Friday, September 05, 2008 By Aaron Brown
So far this week we've featured, in alphabetical order, Brandon Clokey, John Derbis, Daniel Maryland and Roger Reinert. Today, Marsh Stenersen concludes the series. My final pre-primary analysis will be posted over the weekend. Be sure to vote in Tuesday's primary!
Upon graduation from Scholastica, I was determined to stay in Duluth. However, there were few jobs to be had in Duluth in 1980. I considered myself fortunate to secure a position in a St. Louis County-owned long term care facility, as a front-line, hands on caregiver. I continued in that position for nine years, growing increasingly active in my union. This work turned out to be a seminal experience in my life, as I learned to appreciate the plight of low-wage, paycheck-to-paycheck workers. For the past 19 years, I have been fortunate to work in my dream job, representing workers as a field representative for AFSCME.
What separates me from the field of candidates in the DFL District 7-B primary, is that I have broad experience bringing people together who are often polarized at the outset, at the school district, city, county, and state levels. I am familiar with the workings of all these jurisdictions, and with the major players in Northeastern Minnesota. This experience uniquely qualifies me to represent the working people of District 7-B.
The last 19 years have not been pleasant ones for public employees, as we have seen public budgets slashed repeatedly. I have learned to operate within the limits of the achievable, while not foreclosing on the expectation of one day helping to elect a legislative majority that once again values public services. This experience has honed skills that separate me from my opponents in this race.
I am committed to reestablishing the partnership that once existed between the State of Minnesota and local units of government. In order to reestablish that partnership, a truly progressive income tax must be reinstated to provide the necessary revenue. I expect this to be a huge challenge, and one that will consume the greater part of my time as a legislator.
I have committed to authoring a bill during the 2009 session, which will tighten up the language of the statute, which allowed the Duluth School Board to bond for $293 million, ostensibly to address desegregation and safety issues in the district, but instead has turned into a buildings program. This statute allowed cities of the first class to bond without a vote of the citizenry. My bill will bring congruence between the language of the statute and its spirit and intent.
I am running for this office because Minnesota no longer resembles the state in which I grew up. In the Minnesota of my youth, we maintained our roads and bridges, we invested in K-12 and post secondary education, we shared the state’s wealth with local units of government, and we were at or near the top of every measure of quality of life. We also concerned ourselves with our less fortunate sisters and brothers. Our major concern was that value was received for every tax dollar we sent to St. Paul. I would like to work to return our state to those values.