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Senator Ted Lillie: Private citizens can thrive with hands-off government

Summer has arrived in full swing and for Minnesotans the return of longer days and lakeshore weather assures us of a few things. One, there is no shame in taking some time away from our hectic schedules to recover from the affliction known as "six months of winter." Two, if you can map out a route to work that avoids road construction sites you've performed a feat rivaling Kirby Puckett's 11th inning homer to force Game 7 in '91 . Three, if it is an election year, political candidates will be getting their workout via parades and door-knocking as they stride further down the campaign trail; and it's a workout we can use in body, mind and spirit.

I have always enjoyed campaigning in the district because of the contrast it provides. During the legislative session you come to my office and we sit and discuss what we can do to improve Minnesota's future. There is talk of taxes, and budgets and business. But during these summer months when the Legislature is out, I am able to come to you at our parades, picnics and even directly to your door and the talk lightens. Yes, there will always be discussions about Minnesota's finances and the state's business climate, but when I'm traveling the district during the summer the focus narrows to the individuals I meet. I get to know you and your family.

The notion that people have the ability to achieve great and incredible things is why I decided to run for office in 2010 and this continues to be the reason I am running for a second term. As private business owners, my wife Lynne and I learned through our struggles and successes that private citizens are the catalysts of achievement. Not government or the programs it creates. Private citizens can build loving and supportive families who become the cornerstone of a healthy community. Private citizens can begin a business that, if fostered and cared for, grows into a worldwide recognized leader such as 3M, which was founded by five visionary northern Minnesotans.

But, in order to achieve these successes people must be granted a little bit of faith, inspiration and space. That concept of space is an important factor to the success of private citizens. A person cannot be tied down by regulations and constraining laws that hinder their ability to pursue their goals. That is why I ran for office and why I am running again; because I have seen firsthand that Minnesota's government has grown too big and too burdensome on the citizens of our state.

Government cannot be everything to everyone, but that is what it has been trying to do here and because of that it has grown out of control. During my first term in office we successfully blocked a $4.1 billion tax increase that would have crippled middle class families. There are some who believe that in order to help Minnesotans, we in government have to somehow save Minnesotans from themselves by regulating what they can and cannot do. They believe they can do this by taxing Minnesotans and then spending those dollars on the very people they just took the money from; as if they know how to spend your own money better than you.

I do not subscribe to this method of thinking. I believe that if you give people freedom by reducing the size of government, encouragement by listening and finding common sense solutions, and space without burdensome regulations, that Minnesotans can and will prosper. That is how we've grown our business. That is how many friends and neighbors have been able to write the stories of their own successes without government addendums. And that is how I believe future Minnesotans will be able to author their own achievements.

I am excited about the upcoming months. There is no better time to get to know you, your family and your story than right now. Thank you for the honor it is to serve this district. I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail.

Lillie, a Woodbury Republican, represents Senate District 56. This submission is part of a series of Viewpoints submitted by local candidates seeking state office.