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Jim Arlt and Pat Garofalo are the candidates for the Minnesota House of Representatives District 58B seat.

Candidate questions 2012: Minnesota House District 58B

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In the interest of helping Farmington voters make more informed decisions when they go to the polls Nov. 6, the Independent has reached out to the candidates to find out where they stand. We asked Minnesota House District 58B candidates Pat Garofalo and Jim Arlt the same questions and we're providing their answers to you here.

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Pat Garofalo

Republican • Incumbent

City of residence Farmington

How long in the district 12 years

Immediate family Married, two children

Occupation Network engineer

Why are you running for office?

I am running for the Minnesota House because I believe serving in public office is a meaningful way to contribute to the community in which a person lives. Our state government will be facing significant challenges in the coming years as the population of our state changes. I support changes to government so it is smaller, more efficient, and provides a better value for the taxpayers of our state.

What skills or experiences do you have that you believe will help you be an effective legislator?

I possess a voting record in the legislature that promotes limited government and provides an environment that allows the private sector to expand.

What would your top priority be as a member of the Minnesota Legislature? How do you propose to address it?

Job creation. By keeping a lid on taxes and limiting government spending growth, we can allow the private sector to expand.

What are your priorities when it comes to the state's budget? Are there areas where you see room or need for cuts? Areas you think should not be cut?

Transportation, education and public safety are my top priorities in the legislature. Our state has a budget surplus, so limiting the growth of government spending outside those three priorities should be enough to balance the budget.

Jim Arlt

DFL-endorsed independent

City of residence Ravenna Township

How long in the district 20-plus years

Immediate family Wife, Renae; six children, six grandchildren; 86-year-old mother lives with Jim

Occupation Retired after 33 years in law enforcement

Why are you running for office?

I have had the privilege to serve the citizens of Minnesota in law enforcement for over 30 years. I would like to continue to serve the people of this district as their Representative. As an Independent endorsed by the DFL I will work to end the partisan gridlock that leads to government shutdowns and I will work toward passing bi-partisan legislation.

What skills or experiences do you have that you believe will help you be an effective legislator?

With working in law enforcement I have had many years of experience dealing with people who have had differing viewpoints and working with them to build consensus for a reasonable and productive compromise. I have worked on legislation, testified at subcommittee hearings and reviewed legislation for the financial impact caused by the legislation. I have helped to bring together businesses, business organizations, non-profits, social service agencies and law enforcement agencies to solve problems.

What would your top priority be as a member of the Minnesota Legislature? How do you propose to address it?

The state's economy and middle class jobs. We still need to target specific types manufacturing companies to expand or locate here. This would provide quality employment opportunities.

This can be accomplished by;

a) increasing the funding of the Minnesota Investment Fund that would be used to help facilitate the costs of a company to move to Minnesota,

b) building a strong infrastructure of roads and bridges provided for through bonding. Minnesota's failing infrastructure can be unsafe for our citizens; it damages our economy and makes our state less desirous for a business to locate to.

c) having an educated workforce by providing affordable high quality education opportunities through our colleges, technical colleges and high schools for our citizens. A yearly poll of manufacturing execs from across Minnesota revealed that 31 percent of these executives listed finding skilled workers as a major concern still.

d) focusing on lowering the unemployment rate of our returning veterans and recent college graduates by offering a tax credit for each new Minnesota employee hired by a Minnesota employer. This tax credit cost would be offset by the income tax gain from the new jobs created. The small businesses in our communities provide the majority of new jobs and this provision will be beneficial to stimulate new hiring.

The size of the middle class has been severely reduced by the recent recession, job losses, reduction in home values and the political economic policy of "trickle-down economics." We need to build our economy from the middle class outward and upward.

What are your priorities when it comes to the state's budget? Are there areas where you see room or need for cuts? Areas you think should not be cut?

My first priority is to work with legislators from both political parties and the Governor to provide for an actual balanced budget. This balanced budget would not include accounting shifts of payments to our public schools or other accounting gimmicks that have been used in the past by both parties and voted for by my opponent.

I believe the state's budget priorities should focus first on adequately funding what state government is here to do. We will need to fund our public schools to provide a first rate education for our children and grandchildren. We will need to fund such things as law enforcement, conservation of our natural resources, our college system, build bridges, roads, and other infrastructure. We will need to first find our reductions in funding from making government agencies more efficient such as finish implementing on-line license and permit applications. After conducting this process, we may need to look at budget cuts to finish balancing the budget.

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