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Martin: Running an as independent

Jim Martin's long-shot legislative campaign is rooted in his belief that people should have more control over their government.

The Lake Elmo resident said he decided to mount an independent campaign for House District 56A after seeing non-elected government boards, not just elected legislators, spending tax money.

"When I knock on people's doors, they tell me, 'I feel detached from my government,' and that's pretty much the reason why I'm running," Martin said.

Martin offered a few ideas on how the Legislature next year should balance a projected $5.8 billion deficit, lawmakers' main job. Martin said he believes state revenue will increase as the economy improves and unemployed people find jobs. They will be paying taxes, which will boost state coffers.

Also, Martin also said the state could bring down its costs by transferring education spending decisions to local school districts.

"The local government should be the one to educate them," he said.

Martin's campaign is based on four positions: that legislators should not set their own pay; that voters, not lawmakers, should approve taxes; that unelected boards such as the Metropolitan Council should not be allowed to levy taxes; and that local governments are "coerced" into levying taxes so they can comply with regional planning the development goals.

Martin is running without a major political party's support. He collected voter signatures to secure a spot on the Nov. 2 ballot. That means the only people he is beholden to are local voters, not party activists who endorse candidates, Martin said.

"You can do a lot when you're not affiliated with a party," he said. "I can actually speak from my heart."