Candidate's Viewpoint: Time to work together, end gridlockI am Susan Kent and I am running for the open Senate seat in the new Senate District 53.
By: Susan Kent, Woodbury Bulletin
I am Susan Kent and I am running for the open Senate seat in the new Senate District 53. I so appreciate The Woodbury Bulletin providing this opportunity to introduce myself to the community, and I look forward to speaking with many of you in person, if I haven't already.
My husband Chris and I live in Woodbury with our son, Andrew. For the past several years, I have been an active community member and an at-home parent. Before that, I worked in marketing and communications, and for a time, I owned my own business. Woodbury is a wonderful community filled with caring people, and we are grateful that our family is a part of it.
We all know that politicians talk a lot, especially in an election year. But my approach has been a bit different. I’m focused on listening first. And as I’ve been out in our community, knocking on doors and listening to parents, grandparents, business owners and students in Woodbury, the advice they give to a state Senate hopeful like myself has been crystal clear: work together, stop the gridlock.
It’s the right advice, but politicians too often ignore it once they’re in office. Last year, we saw what happened when our elected officials refused to compromise and dug in their heels for a 21-day government shutdown. Nobody won, and instead of solving the state’s budget problems, the Legislature shifted billions in debt onto our schools and left a projected $4.5 billion deficit for next year. Political party loyalties won out, and “compromise” became a dirty word.
The people I’ve met while campaigning do not want government to be the answer to every problem in the world, but they do expect results to go along with the talk they hear each election year. They have told me about the impact the gridlock and dysfunction at the Capitol has had in their lives. I was recently at the home of a mom who told me how every year her son’s school asks for more and more money for fees, even for basic classroom supplies. The worry in her eyes was clear. Numerous voters wonder why their property taxes went up while the values keep going down, and many point out where services have been cut. Some talk about reduced library hours. One real estate professional described how cutbacks in our state and county have resulted in higher fees and burdensome delays for property owners.
I’m running for state Senate because our community and our state deserves better. I’ll put Woodbury and our people ahead of extreme politics, and work together with anyone from any party toward reasonable, common-sense solutions.
Even though this is my first run for public office, working together to solve difficult problems and achieve results is nothing new to me. Like many of the citizens I’ve heard from on the campaign trail, my professional experience comes from over 20 years in the corporate and nonprofit sectors where collaboration is an expectation and gridlock is not tolerated. I worked with a broad cross-section of industries and companies, from the largest corporations to local small businesses. I also founded the Twin Cities East Chapter of Mothers & More, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of area mothers through support and education—all with no government funding. And as a PTA leader, I’ve had the honor of working closely with people throughout our community to resolve differences and find solutions. It should come as no surprise that, in each of these experiences, bringing people together to build consensus around a shared vision was the key to success.
I know that bi-partisanship at the Legislature is not easy, but surely there is always a path to common ground and hard-earned compromise. My commitment will always be to my constituents and, given the chance, I will be a leader among those ready to set political ideologies aside and get to work on leaving a better community and state for our kids. Working together, Minnesotans always achieve great things.
For now, I’ll be reaching out to voters and listening to what matters to you.
(And you can always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or through my website www.susankentforsenate.com. )
Kent, a Woodbury Democrat, is running in Senate District 53. This submission is the final in a series of Viewpoints submitted by local candidates seeking state office.