Anderson campaigns despite the safety of his House seat
STARBUCK -- As Paul Anderson sat in his grain truck in Benson this week waiting to dump a load of corn, he a little left out of the flurry of campaigning going on around him.
The first-term District 13B member of the House of Representatives has no opponent this year.
While that's reduced the stress considerably and is allowing him to keep harvesting rather than knocking on doors, Anderson, a Republican, has still kept up a campaign regime of putting up lawn signs, going to parades and church dinners.
He said he wants to make sure voters know he is on the ballot, and the routine gives him the opportunity to hear his constituents' concerns.
When it comes to challenges facing the state, Anderson identified his three major concerns as balancing the budget, streamlining the permitting and regulatory processes without "scrimping" on environmental aspects and adequately funding K-12 education and nursing homes.
To balance the budget, Anderson said his first choice is to do it by making spending cuts. Yet he said he hasn't seen a plan that does that "without making some serious cuts." If cuts are made, he'd like to see a plan that will have the "least amount of hurt" and be "more fair to rural Minnesota."
He expects the best that can be hoped for with education and nursing homes is that funding remain flat and that no further cuts be made.
Anderson said he'd like to see agencies like the Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources be "more responsive" and have a quicker turn-around time on permits.
The issue he hears most about from the public is the "gridlock" at the state Capitol and their desire for legislators to work together on a bi-partisan basis to get things done. Anderson, who supports Tom Emmer for governor, said there's "no magic action" to change that.
He said he understands the public's frustration but said "not voting is not the answer" and that if people don't vote, then they have no right to complain.
During his first two years in the Legislature, which Anderson said was spent learning the ropes, the most rewarding part of the job was to "steer people in the right direction to get their problems taken care of."
Now that he knows how the system works, Anderson said he'll be able to be an even more effective legislator during the next two years.