Posted: 04/24/06 22:35, Edited: 04/25/06 07:55
by Dave Mindeman
From time to time, we hope to introduce some of the newer legislative candidates to visitors of this site. There are some very good ones out there who aren't very well known....yet.
Today we are posting an interview with John Doll, the DFL candidate for Senate in District 40. John is running against long time Republican incumbant, William Belanger. District 40 comprises parts of Bloomington and Burnsville. This is our interview:
John, your in District 40 (Bloomington and Burnsville) which is divided between 2 different Congressional districts (District 2 and District 3). Do you see any special advantages or disadvantages to that situation?
Dave, I don?t know that there are any special advantages or disadvantages. I do see some special challenges. In order to service my entire district I must work with two different congressional district units. In CD 2 I have a relationship with many of the key players, whereas in CD 3 I am a small fish in a big and crowded pond. It will take extra effort to establish the type of relationships I need to earn confidence and attention from that district. I see that as a good training ground for a ?freshman pilgrim? to practice his pitch. The other challenge I anticipate will come when CD2 and CD3 have their conventions. Both are on the same day. One in Faribault, the other in Eden Prairie. I?m good at a lot of things, but being two places at the same time is a challenge.
Tell me what, you feel, are the biggest differences between you and your opponent on policy issues.
The biggest and most obvious difference between my opponent and myself is our experience level. He has been in public office for 40 years, 26 of those years as State Senator. I am a newcomer to the political scene. That distinction is important and is one of the key reasons I am running against him. No public office was meant to be a lifetime appointment. Frankly, I do not believe anyone can be effective in office once he or she expects reelection. The hunger, the perseverance and the drive is sorely lacking; replaced by the arrogance of power. Effective and innovative ideas are weighted down by compromises and promises made to colleagues and special interests over the years. Token name recognition wins out over inspired volunteerism.
There is yet another distinction: my opponent and I see the challenges facing our communities differently, as well as the solutions to those challenges. I see my opponent as one of the reasons we are in the situation we are now in, I see him as part of the problem. Because of that, he is unable to bring ideas to the table that can solve the problem. On the other hand, I bring fresh new perspectives to issues important to all of us. Issues like health care that work for all Minnesotans, an energy policy that breaks us of our dependence on fossil fuels and very few options, transportation solutions that bring us into the 21st century, and really addressing the needs of our education system so that we can truly compete, succeed and lead in this emerging global marketplace.
Can you give us a general overview of your campaign? What's in place and what do you still need.
Dave, thank you for asking about the campaign. On March 2, 2006 I visited the DFL caucus and expressed my desire to run for public office. Sixteen days later I was endorsed by the Senate District. So my campaign is barely a month old. It is however moving along nicely. My website is up and running. I have a committee in place. Money is coming in. I am getting some exposure. Volunteers are starting to come forward. I need a couple of things at this time, though. I need a good volunteer coordinator. I need a lot more contributions. And I need several pairs of good walking shoes. (I will take care of the shoes!) Can you help with any of these?
We'll work on finding that help. Right now, give me your quick takes on the following issues:
South Metro Transportation.
Any one who has to get across the river on a daily basis knows that things are not good. It is not unusual to see traffic backed up into Apple Valley on Cedar Avenue and to the Burnsville Center on I-35. The sad thing about it is this is not a new situation. Can you tell me where our Senator has been all these years? Why has there been no progress in relieving congestion on at least 35W. I will be attending an I-35W Alliance meeting later this month to learn more about what is being planned and/or done to solve this challenge. For the time being, what I can tell is this: though we can and must improve the quality and configuration of the highways in the area such as 35W and T.H. 13, we need to implement systems that take personal vehicles off of the road, especially during peak travel times. BRT and LRT are the solutions. One for immediate relief and the other for the long term answer. BRT must be convenient, reliable and marketed properly to ensure consistent ridership. When gas prices top $3 per gallon we are going to see a ton of people looking for alternatives. Cities, counties and the state should be anticipating this and preparing. The next step after BRT is LRT. For the south metro that means extending the lines south from the Mall of America. These systems take years to reach completion so we should begin work on them today.
Health care in Minnesota.
