Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, who currently serves as the Speaker for the Minnesota House of Representatives, is being challenged in a Republican primary by Alan Duff in House District 31 A. The district, which spans Anoka, Isanti and Sherburne counties, includes parts of Nowthen, St. Francis and Oak Grove. The candidates took some time to answer a few questions about their qualifications and policy platforms in advance of the Aug. 9 primary election.
1. Tell us about yourself and why you feel you are qualified to serve as State Representative.
KURT DAUDT: It has been my honor to serve residents of this area as a township officer, county commissioner and now as state representative. It is also a great honor to serve Minnesota as the Speaker of the House. In my roll as your representative, it’s my responsibility to make sure the values of our community have a strong voice at the Capitol and that’s why I have never voted to raise your taxes and never will. As Speaker and the top Republican in the state, it’s my responsibility to lead the charge for those values across the whole state. I’ve been the leading voice in the state for tax cuts not increases, and against wasteful projects like Southwest Light Rail.
I am honored to have earned the unanimous endorsement of Republicans in House District 31A. I am pro-life and I’m proud to have earned the endorsement Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. I am a sportsman, a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and I’ve earned an A+ rating and endorsement from the National Rifle Association. I successfully passed multiple pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment measures into law this session.
I fight for hardworking taxpayers. I was elected the Speaker of the House by my colleagues and lead the largest House Republican Majority Caucus in over a decade. As a team, House Republicans serve as the check and balance to Governor Dayton and the liberal, DFL agenda. Under my leadership, we balanced the budget without raising taxes, limiting spending to one of the lowest increases in the past 50 years. We passed a historic tax cut for retired military veterans. My signature piece of legislation eliminated wasteful spending and protected taxpayers from fraud and abuse through EBT card (welfare) reform, preventing EBT cards from being used at casinos or for alcohol and tobacco.
ALAN DUFF: I am an Army veteran with 23 years of military service who cares deeply about this country and the future we are leaving for our children and grandchildren. I started out in the military as a private and was promoted eight times, retiring as a major in 2005. My wife Louise and I have five children and two grandchildren. We own and operate a small company in Bradford Township that does property maintenance and job placement for veterans.
Following my military service, I served 6 years as an elected official in local office. It was during this time that I realized the greatest threat to America’s future was self-serving politicians who do not stand for the conservative values embraced by the people in this district.
I am qualified to serve as your State Representative because I have experience managing family, business and public budgets. I also recognize the dangers of growing state government from $30 billion to $43 billion during the past six years, a nearly 50 percent increase, while most family budgets have grown significantly less than this. I believe that limited government allows hard-working residents and businesses from 31A to keep more of their hard-earned dollars to spend on their families.
I share the frustration of many voters that politicians are not hearing their concerns and getting the job done during the legislative session. I believe I’m better qualified to serve as State Representative for House District 31A because I strive to live my life with principles of service, honor and integrity, values I learned from 23 years in military service. People are sick and tired of politicians who lie, spend recklessly, raise our taxes and serve the needs of special interests. As your State Representative, my commitment will be to the people of this district.
2. If elected, what would be your top priorities as State Representative for District 31A?
DAUDT: My top priority as State Representative for District 31A is tax relief. Minnesota is recovering from the Recession and taxpayers have paid-in more than the state needs resulting in a nearly $900 million budget surplus. For the past two years as Speaker, I have held back Governor Dayton and the Senate DFL majority from spending every last penny and I have fought to return the surplus to taxpayers like you.
The reality is: while state coffers have a surplus, Minnesota families aren’t seeing a surplus in their own budgets. House Republicans passed a tax relief package that delivered much-needed relief to farmers, middle-class families, college students, Main Street businesses, and veterans. Unfortunately, the governor vetoed the bill. I will continue to stand up for hardworking taxpayers, eliminating wasteful spending and working to put money back in your pocket.
In addition to tax relief, I will work to limit the size of government and make it run more efficiently. Transportation infrastructure is a core function of government. I’ll work to prioritize spending on fixing road and bridges in our community instead of throwing your hard-earned tax dollars away on controversial light rail boondoggles. Health care costs have skyrocketed for too many families. I’ll fight to eliminate Obamacare in Minnesota also known as MNsure and continue to seek out ways to lower costs and improve quality of care.
Ultimately, your priorities are my priorities.
DUFF: My top four priorities will be 1) reducing taxes; 2) enhancing firearm protection; 3) stopping backroom deals; and 4) initiating term limits.
As one of the highest taxed states in the U.S., I will fight to stop the out of control growth of Minnesota spending that focuses more on special interests than the basic, fundamental needs of the people such as safety, security and infrastructure.
I will lead the effort to nullify any unconstitutional gun ban by Congress or future Presidents. I will not support any legislation that involves backroom deals or insufficient time for legislators to read the bills as that is not fair to the public and further alienates frustrated citizens who believe their voice is being squashed by lobbyists and special interests. Finally, I will fight to bring term limits to Minnesota to help curb the problems created by career politicians.