Q&A with Senate District 54 challenger Leilani Holmstadt
• Party: Republican
• Age: 50
• City: Cottage Grove
• Occupation: Child care business owner
• Education: Bachelor's degree in social work
• Family: Husband of 20 years and children
• Civic involvement: My volunteer involvement has been centered around activities that my children have participated in. I have served on organizational boards and in a leadership capacity with American Heritage Girls, as a guide for an honor guard, and a softball coach. I have been a hardworking mom, not a politician. It is time to use my management skills in government.
Why should voters choose you over your opponent?
My opponent's agenda of failed policies such as MNsure and more spending for light rail are crippling our economy and our way of life. I understand the fear of the average, hardworking citizen as everything they have worked for is stolen. Their health care, once the best in the world, has been stolen from them — they are paying more and getting less. Their jobs are being stolen from them.
The thief is government corruption and bad government policies. It needs to stop.
It's my intention to be their voice at the Capitol. I'm not there to serve my own self interests but to serve the people of Senate District 54.
Do you believe additional funding is needed for transportation projects? If so, what specific revenue source(s) do you support and how should new transportation funding be spent?
When a powerful group like the Metropolitan Council remains unaccountable to voters, they quickly lose touch with the actual needs of our region like congestion relief, traffic safety, and new roads and bridges.
The cost of Southwest Light Rail is $123 million per mile and will only remove 2 percent of the cars from the road. Roads are not nearly as subsidized as trains, and everyone benefits from our roads. Without roads, food would never get to our grocery stores and the emergency vehicles would not be able to get to our homes. The cost is high and the benefit is nearly nonexistent.
If the state is projected to have a budget surplus, what would you do with that revenue?
With a budget surplus, I would support returning the surplus to the people, in a way that the surplus wouldn't be federally taxed.
If the state is projected to have a budget deficit, how would you propose the budget be balanced — spending cuts, tax/revenue increases or a combination of the two?
As a nation, we have built an economy and culture on debt. The culture of debt has hurt all of us, but it has been most devastating for those with lower income. Waste, fraud and corruption are running rampant throughout state government programs.
Take MNsure, for example. The Minnesota Legislative Auditor found that over a five-month period the state overpaid between $115 million and $271 million in Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare benefits due to MNsure's failure to ensure people met the program's eligibility requirements.
Hefty taxes and regulatory burdens add to the cost of doing business in our state. Because of this, Minnesota's economy is now mediocre at best. Government relies on tax revenue from taxpayers. The more people you have earning a paycheck, the higher the tax revenue.
There is a great deal of potential that can be unleashed in Minnesota if we create policies that attract businesses and encourage our most productive citizens to stay.
What would you do to reduce partisanship in the Minnesota Legislature?
Partisanship isn't necessarily a bad thing because it presents voters with relatively clear choices. Whether you want Minnesota to be more middle of the road or to lean one way or the other, you have to participate in the process. So let your voice be heard and vote on Election Day.