The primary election in the race for the District 47 seat in the state senate will be on Tuesday, Aug. 14.
As part of our coverage of the primary election, we conducted a Q and A with both candidates: incumbent Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen and Bruce Schwichtenberg of Carver.
Each candidate responded to four questions. Their answers are below.
1) Please tell us about your background and/or experience.
Julianne Ortman: I was one of seven children and began working in our family business in eighth grade, learning the importance of work ethic, honor and integrity from my parents, and the value of education. I have practiced law since 1989, successfully managed our family business (1994-2006), and have worked alongside my husband for 23 years, to raise strong, principled, faithful children, to help pay for college and achieve their goals, and to serve church and community. In high school I became a Republican after reading about Ronald Reagan, who sounded the alarm that government borrowing and spending was out of control.
Bruce Schwichtenberg: I’m Bruce Schwichtenberg, 52 years old, married to Darlene for 25 years and have five daughters. We live south of Carver in San Francisco Township. I grew up in Waconia where my parents Bob and Vernetta Schwichtenberg live. I graduated from Trinity grade school, Mayer Lutheran High School, Hutchinson Vo-tech and attended Concordia College. I am a self-employed auto mechanic and have been a business owner for over 25 years. I have been a County GOP Board member for four years. I worked on Tom Emmer’s gubernatorial campaign, Ernie Leidiger’s Representative campaign, and ran for County Commissioner.
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2) What are the biggest challenges facing District 47 and what will you do to help District 47 overcome those challenges?
Schwichtenberg: The biggest challenge is reigning in government spending. At all levels, government has grown at a rate that is squeezing out the private sector and putting undue pressure on businesses and families. Career politicians have created a wealth redistribution system that is overtaxing businesses reducing resources for expansion, hiring employees, increasing pay, and R & D. It is taking money out of the family budgets leaving them less choice where THEY spend THEIR money. The state is putting this into expanding government under the guise of taking care of or "protecting" us and deciding what we need. We really need personal responsibility. Health care needs to be addressed, Obamacare will only make the problem worse. We need to expand competition in the system to provide people choices and get away from pre-paid health care where there is no cost transparency. Carver County consists of bedroom and rural farm communities. Finishing the expansion of Hwy 212 and Hwy 5 will help both. This will help commutes, make roads safer for truck traffic, less congestion, and save time and money. We need to eliminate the Met Council.
Ortman: We need more high-paying jobs and business investment. Encouraging economic growth must be our highest priority in 2013; many families and businesses are struggling, and just getting by for years. I’ve spearheaded the cause of fiscal discipline, and will for the 2014-15 budget – including spending reductions and tax cuts. Again we’ll need a strong spokesperson to defeat Governor Dayton’s plan to raise taxes. I work with our County, Cities and Economic Development Authorities, and State Agencies to encourage new business investment and expansion here, and assist in securing infrastructure and resources to accommodate growth.
We have more government than we can afford! Government should set priorities for spending, distinguish needs from wants, and combine overlapping agencies (e.g. water planning is managed at federal, state, county, metropolitan and city levels, and oftentimes by more than one agency), which makes permitting difficult for businesses and asks taxpayers to fund duplicative services.
We need to hold MnDOT accountable to build roads and bridges to meet current needs and future growth. I am working now to secure the federal 212 funds recently diverted; I will continue to oppose light rail, and empty subsidized Metro buses, in favor of roads and suburban buses.
3) What differentiates you from your primary opponent?
Ortman: Credibility at the Capitol is earned through hard work, willingness to learn, the ability to present facts, logic and persuasion. There is no short cut. It’s also true in business, education, and elections. I have a history of setting goals and achieving them, knowing the value of hard work and dedication. From personal goals, like running a marathon, to bigger ones like successfully managing a business, serving as County Commissioner, or leading as Tax Committee Chair, I have a proven record of service to the community, and leadership in challenging circumstances. There is no substitute for experience, honor or integrity.
Schwichtenberg: I’m not a career politician. I don’t get my pay from two government jobs. I’ll work toward shrinking state spending 10 percent the first year. My opponent was on the leadership team as tax committee chair and Deputy Majority Leader that increased state spending about $2 billion. I don’t believe that was the expectation of the electorate. I will represent the wishes of my Senate District. Seventy five percent of citizens wanted to have the Right-to-Work issue put on the ballot. She voted against that amendment which was part of the stadium bill. I would’ve voted for it.
4) Why should citizens give you their vote?
Schwichtenberg: For our society to get better we need to reduce government intrusion and allow for personal responsibility. Some government is necessary. All government is force. Do you trust government now? I will work toward less government spending. I will work to stop the dictates of the Met Council, an unelected organization. I work to stop the fraud in the welfare system. I will make the agencies accountable to their spending. I will ask the question, "Is this the responsibility the government?" We need to reduce the influence of special interests. I ask for your vote on Aug. 14.
Ortman: For 10 years, voters have entrusted me to work hard, develop credibility, and become a recognized spokesperson for our views (e.g., leading the Legislature’s challenges to Obamacare, and attempted Title changes for Marriage Amendment and Voter ID Ballot Questions). I earned my position as Tax Committee Chair, authored key legislation that became law: balancing the state’s $6.2 billion deficit without raising taxes, estate tax relief for family-owned farms and businesses; sales tax exemption for Townships, tax credits encouraging economic investment, and funding for roads (Highways 212, 5, 7, and 101 Bridge). I ask for voters’ continued support on Aug. 14.