engineering in the form of student busing across town to non-neighborhood schools, and a serious number of student transfers out of Eden Prairie to Minnetonka.

A new, more conservative School Board is now trying to undo that damage. Now, with the single exception in Councilman Brad Aho, the Eden Prairie City Council is attempting to give domestic partners the same status as married couples within Eden Prairie city government.

Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens portrayed herself as a Republican in her door knocking campaign efforts, knowing full well that associating herself with a fiscally conservative SD48 Republican Party, she would portray an image of someone much more conservative that she is -- even though the Republicans endorsed Councilman Jon Duckstad. Lukens chastised the Republicans for daring to endorse candidates they favored. The result -- Lukens defeated Councilman Duckstad for mayor.

The rest of the field of Ron Case, Kathy Nelson and Sherry Butcher-Wickstrom suddenly found fiscally conservative religion during recessionary times, portraying themselves during the last election as fiscally responsible in a manner they had rarely governed. Now, in a 4-1 vote, they are attempting to impose yet more liberal social engineering on Eden Prairie with the domestic partner issue, even though this will be on the ballot this November in a statewide election. Thank you Councilman Brad Aho for voting “no” on this domestic partner issue.

Message to Ron Case, Nancy Tyra-Lukens, Kathy Nelson and Sherry Butcher-Wickstrom: We need strong, fiscally responsible leadership now more than ever -- don't you have anything better to do than social engineering? Message to Eden Prairie voters: Please stop electing liberals to public office. We get what you elect.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News, January 26, 2012:

Take ownership of your government
By: David Johnson, Eden Prairie

The Republican neighborhood caucuses are an opportunity for area residents to show their support for our elected representatives and their support of fiscally responsible legislation. There is too much at stake this year to be spectators.

Do you believe we should have reasonable guarantees that felons, non-citizens and people who don't live in our district are not voting in our elections? Do you believe that a person shouldn't be forced to join and pay dues to a private union in order to get a job? Do you want to see the same financial savings to our state's government and school districts that Wisconsin now enjoys? Do you want conservatives and Republicans to maintain their majorities in the State Legislature to enact these common-sense ideas?

Then the first step is to come to the Republican Party precinct caucuses and begin participating in your government. If you don't get involved in the caucus and beyond to lend your voice to the call for fiscally responsible legislation and conservative values then the only voices involved will be those we heard in the Occupy Wall Street protests. Do they speak for you?

Then come to the Eden Prairie Republican caucus at the East Commons of the Eden Prairie High School on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 6PM. You need to know what precinct you live in. To find out go to: www.sd48gop.com. If you don't take ownership of your government, just look at an OWS rally and see who will.

The following is an e-mail update from Rep. Kirk Stensrud, January 20, 2011:

Kirk Stensrud (48A) - Email Newsletter

Dear Neighbor,

The 2012 legislative session is going to come down to one word which is both simple and enormously complex: Reform. The simple part about reform is we all understand inefficiencies exist in our government. We can make better use of our tax dollars if we find ways to eliminate duplication, stop performing unnecessary practices and work together across levels of government.

The complex part about reform is that change is difficult. Government has a track record of being far less nimble than families and businesses. Our state is still trying to adjust to our recession, years behind the private sector in making common-sense improvements.

Our aging workforce means change is on the way one way or another. Reports show more Americans will reach age 65 in the next decade than the four previous decades combined. That will leave us with fewer workers supporting a greater percentage non-working citizens.

Government revenue will slow more than overall economic growth. The same crisis European countries are facing in paying for past promises will become an increasingly large problem here unless we take action.

I continue to believe we must shift the budget debate past the old limited choices of cutting spending or raising taxes. Our discussion now must include wider vision to drive economic growth and help government provide better service at a lower cost.

I am addressing the latter with a number of bills I plan to introduce in 2012. One of the first places we can reform is at the Capitol complex itself. A bill I've authored revamps back-office procedures at the Capitol to cut costs; more on that later. Other proposals reduce the size of the executive branch and trim the number of legislators. Citizens deserve an opportunity to discuss whether 201 legislators is an appropriate number or if a reduction is in order.

Local input is very important to me as we prepare to make key decisions in these areas and others. Please continue providing me with your thoughts on the issues by emailing rep.kirk.stensrud@house.mn or by calling (651) 296-3964

Sincerely,

Kirk

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News, January 12, 2012:

Vote no on domestic partnership registry
By: Fred Koppelman, Eden Prairie

“Eden Prairie is set to create a domestic partnership registry.” So starts an article in the last issue of the Eden Prairie News. My first thought was, “What the heck is a domestic partnership registry?” Checking into the issue, I discovered that there is a group of activists that have been attempting to obtain ordinances in cities throughout Minnesota creating “Domestic Partnership Registries” at the city level. The effort seems to be to circumvent some decisions forthcoming from higher levels of government.

Our Legislature has placed the definition of marriage as a constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot. A recent Hennepin County court case concerning the issue of same-sex relationships was dismissed. This is a real hot-button issue, let's not jump the gun and try to bypass the will of the people.

The Eden Prairie City Council approved the “first reading” on January. 3. It's due to come up for a “second reading” at the Jan. 17 City Council meeting. If the majority votes “aye,” it will become an Eden Prairie City Ordinance which would suggest that most of us Eden Prairie-ites agree with establishing a “Domestic Partnership Registry” and I don't think that's the case. Most everybody knows that the vast majority of Minnesotans would define marriage as between one man and one woman.

