Kresha, Simmonds vye for House 9B seat

Incumbent Ron Kresha and challenger Dustin Simmonds will be on the ballot for the Minnesota House of Represenatives District 9B.

Ron Kresha

1. Summarize your personal background and qualifications.

I began my career as a teacher, coach and technology director before I helped launch an online learning company in Little Falls. Eight years ago I transitioned to a online economic development firm where I am today. I’m married 22 years with five children. 

2. What will your top priority be if elected?

As the vice-chair of Education Finance and the chair of the Child Protection Task Force, my priorities have always been helping children reach their full potential. If we focus on our children and improving generational success, we can see communities grow and prosper. 

3. What are your views on the budget bill that was not passed this past session? What should have been done to get both sides to agree on the bill? 

In the House we passed the tax bill, transportation and bonding bill with over 90 percent of the votes. That is strong bipartisan effort and speaks of the work done to get that bill passed. However, I cannot control the actions of the Governor and he chose politics instead of helping us get the tax bill passed. That is a lack of leadership. If reelected, I will continue to work with other legislators to pass good legislation. And I will continue to make the case to our Governor. 

4. Should the legislature make changes to MNsure, the state health care exchange? Why or why not? What specific changes would you make?

We need to reduce the MNsure tax by half, saving Minnesotans $22 million, and use $35 million in leftover MCHA funds to offset rising premiums. As I have done in the past, I will fight to reform the failed MNsure system and push for long-term solutions. 

Dustin Simmonds

1. Summarize your personal background and qualifications. 

I grew up in Little Falls, shared the struggles of my friends and family. I developed a desire for public service as I wanted to show people we have a future to be proud of here. I have dedicated my life to this mission of fighting for the people of our community. I was Chairman of the Little Falls Youth Task Force, Co-founder and Vice Chair of the College Democrats of Minnesota and Treasurer of the Young Democrats of America’s Rural Caucus. This with my education at the University of Minnesota affords me a firm understanding of policy and political procedure.

2. What will your top priority be if elected?

The steps I will take to help you. Three priorities will keep us moving forward. First we will invest in our state’s workers by dedicating more resources to ensuring workers in our rural areas are trained to respond to our worker shortage. Second, you will see our Local Government Aid back at 2002 levels to keep local taxes low and support our vital community services. Finally, our investments in our infrastructure will give Minnesota an economic edge. Keeping our roads and bridges safe allows our businesses to get their products to market, this includes doubling our efforts to expand broadband.

3. What are your views on the budget bill that was not passed this past session? What should have been done to get both sides to agree on the bill? 

The end of the last session was a mess. We expect our leaders to come together and make the necessary choices to pass productive legislation. Our leaders failed that test this last session. We need new elected officials who prioritize their constituents over party allegiance. To paraphrase the words of JFK, we need to accept responsibility for the future, not fixate on placing blame for the past. Republicans could have allowed the Metro to raise their own money for the light rail project in exchange for tax relief. This would have been a win-win for both parties, Democrats want to invest in infrastructure and Republicans want to lower taxes on business. Minnesota desperately needs both of these along with all of the other items in the bonding and tax bills. What is perhaps the most alarming part of this whole past session is the lack of lessons taken away from it. The people of Minnesota are calling for an end to the pettiness and lassitude. I promise to work to build bridges across the aisle because we aren’t looking for the super right or left policies, we want policies that work. We are stronger together.

4. Should the legislature make changes to MNsure, the state health care exchange? Why or why not? What specific changes would you make?

We need to respond quickly as we see premiums increasing exponentially. We need bold new ideas to ensure Minnesota reclaims its role as a healthcare pioneer. Starting in 2017, Minnesota can begin providing innovative policy ideas to address the challenges of healthcare in our state. The governor has called for research into the creation of a Single Payer Health Care system in Minnesota. Providing that it looks to be a good deal for the people of our state, I support the creation of such a system. It would save our state nearly $190 billion dollars over ten years, an average savings of $1,362 a year. Challenging times demand bold and decisive action, FDR once said this country demands bold persistent experimentation. If it fails, admit it frankly and try again, but most importantly try something.

Staples World

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