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District 53B: Education, health care top Sandell's priority list

Steve Sandell

Age: 78

Address: 4639 Wild Canyon Trail

Twitter: #Sandell2018


Occupation: Retired teacher

Education: Brown University, Bachelor of Arts; Stanford University, Master of Arts; Macalester College, teaching certification

Family: Married, two children, two grandchildren

Civic involvement: Board of Advisors, YMCA Camp Warren; Teachers representative, Visitation School Board of Trustees; Teachers representative, Anglo American School Board of Trustees; PTA president; Union member, contract bargaining team; Youth athletics coach and association board

Why should residents vote for you?

I'm running for office because the challenges we face require a different approach to government; a willingness to compromise and negotiate; and make an effort to anticipate the future. I want to hear what you have to say about schools and education, the health care you need, the environment you enjoy, the economic opportunities you expect, the daily concerns of making ends meet.

Woodbury is a city connected to the world. We import and export ideas and innovation as well as goods and services, and we have to find ways to make those connections sustainable and beneficial in the future.

I know that politics can be rough. But I'm not running to represent a single political party or special interest group. I'll let you know about my feelings on issues, the costs and benefits we can anticipate in legislation, and invite your ideas before I cast my vote.

If elected, what is your top priority for the 2019 Legislature? Why are you running for office?

I've a list of priorities. Health care is at the top. All Minnesota deserve care they can depend on, that they can afford, and that's as close as a phone call or a familiar provider at a nearby clinic, and a comprehensive approach focusing on preventative care and early intervention, and in which we all contribute according to our ability to pay.

I'll work for school finance reform, for safe and nurturing schools, protection of our water resources and fragile environment, smart development, incentives for entrepreneurs and small business, good jobs with good wages and benefits, common sense gun safety, and attention to the needs of our retired and citizens.

The 2019 Legislature will be tasked with passing a tax bill to update the federal changes passed in 2017. Should Minnesota conform to the federal law, or should the Legislature take the opportunity to provide tax relief?

Neither of those choices is good for Woodbury or Minnesota. The 2017 federal law gave tax breaks to the very wealthy and large corporations, while ignoring the rest of us. The result is that our national debt is growing faster than ever before, revenues aren't meeting expenditures. That bill — and it will be a big one — will come later.

Taking a tax cut while our roads and bridges, transit system, schools, care for our growing elderly population, infrastructure supporting residential housing development, protecting our environment all need attention and more is a false economy. Leaving those bills for generations to come is an example of using yesterday's answers to complicated problems. Minnesotans deserve a more responsible and thoughtful approach.

What is your preference for raising additional money for roads and bridges: Dedicating transportation-related money from the general fund, such as the sales tax on auto parts, or raising the gas tax? Or is current funding sufficient?

The Department of Transportation is planning for more roads and bridges, system maintenance and an expanded transit system. Much of that can be covered by federal sources and capturing the entire sales tax on auto parts for use by the department. And since all of us benefit from the goods and services that arrive to us on the roads, some of that burden should come from the general fund. Those are the easy answers.

It's more difficult to consider questions about the impact of expanding suburban development, rising standards of environmental regulation, electric cars, more fuel efficient vehicles, the impact of our online shopping and personal delivery, our use of mass transit, and the price of oil on the international market. And don't forget the related costs of air transport. Those are just a few of the dynamics affecting this question. Easy answers won't do anymore.

Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.

  • Teacher, St. Paul Public Schools, Visitation School, University of Minnesota
  • Director, The Humphrey Forum, University of Minnesota
  • Head of Education, Minnesota Historical Society
  • Director, New City School, St. Paul Public Schools
  • Teachers Rep, Visitation School Board of Trustees
  • Minnesota Education Hero, Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation
  • Outstanding Academic Staff Award, University of Minnesota
  • Distinguished Achievement Award, Education Press Association
  • Filene Foundation Summer Fellowship, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • American Association of State and Local History, National Award of Merit
  • Chicago Publishers Award, Best Elementary and Secondary Textbook
  • Governor's Commendation for Outstanding Leadership in Teaching
  • Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow
  • Elected Student Representative to the Stanford University Graduate School Committee on
  • Academic Affairs; Graduation speaker
  • Northern Lights: Going to the Sources, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1989
Hannah Black

Hannah Black is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. She is a proud graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism. Outside of reporting, she enjoys running, going to museums and trying new coffee shops. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her dog, Wendell.

(651) 301-7817