Baltich, Uglem face off in open House District 36A

Grace Baltich, DFL, and Mark Uglem, GOP, are on the ballot in the open House District 36A seat. DFL Rep. Denise Dittrich did not seek re-election.

1. Biography.

Grace Baltich

Grace Baltich

Baltich:  Born and raised in Champlin, parents Larry and Joan Molenaar.

Champlin Park graduate; bachelor of social work, College of St. Benedict; masters in social work, U of M; social worker and mediator, advocating for and protecting children, families and vulnerable adults; member Champlin United Methodist Church – choir, faith community partnership.

President, AFSCME local 2685; vice president, AFSCME Council 65; executive board member, MRLF; member, League of Women Voters; former co-chairperson National Association of Social Workers, PACE committee.

Former co-chairperson of Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council Executive Board and former chairperson of advisory board; former award winning Jaycees Community Development VP; former award winning Champlin Law Enforcement Explorer.

Husband Jim, a Marine Gulf War veteran, and daughter Eva.

Grace is also step-mother to Ashlee and Jakob, and step-grandmother to Chayley.

Mark Uglem

Mark Uglem

Uglem: Mark Uglem. My wife Pamela and I have lived in Champlin for 23 years and raised our three children, Benjamen, Jenny and Rose, all graduates of Champlin Park High School.

I have a B.A. from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a major in urban studies.

I am currently mayor of Champlin and finishing my third term (six years).

have also served the citizens of Champlin as a council member as well as the chairman of the Planning Commission.

Prior to living in Champlin we were residents of Brooklyn Park and I served on the Planning Commission in Brooklyn Park.

I am currently vice president of the North Metro Mayors Association; former president Champlin Park Hockey Booster Club; former commission member for Mill Pond Gables Senior Development.

Former president Color Guild International Paint Buying Group; former president Northwestern Society of Coatings Technology; former executive vice president Hirshfield’s Paint Manufacturing; and former vice president Sierra Paint Corporation.

2. How should the Minnesota Legislature address future budget deficits – raise taxes, cut spending or both? What taxes should be raised? What programs should be cut? 

Baltich: We’ve kicked the can down the road for too long. It’s time we get serious about solving the state’s budget problems.

Unlike my opponent, I believe that in order to work collaboratively, you cannot automatically dismiss ideas.

I believe everything has to be on the table when solving the budget – increased revenue and spending cuts.

We need to evaluate programs and policies to reform or eliminate those that are not effective.

We also need to reform and simplify our tax system and ensure that everyone pays their fair share for the Minnesota we depend on and enjoy.

Uglem: The state of Minnesota has a spending problem not a revenue problem.

Future budget deficits can mainly be addressed in two ways.

Grow the economy through job creation resulting in increased revenues and cut spending just like many of us have done in our family budgets.

To grow the economy, we need to protect the rights of small business.

Cutting unneeded bureaucratic regulations that are stifling job creation would be a priority of mine. We also must promote a business climate that will keep jobs in our state and bring new jobs in.

I don’t believe that in the current economic climate taxes should be raised.

The elimination of duplicative agencies and services can save valuable tax money.

A perfect example of this may be the Department of Natural Resources Land and Waters Division (DNR) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (PCA).

In many cases, there is overlapping jurisdiction and regulation. During the “Great Recession” private business downsized and re-invented itself.

Government historically has never done that. It needs to do that now.

3. Should the Minnesota Legislature increase state funding for K-12 education? If so, how? If not, why not?

Baltich: As a social worker, mediator and a mom I understand the value of a high quality education.

I will fight to ensure all students achieve to the best of their ability, that schools are safe places for all students and that we stop jeopardizing our children’s success by using education funds to solve the state’s budget problems.

Our state’s constitution mandates that we provide education to all of our children.

As a state we must pay back the $2.4 billion owed to our schools and we must provide predictable, sustainable and equitable school funding for all of our schools.

Economically, we cannot afford to have substandard education for some students because they live in a property poor community.

We must rely less on regressive property taxes for funding while still allowing for local control at the school district level.

Uglem: Our children are our greatest resource and we need to continue funding our schools in an adequate manner.

However, this does not mean just throwing money at a system that is not achieving results.

During the last sessions, the Republican Legislature enacted $195 million in new revenue from base funding and $686 million in increased funding compared with fiscal year 2010-2011.

The basic formula per child was increased $100 over the biennium. (This represents about 70 percent of a district’s operating budget).

The Legislature did attempt to pay back the money it borrowed from the schools, but this was vetoed by the Governor Dayton. We need to pay this back.

We need to work on closing the achievement gap for all students.

A longer school day might also be a possibility, as well as using and teaching new technology to our students.

We cannot afford to let other countries such as China beat us in the education game.

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