Candidate profile: Lillie seeks to serve businessesTed Lillie spent most of his career trying to stay out of politics.
By: Mike Longaecker, Woodbury Bulletin
Ted Lillie spent most of his career trying to stay out of politics.
The newspaper publisher chose to work behind the scenes – serving on east metro boards and organizing community efforts to streamline local government.
But after serving 10 years on the HealthEast board of directors and leading efforts to merge local government services in District 622 and beyond, Lillie began being prodded by people to run for office.
“I was very reluctant,” the Woodbury Republican said.
Ultimately, Lillie concluded that the Legislature didn’t have enough perspective from the business community.
“I felt I could lend that voice,” he said.
Lillie ran for state Senate in 2010, where he defeated Democratic incumbent Sen. Kathy Saltzmann in District 56.
He’s now running in the re-drawn District 53, which includes all of Woodbury, against Democrat Susan Kent.
Lillie said that two years after being elected to office, his priorities haven’t changed.
“The message is loud and clear,” he said, citing door-knocking visits. “Create more jobs.”
Lillie and his wife Lynn, a former longtime medical director at Woodwinds Health Campus, moved to Woodbury this year after redistricting, but he took issue with allegations that the move was politically motivated. Until then, he had lived in Lake Elmo in a redrawn district that would have pitted him against an incumbent Republican senator.
“We did not move for political reasons,” Lillie said, adding that the new house is a one-level structure that best fits Lynn’s needs after her recent double-knee replacement surgery. “For people to say that I am this other person, it is hurtful.”
Lillie, the first freshman ever to be elected to the caucus role of majority whip, said he would keep his eye on business-related issues if re-elected. One thing he’s focusing on is passing a two-year moratorium on agency rulemaking that affects businesses in Minnesota.
“Job creators need to be able to have a vision moving forward,” Lillie said.
He said working to expand Minnesota’s tax base and “growing our way out of” the slow economy also takes high priority. High unemployment rates among youth, minorities and returning veterans need to be addressed, Lillie said.
“These are areas we need to work on,” he added.