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Candidate profile -- Karin Housley, challenger, R

Q: Why did you decide to seek this office?

A: With only 25 percent of our legislators having a business background, it was time for someone with real work experience, and an understanding of business to serve our state. The people of Minnesota are frustrated with career politicians, the status quo, and are looking for fresh ideas, common sense and real solutions. After living out of state for 20 years due to my husband's hockey career, both Phil and I were excited to settle back in our home state in 2001 and continue to raise our children here. We love Minnesota, and throughout our moves across the U.S. and Canada, we always knew that we'd make Minnesota our home. A lot has changed, but the people remain the same - down to earth, hard working, honest and good people. We're very lucky to live here, and I will work hard to get our great state back on a prosperous path.

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: It comes down to common sense - you can't spend more than you take in. It's that simple. Even when the money coming in is greater than the year before, as is the case this next budget cycle, our government still continues to overspend. Government can't continue to increase taxes to cover their irresponsible spending sprees, yet this is what they have done year after year. They have taken a 2.2 billion dollar surplus four years ago and turned it into a 5.8 billion dollar deficit. We can't do that with our own household budgets, so why does the government think they can? With our legislature's irresponsible spending, they continue to tax the residents yet even more. We should be undertaking a comprehensive zero-based budgeting in which agency budgets reset to zero each budget cycle instead of automatically receiving increased funding every year. We need to reform and redesign state government to deliver high quality services in an affordable manner. We also need state, city, county and school district cooperation to end the overlap and duplication of public service programs.

Q: What are other major issues are facing this state? How should they be addressed?

A: Jobs and the economy are the two biggest issues on people's minds right now. In order to turn this economy around, we need to help our job creators prosper and create more jobs. seventy-five percent of Minnesotans are employed by small businesses, so it only makes sense that this is at the root of the solution. We need to help small businesses by easing their tax burdens, the fees and the regulations. We need to create real jobs, not temporary solutions. Tens of thousands of Minnesotans have lost their jobs, endured pay cuts, benefit cuts and reduced hours. Minnesota's poor business climate has contributed to this financial demise. Our anti-business tax, regulatory, and job creation climate has made this recession worse for Minnesotans than it really had to be. The only way a small business can expand is if they have more capital, more cash at the end of the day. If the government consistently dips their hand into the bottom line of local businesses, there is nothing left for expansion, growth, i.e. hiring more employees. We will see more and more businesses close their doors in 2011, if something isn't done to change this on Nov. 2. Talk to the small business owner down the street. They'll tell you what they're feeling and the crunch they're under. They'll also give you this same solution.

Q: What makes you the best candidate for this position, and why should people vote for you on Nov. 2?

A: This Nov. 2, people have two very clear and different choices. Politics as usual, or common sense, real life experience, business knowledge and solutions that work. The current policies have failed. I'm the owner of a real estate company, author of Random House book detailing business fiscal accountability and daughter of two public school teachers. I lived across the U.S. and Canada for 21 years and experienced many different schools and health care systems. I'm also on the board of Let's Go Fishing With Seniors and a volunteer with HSI. I bring common sense, business knowledge, job creation solutions, budget experience, a strong work ethic, fresh ideas, confident voice, and deep family values.

Q: Are there any other comments you care to make?

A: I'm excited to serve the people of our district, while bringing a much-needed non-politician's point of view and real-life experience to the senate.

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