Candidate profile -- Katie Sieben, incumbent, DFL
Q: Why did you decide to seek this office?
A: This area has always been my home and I have deep family roots in Hastings. It is an honor to serve Hastings in the Minnesota Senate. During the past four years, I believe my advocacy in the Legislature has delivered results, particularly in my success at speeding up the replacement of the Hastings Bridge, which will create more than 150 construction jobs in our community. Job creation is my number one job at the legislature. In our tough economy, I believe there is there is more to do to make our community and our state strong and successful. If I am re-elected, I will continue to work together with residents and fight for good jobs, excellent schools and health care that is affordable and accessible for families. Minnesota is a great state, and I want to return to the State Senate to make sure we have the strong economic and educational foundation necessary to create jobs into the future and position Minnesota to compete nationally and internationally.
Q: The state of Minnesota continues to face an ongoing financial budget shortfall; how do you believe it should be addressed now and in the future?
A: I support a balanced budget solution that solves the long-term structural budget problem, restores tax fairness and cracks down on tax evaders. Last session I voted to cut $2.5 billion from the budget, more than the governor. This year we face a much more serious $5.8 billion deficit and many more difficult cuts will be required. Public education must be protected from further cuts and budget gimmicks, because students and property tax payers pay the highest price for education cuts.
Q: What are other major issues are facing this state? How should they be addressed?
A: Jobs: I worked across party lines to pass the "Minnesota Jobs Bill" that will create more than 26,000 good-paying jobs in the construction, energy, environmental and transportation industries. The legislation encourages private investment in start-up companies, construction and economic development. As vice-chair of the Capitol Investment Committee, I supported a strong bonding bill that is creating 16,000 jobs statewide. I supported an Angel Investor Tax Credit that will help Minnesota's small businesses create an estimated 6,300 jobs each year. I'll continue to support efforts to support the creation of good jobs and keep us on the path to economic recovery.
Education: A well-educated workforce is essential to our state's economic competitiveness. Higher education must be affordable for middle-class families so that everyone can advance their education. The state must find a balanced approach to solving the budget deficit that won't drive up the cost of higher education. I am the only candidate in this race who supports a balanced approach. Cuts alone will hurt the middle class because property taxes will go up, as will tuition.
Transportation: As a member of the Transportation Committee, I voted to accelerate replacement of the Hastings Bridge, and now it's being built 10 years ahead of schedule. This project will create more than 150 construction jobs alone to benefit the local economy. I support investments in development of transportation alternatives, including Red Rock Commuter Rail, Robert Street Corridor and the I-94 Gateway Corridor to ease congestion and improve our regional competitiveness.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for this position, and why should people vote for you on Nov. 2?
A: These are tough times and tough times call for strong, effective leadership. As a life-long resident of our community, I have a record of listening and working together with my neighbors to get results at the legislature. I am proud of my work to secure the early replacement of the Hastings Bridge, and the construction jobs it will produce in our community. I am proud of my work across party lines to pass the "Minnesota Jobs Bill" that will create thousands of good-paying jobs throughout our state. There is more work ahead, and I am ready to work with you.
As your state senator, I always encourage residents to contact me. Through dialogue, we as citizens are better able to understand issues facing seniors, young people and families.
I care deeply about our community, and I ask for your vote on Nov. 2. It would be an honor to continue serving you in the State Senate to make sure we keep moving forward to ensure the strength and success of our community and our state for generations to come.
Q: Are there any other comments you care to make?
A: Residents can reach me by telephone and fax: 651-458-3194, by e-mail: katiesieben@ hotmail.com or on my website at www.katiesieben.com