Residents of District 34A (which includes Dayton, Rogers and parts of Maple Grove) will vote Tuesday, Nov. 3, in the general election to fill the Minnesota House of Representative seat for District 34A.

On the ballot are incumbent Kristin Robbins and Brian Raines.

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:

Brian Raines

Address:  21487 Pointe Drive, Rogers, MN 55374

Education:  US Naval Gunnery School in Great Lakes, IL, Piledriver Apprenticeship with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters

Occupation:  Business Representative for the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters

Community Involvement: Life dedicated to advocating for worker rights and trades education through the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

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

We need to take our budgetary concerns seriously while not making the human impacts of this pandemic worse than they already are.  We need a strong focus on relief for people who have lost their jobs so they don’t also lose their homes. We can’t compound this crisis with one where we delay our recovery by forcing our young people and middle-class families to spend years trying to claw their way back to stability.

Under no circumstances can we pay for this pandemic with our children’s education. Schools need the resources to overcome the massive challenges COVID-19 has thrown at them and keep our kids healthy and receiving the best possible education.

We can avoid a serious recession by closing tax loopholes for large corporations, making smart investments that will create good jobs, and helping middle-class families stay afloat so they can continue to be the heart of our economy.

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

I will absolutely support a bonding bill. The sooner, the better. One of the best tools we have to combat a recession is to invest in our infrastructure. These projects bring good-paying, family-supporting jobs to Minnesotans and support businesses and workers in many different industries. Our roads, bridges, water systems, and many facilities across the state desperately need these improvements.

The legislature is currently sitting on a bonding bill which would fund projects like the North Metro Range facility expansion in Maple Grove for training our law enforcement officers in crisis management and de-escalation.  

We could put Minnesotans to work building these vital projects, but instead the bill has failed to pass in regular session and four special sessions due to partisan obstruction. That is simply unacceptable. Minnesota needs a bonding bill urgently. If this legislature can’t get it done, it’s time to elect one that will.

Kristin Robbins

Biographical info:

Address: P.O. Box 1122, Maple Grove, MN 55311

Education: M.A., Economics; Washington University in St. Louis

Occupation: State Representative; former Executive Director, Economic Club of Minnesota

Community Involvement: I have taught Junior Achievement, coached Destination Imagination, “Captain’s Mom” for soccer and basketball, taught Sunday School, serve on the board of my church’s food shelf, and served on the State Commission on Chronic Homelessness (approximately 2006-2007)

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

The Legislature must balance the budget, as required by the Constitution. It will require very difficult decisions to ensure that the state’s primary responsibilities for public safety, education and social services can continue to be met. We must look for ways to cut spending and slow the growth of government, just as businesses and families must do whenever there is a downturn. With so many small businesses and farmers fighting to survive after all the revenue losses from the Covid-related shutdowns, and more than 900,000 Minnesotans filing for unemployment, we cannot raise taxes on already-struggling small businesses and families. We must rebuild the economy through safely reopening, reducing regulations and incentivizing investment that will spur innovation and job growth. As businesses stabilize and rehire, state revenue will increase through sales and income tax receipts generated by economic growth.

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

I am optimistic the bonding bill for the current session may still pass and have been a strong advocate for the projects that affect our district, including finishing the connection between I-94/610, expanding the Maple Grove Gun Range to ensure law enforcement officers through the state can have access to necessary training facilities, and building a pedestrian bridge over I-94 in Rogers to create a safe highway crossing between the two sides of the city. The Legislature generally does a bonding bill every even-numbered year, so I would certainly consider additional bonding legislation in the coming biennium. Good stewardship of state resources and taxpayer dollars requires us to keep improving important infrastructure. My top priorities for bonding are roads and bridges, aging wastewater treatment facilities and other infrastructure that has regional significance. I generally do not support local projects that only serve local interests.

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