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Viewpoint: Together, we can meet all challenges

What a humbling honor it has been to represent the residents of Woodbury and Landfall in the Minnesota Legislature for the past two years!

When I took the oath of office in January 2007, I was optimistic about the opportunity to set a new course for our state.

The past two years have presented us all with challenges unprecedented in Minnesota's history.

This year, as I'm knocking on doors in your neighborhood or catching up with you around town, I'm hearing your worries about the economy and our uncertain future. I understand that you are looking for positive solutions.

You want health care you can afford, relief from property tax hikes, better funding for our schools, and job security.

Unfortunately, in these last few weeks of the campaign there are some who have tried to cloud the issues or play to people's fears by distorting the debate or distraitng you from the very real issues we face.

If you want to know where I stand or how I voted, please call me directly -- (651) 296-1147 -- anytime, and I will be pleased to answer your questions.

While we may not always agree, I can promise to respond directly and promptly without partisan spin or political rhetoric.

When I ran for the Legislature, I promised to exercise fiscal responsibility, and I've delivered on that promise.

Families, senior citizens and small businesses will see larger property tax refunds as a result of legislation I supported this year.

A cap on local property taxes will slow down property tax increases, disabled veterans and career military personnel will benefit from additional tax credits. And last year I stood against my own party to oppose a measure to raise income taxes.

I promised to work for better state support for our schools, and I delivered on that promise, too.

District 833 schools will see a restoration of the $1 million in funding cut from their budgets by the 2003 Legislature. More school districts state-wide are now able to offer all-day kindergarten to families who want it as a result of legislation I sponsored.

I promised to work to diminish partisanship and increase productive partnerships, and I've delivered on that, too.

I joined my colleagues from across the aisle to pass nation-leading energy policy and consumer protection laws to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and stem the fallout from the housing crisis that has thrown our nation into recession.

And when it mattered the most, I stood with Minnesotans from across the state to lend a hand to our neighbors in need.

Whether it was a tragic bridge collapse, devastating floods, fires, or drought, we all worked together to make sure that our sense of safety and security was restored and lives were rebuilt.

While it's important to look back over the past two years and see how far we've come, we also must look to the challenges that lie ahead.

Challenges like providing tax relief to middle class families; making sure our schools have the tools to provide a quality education for our kids; ensuring the safety of our streets and neighborhoods; having confidence that our air and water is safe and clean for our families.

We will need real leaders to meet these goals -- leaders who have a pulse on their communities and who have the knowledge and grasp of issues to make sound decisions.

I am asking for your vote on Nov. 4 because I am that leader. I can't do it alone, but with your help, I am confident we can meet these challenges.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to continue to represent you in the Minnesota House of Representatives. I promise that I won't let you down.

Swails is a Woodbury resident and the DFL candidate for the Minnesota House District 56B seat in the Nov. 4 election. She can be reached at (651) 296-1147 or