Viewpoint: Working for a stronger state
The residents of our district need to have their views heard, to have accessible leadership and to work with someone who will be straight with them.
I strive to be honest and advocate for real solutions -- solutions based on sound evidence and crafted through compromise.
Good leaders will restore trust and accountability to the system. I strive to be that leader.
Times are tough. As the only economist in our state legislature, strengthening our Minnesota economy is my primary focus.
We need to retain, create and attract more jobs. We must address healthcare cost challenges constraining businesses, reform our tax system to insure that it is both fair and supportive of entrepreneurship, business growth and research and development investments, and ensure that our schools and institutions of higher education are top notch.
My legislative work focuses on these objectives.
I championed successful healthcare reform legislation -- estimated to take 12 percent off the cost trend over the next five years for all who are insured in Minnesota, and making health insurance more affordable to small businesses and their employees.
I also chief authored the Minnesota Business Partnership's top legislative priority -- reforming the corporate income tax to make Minnesota more competitive with other states.
I voted against every Omnibus Tax Bill that would have increased our taxes, and testified in the tax committee against Senate proposals to increase commercial and industrial property taxes.
I voted for legislation that provided property tax relief.
Serving on the Biosciences and Emerging Technologies Committee, I've traveled the state listening to corporations, entrepreneurs and researchers to learn what Minnesota can and should do to better compete.
As a result, I chief or co-authored legislation providing tax credits to small and large businesses for research and development activities, to establish a UMN grant program for innovative technology and economic development research, and to establish a bioscience business development program and a nanotechnology development fund.
I was also an active advocate for bonding for the new biosciences complex at the University of Minnesota.
Due to my voting record and ability to work with diverse groups of stakeholders to champion and pass legislation, I've been endorsed by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the endorsing arms of the Minnesota Medical, Dental and Nurses Associations, major labor unions including the AFL-CIO, MAPE, and AFSCME Council 5 and Conservation Minnesota and Clean Water Action.
And I have received the Minnesota Hospital Association's "Champion of Minnesota Community Hospitals Award, and the NFIB's Guardian of Small Business Award.
It has been an honor and privilege to represent you at the state Capitol these past two years, and I'm proud of what we accomplished.
In 2007, after years of double digit increases, we reined in annual tuition increases at state colleges and universities, we restored funding to early childhood education, and we took a significant step toward stabilizing K12 funding.
In addition, we passed a bold Renewable Energy Standard, provided significant clean water and habitat funding, and established the best electronic recycling program in the country.
We put more cops on the street, restored funding to battered women's shelters and sexual assault programs, and toughened penalties for internet sex solicitation, domestic violence and burglary.
In 2008, we passed a bonding bill with many projects of direct benefit to our district. And we did this with a balanced budget and finishing on time, and without a tax increase.
We also passed a long overdue comprehensive transportation finance bill. This legislation provides additional road dollars to our county and cities, which will take pressure off property taxes. And it is adding a new lane in each direction on I-494 in Woodbury in the next year.
As we approach the final weeks of this campaign, we are bombarded with various claims about candidates' positions and votes, much of it false or spin, and much of it from outside groups attempting to influence the races.
If you would like to obtain more information on my positions on the issues, or assistance sorting out fact from fiction, please visit the Issues and Reality Check pages on my website www.juliebunn.com or call me on my personal cell phone at (651) 263-5822. I'd be happy to answer your questions.
Again, it's a pleasure to serve you. I thank you for your time and ask you for your vote on Nov. 4.
Bunn is a Lake Elmo resident and the DFL candidate for the Minnesota House District 56A seat in the Nov. 4 election. She can be reached at (651) 263-5822 or rep.Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org.