Laker primary coverage: House District 33B candidates

The primary election will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 14. As part of the Laker’s primary election coverage, each of the candidates in the Senate District 33 and House District 33B races were asked to participate in a question and answer session, which appears here.

GOP voters in House District 33B will have two candidates to choose from when they head to the polls for the Aug. 14 primary.

Cindy Pugh, the party’s endorsed candidate, will square off against Steve Smith, the current 33A representative.

House District 33B includes the cities of Mound, Excelsior, Shorewood, Deephaven, Tonka Bay, Spring Park, Minnetonka Beach, Greenwood and parts of Chanhassen.

Cindy Pugh

Address: 260 Mountain View, Chanhassen

Contact: [email protected]

Family: Married, two adult children

Education: B.S. University of Wisconsin – Madison

Occupation: Community volunteer, homemaker, former businesswoman

Years lived in the district: 25

Community-civic involvement: Chanhassen Coordinator for Operation Minnesota Nice, Co-Founder of Southwest Metro Tea Party

Q: What do you feel separates you from your primary opponent?

A: I support right to work legislation to allow employees the right to decide whether to join a union or pay union dues. This issue stalled last session due to special interests, to which I am not nor will not become beholden.

I would have voted to place the marriage amendment on the ballot because marriage is between one man and one woman and to retain the right of Minnesotans to vote on such an important matter.

Being active in our community, I have a fresh perspective to bring to Saint Paul, one that has been shaped by the wonderful people I’ve come to know. Voters in the new district are eager for representation that is more engaged and consistent with the new constituency.

Q: What do you feel are some of the major issues facing the constituents of the district?

A: Property taxes – while everyone is troubled about rising property taxes, seniors are especially worried about staying in their homes.

Jobs, jobs, job – the people I speak with are worried about keeping their job if they have one; they are worried about finding one if they are unemployed; and business owners are worried about being able to retain their business.

K-12 education – everyone in our district, whether they have school-aged children or not, are proud of our outstanding public schools and want to maintain that standard.

Q: If elected in November, what would be at the top of your list of priorities?

A: Improving the business climate. TwinWest recently honored me with their endorsement because they recognized my commitment to the private sector as job creators, especially small businesses, which are the economic engine of our economy.

Dealing with the state’s debt. We cannot continue to ignore the unfunded liabilities of public pension funds, which could be as high as $19 billion. These are promises that were easily made, but difficult to keep the longer they go unaddressed.

Retaining our leadership in health care delivery and service. We need free market driven solutions that respect patients’ rights and responsibilities in their own care. This means not instituting a one-size-fits-all federal health care exchange that expands government’s reach into our personal health care choices.

Steve Smith

Address: 2710 Clare Lane, Mound

Contact: [email protected]

Family: One son, 25

Education: B.A., University of Minnesota; J.D., Oklahoma City School of Law

Occupation: Attorney-at-law

Years lived in the district: 37 years

Community-civic involvement: 2011 Community Advocacy Award from Family Partnership for leadership in providing services to improve the lives of children, youth and families; 2011 Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association’s Legislator of the Year for leadership in crime prevention and support of the law enforcement community

Q: What do you feel separates you from your primary opponent?

A: I am a Republican. My challenger, Cindy Pugh, was endorsed by 88 Tea party zero-government extremists at a local meeting on May 23.

Q: What do you feel are some of the major issues facing the constituents of the district?

A: Working families in our area want responsible government to provide solid schools, good roads and safe neighborhoods. I have worked for those good things for western Hennepin County citizens for a long time.

They support the private free enterprise system, because it is the only economic system truly compatible with our political and civil liberties.

They want to balance the government’s budget without raising taxes, and with an eye on cutting spending.

They want welfare programs that should not be available automatically on application, but should require proof of actual need, proof of citizenship and be designed to promote work and self-sufficiency of the recipient.

Family values? Yes. They support the right to life. They want the right under the Second Amendment to protect themselves and their families through personal protection.

The right to express themselves religiously.

They want the right to live without government intrusion in their lives, and the right to privacy.

Q: If elected in November, what would be at the top of your list of priorities?

I was chief author on more bills that were signed into law by Gov. Tim Pawlenty than any other legislator.

That record stands.

Not bills for brochures or for special interests, but laws on public safety; child support reform; custody and visitation-parenting time; government and public pension reform; domestic violence; fire fighter training and funding; courts; public defenders; corrections; and human rights.

I will continue that work.