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Incumbent Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) and Republican challenger Bryan Björnson of Hopkins are vying for the Senate District 46 seat in the Nov. 3 General Election.

The district includes all or parts of St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Golden Valley, Plymouth and Medicine Lake.

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

Latz, Björnson vie for Senate 46 seat - Björnson

Bryan Björnson

Bryan Björnson

Address: Hopkins

Education: Attended the University of Minnesota 

Occupation: Insurance agent

Community involvement: Hopkins Coalition

Contact information: senatorhatrack@yahoo.com

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

The budget issues should be handled with tax cuts, people who have lost their job due to the governor’s closing of businesses should not have their taxes increased. Home or online schooling is the way to help with school budgets. 

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

I would support the smallest bonding bill possible and one only for essential government services. With the recession caused by the COVID-19 epidemic our state government must, as our citizens were forced to, reduce spending.

Latz, Björnson vie for Senate 46 seat - Latz

Ron Latz

Ron Latz

Address: St. Louis Park

Education: Juris Doctor, Harvard Law School

Occupation: Attorney

Community involvement: Former SLP City Councilmember and State Representative; former American Cancer Society (State Advocacy Chair); former SLP Community Education Advisory Council;

Contact information: Marcus Barone, marcus.barone10@gmail.com

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

The state is projected to face a $4 billion to $5 billion budget shortfall in the next biennium, due to revenue drops and increased expenditures from the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19. Fortunately, due to careful planning and legislation that I pushed for, we have been setting aside a portion of past surpluses into a rainy day fund of reserves now amounting to about $2 billion to help cover the shortfall. Beyond that, we will need to consider both spending reductions and perhaps additional revenue sources so that we meet the ongoing needs of the people of Minnesota. These needs will be COVID-19 response expenses as well as other critical aid and support during these very difficult times.

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

Yes. Unfortunately, due to the refusal of the House minority to participate with votes to pass bonding bills so far this year and last, we are developing a great deal of pent-up needs in the form of infrastructure – such as maintaining and renovating existing public buildings like Minnesota State and U of M structures, wastewater treatment facilities, and transportation needs all over the state. We also have to continue to meet contemporary demands for facilities for regional use in our own communities. Locally, these include the Perspectives expansion in St. Louis Park and the pedestrian underpass at Highway 55 and Douglas Drive in Golden Valley. Costs are already going up due to delays in bonding. We should act now to take advantage of low interest/borrowing rates and available labor, saving public money and putting people back to work building for our future.

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