Wright County voters will decide between two candidates to represent the Republican Party in the race for the Minnesota House of Representatives, District 30B, which includes the communities of St. Michael and Albertville and portions of Hanover, Otsego and Dayton. Candidates are St. Michael City Council member Kevin Kasel, and Dayton City Council member Eric Lucero, who was endorsed at the party’s Wright County convention earlier this year.
Kasel entered the race after the endorsing convention.
Voters in the primary can vote for either party, but must cast a so-called party ballot, where each vote is cast for the same party throughout the Aug. 12 ballot. In the general election in November, registered voters can vote for either party. Failure to follow these guidelines results in a voided ballot.
In Minnesota, voters do not have to register with a select party, so can vote for either party in the primary election.
Absentee and “early voting” periods are already opened throughout the state.
The Minnesota House of Representatives is a two-year term. The Minnesota Constitution provides that legislators’ compensation is set by law. The annual salary for representatives and senators is $31,140 annually.
Name: Eric Lucero
Residence: Dayton, MN
Family: Wife Erum
Years in What is Now District 30 community:
14 years in Dayton and in District since 2009
Dayton City Council Member
Endorsements (please limit to 5):
Elmer (Ike) Eichelberg, Post Commander of Saint Michael American Legion, former Wright County Commissioner, former Saint Michael Mayor, former teacher
Mary Kiffmeyer, State Senator
Chris Kauffman, Mayor of Hanover
Judy Beaudry, Albertville
Brad Praught, Otsego
What has inspired you to run for State House?
Trust and accountability.
As a teacher with a passion for people, I have committed myself to helping others. People are increasingly of the opinion establishment politicians are disconnected from the grassroots. The Establishment continues to say one thing and do another, create policies and laws which hurt families and businesses, and increasingly replace individual liberty with government coercion. The result is young people are being crushed with unmanageable debt, are seeing long standing opportunities begin to dim, and have a sense of hopelessness.
I am a member of the next generation who is committed to realigning government priorities, reigning in government spending, and restoring the trust young people deserve to have in their elected officials.
The two of you see eye-to-eye on many of the issues. What separates you from your opponent?
As Representative, the background and real world experience I will bring the legislature is why I am the most qualified candidate. People recognize this, and is the reason I won Republican endorsement by a vote of 74 percent (Editor’s note: Kasel entered the race after the endorsement process).
What issues do you see being the biggest affecting District 30 over the next biennium (2 years)?
• Equity in Education Funding
Students and taxpayers deserve an education finance structure which treats everybody equally. Under the current finance structure for example, Saint Michael-Albertville ISD 885 ranks last in the state for annual per pupil general education funding at $6,882 per student. The statewide average is $9,037 per student with Minneapolis at $12,334 per student. As an educator and current college instructor teaching valuable skills to the next generation, ensuring equal opportunity education is a top priority for me. Minnesota’s school finance framework is unnecessarily complex and must be reformed to place greater emphasis on base funding over the myriad of categorical designations. I have the hands on experience in the classroom and business MBA background to achieve a more streamlined system of education finance.
• Expanded Roads, Bridges, and I-94 through Albertville
Many dollars of hard working families and businesses are wasted to an inefficient transportation system. According to the I-94 West Corridor Coalition’s “Green Light 94” website, General Mills reports they lose $2 million for every 1 MPH reduction in travel speed of its product delivery fleet, and UPS reports they lose $20 million for every minute of delay in its deliveries nationwide. This at the same time the Metropolitan Council is pushing the $1.6 billion Southwest Light Rail project. The Metropolitan Council and other urban core central planners are siphoning money away from needed road and bridge projects. Working to secure funding to add a third lane to I-94 through Albertville will be one of my top priorities.
• Pro Job Growth Policies
In 2013, Democrats voted to raise taxes on hard working families and businesses by nearly two billion dollars. In 2014, Democrats voted to cut some of the very taxes they raised the year before. Actions such as these create economic instability, paralyze businesses, prevent job creation, and cause businesses to move out of state. As a holder of an MBA from Carlson School of Management, a college instructor, a licensed real estate agent, a licensed general contractor, and the owner of three small businesses, I have a broad business background. I understand the positive and negative impacts State policies have on businesses. I will fight for policies which help businesses succeed. When businesses succeed jobs are created, the economy improves, and the financial security of families is strengthened.
What can you bring to the table for the Republican Caucus if elected in the general election?
According to listed occupations of the 201 current members of the State Legislature, not a single member has a Cyber Security background. Data security has become very important in our lives. Whether smart phones, Internet connected furnaces, garage doors, health records, college courses, IRS missing emails, or future online voting, technology is increasingly shaping every sphere of our lives. Moreover, government’s increasing appetite for the use of license plate tracking, digital facial recognition, Big Data analytics, pattern analysis, etc. have the potential for direct impact to Citizens’ First Amendment rights, Fourth Amendment rights, etc.
As State Representative, I will bring my strong computer security background and my experience working with the Millennial Generation to the MN Legislature and Republican Caucus to help guide State policy for the protection of Citizen digital privacy.
How can you help a Republican Party that is in the minority now, and might be again in 2014?
Outreach. My Hispanic ethnicity and my wife’s East Indian ethnicity, my connection with young people, and my experience with the business community will all help outreach initiatives to grow the Republican Party through articulating the values of Individual Liberty, Free Market Capitalism, and Limited Government.
How might you help a Republican majority move the state ahead in 2015 and beyond?
The future is the children. My experience with young people as a teacher and my experience as a computer technologist is why young people easily connect with me. I understand their concerns because I live their concerns. I know the impact and role technology plays in the lives of the next generation. As State Representative, I will help the state in 2015 and beyond by addressing the concerns of and protecting the future of the next generation.
Editor’s Note: The questions and answers were compiled via e-mail, and not edited (unless truncated for space or due to repetition). Each candidate was given unlimited space to respond to each question posed by NWCToday.