The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Election News

October 13, 2006

Fresh challenge in 25A

Brod, Siebsen square off

A first-time candidate is challenging the assistant majority leader of the state House to represent the large, diverse District 25A.

Newcomer Tim Siebsen of Montgomery, who calls himself an independent-minded Democrat, and Republican Rep. Laura Brod of New Prague take similar stances on many of the issues in the race.

Still, the two do find areas to disagree on, especially when evaluating the performance of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s administration.

When asked in a Free Press questionnaire about the top issues that influenced their decision to run, both candidates mentioned health care.

Brod also cited a desire to work for quality education and to promote strong rural communities that are safe, affordable and offer good jobs.

Siebsen, a six-year veteran of the Minnesota National Guard who served in Kosovo, put veterans’ issues at the top of his list, along with transportation.

On the issue of transportation, both candidates support dedicating 100 percent of the motor vehicle sales tax to transportation improvements. Where they differ is on whether the Minnesota Department of Transportation should stick with its pay-as-you-go approach to road construction and repairs.

Brod argued MnDOT should use bonding to finance some projects but cautioned against allowing debt to grow unchecked. Siebsen said MnDOT should make no change to its pay-as-you-go plan.

Neither candidate would support a general raise in taxes at this time. But Siebsen said the state government has passed on too many unfunded mandates to the counties, forcing counties to find the funding through property-tax hikes.

Brod acknowledged that some property-tax relief is needed but preferred relief is determined person by person through existing programs.

Both candidates recognized the importance of early childhood education. But where Brod defended the Pawlenty administration’s efforts in that area, Siebsen expressed disappointment.

Siebsen, although he is against abortion, said Republicans have focused too much on abortion issues and have “forgotten” about how important education and health care are for children.

Brod defended cuts the administration made to early childhood education in 2003. She said even as funding was reduced, early childhood education remained a priority over other areas.

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