Tale of two Scotts in House District 35B race

Peggy Scott, incumbent Republican representative, has been challenged by DFLer Sam Scott for the House District 35B election. Sam Scott did  not respond to the questionnaire.

1. Biography.

Peggy Scott
Peggy Scott

Peggy Scott: My family and I have lived in Andover for 16 years.

I have been married to my husband, David, for 28 years. We have two children, Conner, 19, and Shae, 17.

Prior to serving in the Legislature, I served on the Andover Park and Recreation Commission and have been involved in our community as a youth soccer and basketball coach, small business owner, realtor and active member of Meadow Creek Church.

The thing in life I am most proud of is my family. I am blessed to have a supportive husband and two terrific kids.

In the Legislature, my top priority will continue to be serving my constituents. Other priorities are policies that are family and business-friendly, reduction of mandates on our local units of government and reforming government programs, many of which have been operating the same for 30 years.

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? 

Peggy Scott: Minnesota has a long-term structural deficit. The best way to address this is through spending reform and efficiencies in delivery of services.

We must prioritize spending. In the past 50 years our population has grown by just over 55 percent, but our state budget has grown from $528 million to $33 billion, as increase of over 6,000 percent.

Spending on this level is not sustainable. Before I would agree to a tax increase, spending must come under control. We have made some steps in that direction, with reforms to welfare, health and human services, DNR and others, but there is a long way to go.

We need to ask some very important questions so that our spending is smarter. Will spending more money on this program improve results? If this program is still needed, what changes can be made to reduce costs and improve outcomes?

If the program is obsolete or duplicative, how soon can we sunset it?

Is this a priority for our state? How will this expenditure affect jobs? Can a technological improvement reduce the cost and improve the quality of this expenditure?

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

Peggy Scott: Last session, we reformed how school trust lands are to be managed in order to increase the trust balance for a bigger investment return for our school kids.

This change creates an independent director for the school trust lands whose sole responsibility is maximizing revenues off these lands. This model has increased returns significantly of school trust lands in other states. We are hopeful it will have similar results in our state.

It is also important to note that we increased K-12 education funding by $650 million last biennium and school districts received $195 million in new revenue from base funding.

Anoka-Hennepin also received an additional $4 million in one-time dollars from the state toward equalizing funding with Minneapolis and St. Paul schools.

As a parent and policy maker, I believe we should link student outcomes, teacher and principal performance and seniority, to a degree, to compensation and employment.

There are many wonderful teachers and principals in our state. We must assure that we are placing the best teachers and principals in our classrooms and schools and they may or may not be the ones who have been there the longest.

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