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Republican Jeff Jiang is seeking to unseat DFLer Steve Cwodzinski this year in Minnesota Senate District 48.

Senate District 48 represents Eden Prairie and Minnetonka.

The candidates were asked to provide biographical information and answer two questions. Their answers were edited for length and clarity. 

Cwodzinski, Jiang seeking Senate District 48 - 1

Steve Cwodzinski

Steve Cwodzinski

Address: Eden Prairie

Education: Master’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota

Occupation: State senator, retired government and teacher at Eden Prairie High School

Community/civic organizations involvement: Eden Prairie AM Rotary Club, volunteer teacher for Eden Prairie Community Education

Contact info: cwodsqaud@gmail.com

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

The pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges, and we need to rise to the occasion to secure our future. We need to prioritize ensuring our children have the resources they need to learn and succeed as well as boosting our economic recovery while managing the health and safety of all Minnesotans in the next legislative session. This means looking at how we can use the state’s revenue more efficiently to ensure that we are getting the most bang for our buck as well as exploring different avenues for raising additional revenue. This can take the form of tax reform that would cut taxes on working Minnesotans and small businesses while making sure that the wealthy and rich corporations pay their fair share. Our kids and Minnesotans across the state are counting on us to take bold, decisive steps, and we can’t afford to let them down.

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

Yes, I support passing a bonding bill because of the urgent need to invest in our infrastructure. Minnesota’s infrastructure received a C grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Our aging and deteriorating infrastructure hampers economic growth and can even endanger lives. Modernizing our infrastructure, especially our transportation system by fixing our roads and bridges, will both create well-paying jobs for workers and be a win-win for businesses and consumers by allowing goods to travel faster and cheaper. We can also make needed investments to upgrade water treatment plants, provide more affordable housing and provide better facilities for our veterans. We need to prioritize projects that will deliver real results for our communities through better roads, cleaner water, good jobs and a stronger economy.

Cwodzinski, Jiang seeking Senate District 48 - 2

Jeff Jiang

Jeff Jiang

Address: Eden Prairie

Education: M.A. degrees in political science and business from the University of Minnesota

Occupation: Independent education counselor

Community/civic organizations involvement: Eden Prairie Community Foundation board member, Eden Prairie Chinese Association vice-chair, Eden Prairie AM Rotary, Lions Club, Eden Prairie PeopleFest Steering Committee member

Contact info: jeff@jiangformn.com

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

The 2021 Legislature should handle budget issues in the same way families, large and small businesses do every day. Set clear priorities. Those priorities should include education, health care and services for seniors and the disabled. Separate the “need to have” from the “nice to have” and act accordingly. Secondly, the legislative budget committees should institute zero-based budgeting and, instead of using last year’s budget as a base to begin discussions, start at zero dollars, set clear benchmarks for spending and eliminate duplicative programs. Budgeting during times of a deficit requires priority-setting, which the Legislature is slow to do. That must change, and I will help lead those efforts.

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

Yes, although I would like the Legislature to return its historical precedent of passing bonding bills in even-year sessions. Bonding in 2022 should be done to preserve and maintain vital assets, including state buildings, college campuses, prisons, wastewater treatment facilities, roads and bridges, state parks and other critical infrastructure. Using the state’s credit card to bond should only be done for projects with statewide significance.

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