Legislative District 40A: Jobs play big role in House campaign

Candidates disagree on how state can best help bring them back
By Jessica Fleming
jfleming@pioneerpress.com

In District 40A, candidates for the Minnesota Legislature are mostly focused on one thing:  jobs.

All three contenders say it’s important to help create them, but they differ on how to do it.

Rep. Will Morgan, 43, who is running for his third term, said his conversations with constituents have a running theme.

“People are nervous,” he said. “They’re wondering when things are going to turn around, and I’m telling them I’m going to work with businesses.”

Morgan, a Democratic-Farmer-Laborite, said that he’s worked on some targeted tax credits in Burnsville and that he intends to push for more ways to help businesses grow.

Republican Pam Myhra, 53, said voters she has spoken with are hurting.

“It seems to have hit just about everybody,” Myra said. “Everyone is having to take a close look at their budgets. Our family budget took a hit, so we reduced our spending. Government needs to do the same thing.”

Myhra said she was against increasing taxes and would even be for cutting taxes on businesses.

“We need to have a more business-friendly environment,” she said.

Constitution Party candidate Bruce Johnson, 45, also said he favors reducing corporate taxes to “bring back businesses and high-quality jobs to our state.”

“This would help create more spending money and help jump start our economy,” he said.

The candidates:

Will Morgan (Dfl), 43 / City: Burnsville

Family: Wife, Denise; three sons, Jack, Sam and Charlie

Education: Bachelor’s degree in physics, Carleton College; master’s in education, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota

Occupation: Science teacher, Burnsville High School

Relevant experience: As a teacher, I have the experience to know what actually helps our students achieve in the classroom. As a contract negotiator, I have experience working with others to find common ground and compromise. As a sitting legislator, I know the significance of the challenges that face us.

If budget cuts were needed, what would you cut? We must look at every line of the budget to end programs that are not working, eliminate waste and fraud, and refocus on the core missions of state government: education, transportation, public safety and public health. We must act with the long-term prosperity of our state in mind.

Why vote for you? I understand that the solutions to the challenges we face will be found in the middle, not at the extremes. Our community expects its leaders to find common ground to continue to make Burnsville and Savage great places to live, work and raise a family.

Contact: www.votewillmorgan.com; 952-707-8866

Bruce Johnson (Cp), 45 / City: Burnsville

Family: Married

Education: Inver Hills Community College

Occupation: Operations manager

Relevant experience: A member of the executive committee and district chairman of the Constitution Party. Also, more than 20 years of experience as an operations manager, working to solve problems.

If budget cuts were needed, what would you cut? I would merge the three child care assistance programs into one for efficiency. This would save us $21.3 million. I would recommend selling state-owned excess land, such as Giant Ridge Golf and Ski Resort. This could bring in $60 million, plus property tax collection of $762,000/year.

Why vote for you? Because I believe that building democracy and choices for voters outside the two-party monopoly is our right as Americans. Also, help reduce corporate taxes to bring high-quality jobs back to Minnesota.

Contact: www.johnsonformnhouse.com

Pam Myhra (Gop), 53 / City: Burnsville

Family: Husband, Chuck Myhra; three children

Education: Burnsville High School graduate; Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas

Occupation: Currently candidate for Minnesota House of Representatives; educator, retired; certified public accountant, inactive; former manager at the international public accounting firm KPMG

Relevant experience: Extensive business, accounting, and management experience with specialties in banking, insurance, government, and public and private companies; served in a variety of community volunteer leadership roles including teen community service group coordinator, parenting class teacher, and girls club director; a graduate of the Minnesota Excellence in Public Service Series.

If budget cuts were needed, what would you cut? State revenues are projected to increase seven percent while projected spending is expected to increase over 25 percent. State government needs to live within its means. Spending priorities should focus on fair funding for K-12 education; health and human services for children, vulnerable adults, and seniors; public safety; and infrastructure.

Why vote for you? My priorities are sensible state spending within its means, creating an economic environment where businesses start, stay and create jobs in Minnesota, and the protection of family incomes. I have extensive business and management experience, I am characterized by my dedicated and effective service to others, and willingness to listen.

Contact: www.pamforhouse.com; 952-894-0544