At the start of this year’s session, Patch asked local legislators . After the session ended, we returned to the legislators to see how they thought they did working toward those goals.
Below are the thoughts Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-District 44A) shared with Patch. The conversation doesn’t end here, though. We want to know what you think about the performance of your state senator and representatives. Did they make progress toward their stated goals? Were they stymied by the opposition? Were they working toward the right goals? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Here’s what Simon had to say:
Goal: "First and foremost, I will focus on job creation and retention. A good start is the capital investment plan that Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed, which would invest in vital public works projects throughout the state."
Self-review: "Although the legislature could have done much more to help others create jobs, there was a last-minute burst of activity that provided some relief. The Vikings stadium will provide thousands of jobs to the beleaguered construction trades. And the public works bill (aka "bonding" bill), though too small, will create jobs of various kinds in all corners of the state."
Goal: "I want to help steer our state away from partisan and highly divisive fights. We need collaboration, not endless (and needless) controversy. Last year, legislative leaders unfortunately chose to focus tremendous time and attention on issues such as the proposed anti-marriage amendment to the constitution. That was an entirely unnecessary mistake, which caused bitter feelings that persist to this day. Instead, I'll push for a focus on issues that people care about, like jobs, education, and transportation."
Self-review: "Sadly, the legislative leadership seemed incapable of resisting highly-charged issues that distract and divide our state. All too often, instead of focusing on jobs or education or transportation, the legislature focused on issues like abortion, guns, and immigration. That misplaced energy was a missed opportunity. We should be working towards common ground, not towards scoring cheap political points."
Goal: "I want to make sure our schools get fair treatment. Last year, the legislature unwisely borrowed billions of dollars from our students (the highest level of such borrowing in state history)—with an uncertain timetable for repayment. I would like to see our schools paid back as quickly as possible with a fair and stable source of revenue."
Self-review: "I was part of a coalition to try to pay back our schools after legislative leaders borrowed hundred of millions of dollars from them last year as a budget-balancing gimmick. Unfortunately, the architects of the borrowing scheme would only agree to pay back the schools by raiding the budget reserves. That idea went nowhere. As a result, we still owe our schools. If we do not pay back that debt, students will pay the price."
Goal: 'I'll push hard for transportation relief in the form of improvements to Highway 100 and acceleration of the Southwest Corridor light rail transit line. Heavy traffic in our area costs us time and money. The best solution includes a reasonable blend of road improvements and rail expansion."
Self-review: "Among the legislature's most glaring failures was the refusal to provide a single dollar for the Southwest Corridor light rail line. Despite strong support for the project from the governor, and the fact that every dollar spent would unlock nine dollars from other sources, legislative leaders abandoned Southwest LRT. Working alongside the business community, I'll re-double my efforts next year."
You can read Sen. Ron Latz's self-assessment .