I would hope that the council would vote “No” on this issue, or at least table it, but I'm afraid that, unless a lot of us go to that meeting on January 17 and voice our opinions, they will approve it. There was a time, not so long ago, when the City Council was representative of the people of Eden Prairie. I'm afraid that's not the case anymore. Cities are supposed to see to things like plowing know when it snows, putting out fires, providing police protection, etc. Otherwise, leave us alone. We don't need them to “work for the freedom of all of our residents to pursue happiness.” That, we can take care of ourselves!

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News, January 05, 2012:

Reverse the failed policy
By: Scott Ruthford, Eden Prairie

I have heard many times that the recent School Board election was about restoring transparency, accountability, and providing better engagement with the stakeholders. That was definitely part of what this election was about and those things are important, but in a typical School Board those things should be a given. Let's be honest about what this election was really about.

A radical boundary change and grade transformation was implemented with almost universal opposition from the community, followed by a School Board election with record turnout where the four candidates voicing the most opposition to the boundary change and grade transformation got almost triple the votes of the four others. I would say that's a pretty clear mandate to reverse this policy, wouldn't you?

I support the new board majority when they say they will review the data and weigh the pros and cons before a decision is made, but actually the results are already in. Enrollment is down, the building capacity and diversity targets were not met, and diversity in grades five and six is guaranteed to be reduced. This was all easily predicted by those of us who opposed this policy.

Furthermore, the community has provided the district and the School Board overwhelming evidence that using boundary-based forced school assignment is the least effective method to narrow the achievement gap. The few on the fringe who disagree, like [former Superintendent Melissa] Krull and [Myron] Orfield are way outside the mainstream of current education policy.

Majorities can be short lived. The time is now to reverse the transformation and the non-contiguous boundaries to to the extent that is reasonably possible given existing building capacities. Then let's work on incentive-based, school choice policies that have been proven to best address the achievement gap. Will it really be a radical, disruptive change to move our children back to a school and a group of friends they had less than a year ago? The sooner we can reverse this failed policy the better.

The following letter appeared in the Eden Prairie News, January 05, 2012:

Obamacare blocks economic recovery
By: John Tyler, Eden Prairie

A reader recently wrote praising Obamacare because they were able to obtain preventative care coverage on their individual policy, and other coverage benefits. As a licensed health agent, I can tell readers that preventative care and the other benefits mentioned were available in Minnesota pre-Obamacare.

The issue is much larger than indicated by the writer. The writer indicated it wasn't such a bad law and really was health-care “reform.” I'm afraid the writer hasn't been paying attention to the reality of the impact of this oppressive law upon America. Has the writer noticed we are in the middle of a national and statewide recession?

The most recent front page of a local newspaper announced that Minnesota has lost yet another 7,400 jobs to the recession. Obamacare is one of the primary causes blocking economic recovery, and presents the greatest threat to job creation and our future state and national fiscal sustainability. This estimated $2.6 trillion legislation, with its far-reaching regulations and government mandates, is causing havoc and uncertainty for states, businesses and American families.

Recently a federal judge in Pennsylvania joined the growing number of federal judges and appellate courts that have struck down all or part of this health-care “reform” law. So far, 28 states are suing the federal government, challenging the law's constitutionality. Regardless of the legal uncertainty surrounding this legislation, this administration continues to spend billions of dollars implementing a law that may be struck down by the Supreme Court.

Though not yet fully in place, small businesses are finding this law's mandates and regulations a huge obstacle to growing their businesses and hiring. Businesses are still experiencing unprecedented premium increases due to Obamacare's mandate-compliance rules. As a result of this law, all Minnesota individual health insurance carriers have stopped writing stand-alone individual coverage for children because of the guaranteed-issue without pre-existing limitations. Once these rules are in place for all in 2014, there is no guarantee individual coverage products will be available to anyone. Only the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, the state's high-risk pool, is willing to write these policies, and it has only a limited menu of very expensive plans to offer.

Misguided federal employer penalties for not carrying health insurance coverage is likely to have the opposite effect than intended. A study by McKinsey & Co. estimates one in three businesses will drop employee health insurance and opt to pay the law's fines, forcing their employees to find “government-approved” insurance on their own, if they can.

More than 6,000 pages of new regulations have been issued by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to implement Obamacare “reform.” An estimated $500 billion in new taxes on premiums, and medical supplies and services are included in this law.

It should be no surprise that the more people see of Obamacare, the less they like it, including Congressman Erik Paulsen. Congressman Paulsen was certainly right, along with his GOP colleagues, to pass legislation to repeal this terrible law before the damage and cost to America are beyond repair.

MORE INFORMATION ON OBAMACARE


List of 28 states suing to stop Obamacare:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming


Major Obamacare waiver recipients and their membership:• Carpenters Health and Welfare Fund (20,500)
• Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 25 (31,000)
• Darden Restaurants (34,000)
• Aetna (209,423)
• CIGNA (265,000)
• United Federation of Teachers (351,000)

Union members represent 43.1 percent of the 2,443,047 enrollees included in these waivers.


Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla: “Obamacare was sold as all benefit -- no downside. And now 2.5 million people literally need to be protected from the devastating effects of Obamacare.”


Betsy McCaughey, president of Defend Your Healthcare: “The very interests who supported this law and helped ram it through Congress are now applying for waivers. If government has the power to grant waivers, it has the power to deny them and destroy any business. Americans never should have to slink and slither to the White House for exemptions, like supplicants.”

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