This country needs a health care system that brings us in line with the rest of the industrialized world. Unfortunately, I believe, the challenge is too great and the moneyed interests influence too strong for the federal government to implement a system. That means we are going to have to see the movement happen on a state level. Fortunately, Minnesota is in a unique position to implement a health care program that works for all of us. Health care is not a commodity, it is a right we owe ourselves and each other. What is more basic than our health or more fundamental in a society than caring for each other? From the point of view of the average consumer our system is broken. For the CEO of the insurers and providers it is working as planned. Free market forces cannot operate properly when the point of sale is dominated by fear, urgency and lack of information. The first step to moving toward a health care system that is comprehensive, portable, universal and affordable is currently making its way through the legislature. The bill would amend the constitution declaring that health care is a right of all Minnesotans. By approving this amendment, Minnesotans, in effect, are agreeing that health care is a right and with that agreement we establish a foundation upon which we can build a new house of health and healing.
The last time I checked the only persons who can get pregnant are women. It may take two to tango but only one is going to carry that implant for the next 9 months and then deliver a baby. Because of this unique and special gift, women must be allowed to make the final choice regarding bringing a new human life into the world. Pregnancies should be performed in a state of joy, not fear or anger. And let me be clear on one other thing: life is a miracle. Everyday I am awed by my personal miracle. I choose to encourage life and love at every turn and would never deny another human being the right to choose what is best for their personal miracle. Life without the freedom to choose is no life at all.
We have a big problem here. Minnesota has one of the best education systems in the nation. Burnsville and Bloomington a right at the top of the state lists. But?and this is a big BUT?The nation as a whole, including Minnesota, is falling way behind other nations of the world in educating their young people. As we speak, the Burnsville school district #191 is recommending another levy of the community to help resolve their budget woes; woes that are due in large part to stagnant funding from the state, unfunded education mandates and soaring health care costs plus the loss of significant numbers of students. Keep in mind that this new money request along with creative measures to reduce costs will simply get the school district to balance its budget. There will be no new initiatives, no accelerated programs, no early childhood development, no special math, science or language classes for preparing for this global marketplace I referred to earlier.
Education is the key to our prosperity, our sustainability, our quality of life. Absolutely everyone in the community benefits. Everyone. So everyone must contribute in one way or another. It is that important.
Property taxes are too high, plain and simple. At the same time that every business is raising its price for their products or services, the state is transferring the burden of its responsibilities on local governments and the communities. Investment into the community is necessary, but in an effort to reduce the taxes upon businesses and wealthier citizens the only place to find the funding is through property tax hikes, either by raising the tax rate or the property valuation for taxation. This is wrong. Homeowners have no one to pass their costs on to, like businesses do. And there is only so much squeezing you can do to the middle class before the balloon pops. Before that happens, I will work to make changes at the state level that brings long term relief to low and middle income tax payers while still investing in our core value priorities.
If you're elected and during the first session, the state of Minnesota is faced with another large deficit, how would you like to see it balanced?
We would first have to look at spending. Our fundamental spending requirements must be met, but discretionary spending would have to be eliminated, at least in the short run. We need to take a very close examination of current spending and eliminate the unnecessary programs of benefit to only a small part of our population. Special interest funding should stop. Revenue increases that may be deemed necessary should not target middle and low income tax payers. They will be the last ones to see any increases. And if across the board increases were deemed necessary, it would be for spending that benefits everyone, not a few and definitely not wealthy private organizations or sports teams. Before the people are asked to pay more, maybe we could sell the Metrodome to a professional sports team and use the proceeds for balancing any budget shortfall.
OK, John, give me a little background biography so we can all get to know you better.
Dave, thank you for the interview. I hope that this will give your visitors a chance to learn more about John Doll. My time has come to serve and I would like to be known as the Senator who truly served his constituents. I am a hard working member of Middle America. I understand the challenges because I live them everyday. I am a problem solver and I get the job done. I own a small business which I enjoy and performs very well. My wife Robyn and I have raised 6 children through the Burnsville public schools and currently we are the proud grandparents of six little ones. I don?t see myself as a politician. I am member of the community that has simply had enough. Had enough of the gridlock, of the nonsense social issues that consume valuable time and distract from the real concerns, of the focus solely on money at the expense of people, of the short term, special interest thinking, of no one seeming to have the courage to face the challenges that must be faced, immediately. I feel that I speak for a large segment of our population and I hope that my message will speak to their hearts and their minds with the end result being a majority of the votes come November.
I think that will do it for now -- if I see something I'd like to follow up on, I'll contact you again.
Thank you for talking with me today, Dave.
thanks again for your time. Good luck with your campaign!