Residents of Senate District 34 (which includes Dayton, Rogers, Maple Grove and Osseo) will vote Tuesday, Nov. 3, in the general election.

Those candidates appearing on the ballot include incumbent Warren Limmer and Bonnie Westlin.

The candidates were asked to include their thoughts in statements. Each were asked to include a short biography of themselves and their backgrounds as well as their personal and professional experiences. They were also asked to comment on two questions that were asked. (See questions belows in each statement).

The responses received include:

Warren Limmer

Biographical info:

Address: 12888 73rd Avenue North, Maple Grove, MN 55369                     

Education: BA, Criminal Justice Studies

Occupation: Real Estate Investment and Sales

Community Involvement: Current State Senator, Former State Representative, Former member Hennepin County Corrections Advisory Board, and former member city of Crystal Human Rights Commission

1. How should the 2021 Legislature handle the budget issues and meet school and societal needs caused by COVID-19?

It is not known how long we must endure the difficulties caused by COVID-19, but it has caused an economic hardship on families and businesses triggering a nearly $5-billion revenue shortfall next year.  In the short term, revenue will be in shorter supply with restricted economic activity caused by COVID-19, making reforms to tax cuts difficult.  

However, in the long run we can use the economic emergency to reform government, cutting waste, obsolete government initiatives, and reduce spending and taxation  By better prioritizing our spending, we can meet our obligation for our children’s education, healthcare, and essential services.

By requesting additional federal aid, we can seek reimbursement for expenses related to COVID-19. Expenses could include payment for Personal Protection Equipment for emergency responders and healthcare workers, improved protections for vulnerable populations, and other costs the state has already expended in the fight against COVID-19.

2. Will you support the passage of a bonding bill in 2021 or 2022, if so, where should he priorities be?

Yes, it’s essential for our economy to pass a Bonding Bill.  A bond is equivalent to taking out a loan for pricey capital expenses, such as roads, bridges, and public buildings. Good financial management would advise taking advantage of the record-breaking low interest rates we now experience.  Having seen the economic devastation that COVID-19 has caused, a Bonding Bill would infuse new capital investment into our state, creating good paying jobs, and financial security for families.    

Our first priority must focus on health and safety repairs, while new projects should center on necessary transportation and civic needs. For our area, I successfully included in this year’s Senate Bonding Bill entrance/exit ramps on Hwy. 610/94; expansion of the Maple Grove Police ‘North Range,’ a regional law enforcement training center; and a pedestrian bridge over I-94 to make it safer for school children to walk to school in the city of Rogers.

Bonnie Westlin

Biographical info:

Address: 8926 Olive Ln N, Maple Grove, MN 55311

Education: J.D.

Occupation: Family Law Attorney

Community involvement: DFL Party Member- 40 years, Moms Demand Action- Lobby Coach, and Member of Board of Trustees Shir Tikvah Synagogue

1. How should the 2021 Legislature handle the budget issues and meet school and societal needs caused by COVID-19?

The COVID pandemic has created incredible challenges for state legislatures who cannot operate with a budget deficit. We need to have legislators ready to work together to address our budget challenges. Because of the foresight of Democratic leaders in 2014, 1/3 of budget surpluses go into a reserve fund. Those reserves will help, but they will not solve the state’s budget deficit. We should look for efficiencies, and comb through the budget. But short sighted cuts will create greater harm down the road.

We can and should look at rolling back unwise tax cuts made by the GOP: 800 millionaires in Minnesota received a $300 million tax cut in the 2017 tax bill, the bill also eliminated the inflation on the tobacco tax rate and reduced the rate on premium cigars, and the bill also included a $1 billion property tax cut for corporate building owners.

2. Will you support the passage of a bonding bill in 2021 or 2022, if so, where should he priorities be?

The legislature must pass a bonding bill in the upcoming session. A bonding bill will not only provide thousands of construction jobs across the state but it is necessary to maintain and improve our infrastructure. The priorities of the bonding bill should focus on the infrastructure projects that will create the most amount of jobs for the least cost. That being said, I will support a bonding bill that provides the state with an influx of investment in projects that will improve the lives of all Minnesotans.

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