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Andrew Brobston and Dave Thompson are seeking election to the Minnesota District 57 Senate seat.

Candidate questions 2012: Minnesota Senate District 58

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news Farmington, 55024
Farmington Independent
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Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

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 Senate District 57 candidates Dave Thompson and Andrew Brobston the same questions and we're providing their answers to you here.


Minnesota Senate District 58

Dave Thompson

Republican • Incumbent

City of residence Lakeville

How long in the district 14 years

Immediate family Wife, Rhonda; daughter, Amanda; son, Phil

Occupation In-house counsel and director of Connecticut Business Development for Lakeville company

Why are you running for office?

I care deeply about the future of our state and nation, and sincerely hope to move our public policy in the right direction. My experience in the private sector as an employer and employee has prepared me for public service.

Government at all levels is trying to do too much for too many. We are on an unsustainable fiscal trajectory. I am willing to discuss the difficult issues and propose solutions regardless of the "politics" involved.

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

I believe strongly in a citizen legislature. Therefore, I do not believe any special educational or technical expertise is necessary. In my mind, a legislator should be an individual who thinks clearly and has common sense. In addition, he/she should have a set of experiences in life that bring about maturity and insight into "the way the world works."

I have worked in the private sector for over 30 years, 25 of them full time. My experience includes many years as an employer as well as an employee. I am also a husband, father and first term State Senator.

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

Economic growth is my top priority. Median family income is down, and there are too many people unemployed or underemployed. This problem must be addressed through creating a more favorable economic climate. This is done by minimizing regulation, avoiding burdensome employment laws, and keeping taxes low. Successful, profitable businesses are able to provide good jobs.

Also, our future prosperity depends upon an educated populace. This does not mean everyone must attend college. What is important is that all Minnesotans are able to read, write and do basic mathematics. Therefore, we must reform the way we provide education. The problem cannot be corrected by simply spending more money. We must either provide a functional school system, or provide parents a way out of failing schools.

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?

There are certainly many places to reduce government spending. State government plays far too big a role in our economy and in the lives of individuals. For example, we could realize significant savings by cutting back on economic regulations, thereby reducing the size of the bureaucracy.

However, we could get our state on a path to fiscal sustainability by simply reducing government spending across the board by some small percentage and then freezing spending at that level for several budgeting cycles. Population growth along with higher state GDP would naturally reduce government as a percentage of total income and productivity.

Andrew Brobston


City of residence Vermillion Township

How long in the district Two years

Immediate family None

Occupation Software developer

Why are you running for office?

Like many people I know, I have been frustrated with our state government. We had a government shutdown over party politics and an unwillingness to work together for Minnesotans. As a software developer, I solve problems every day by working together with people to meet as many of their interests as I can. I saw the chance to make a difference by taking this brand of problem-solving to Saint Paul. Minnesotans deserve better than gridlock, and our district deserves a Senator who will actively work for all of us instead of just for one party or another.

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

The most important skill for a legislator is problem-solving. I dig deeper to find out what interests are behind what a person or group says that he or she wants. Sometimes, these interests are obvious, and other times, less so. By finding these interests from as many types of people who would be affected by an action as possible, I can design better software -- and better legislation.

In addition, I own a small business, so I have some idea what might help certain small business owners. I have three years of experience as a school music teacher, so I have some first-hand knowledge of what might help education. No legislator can have every experience that could possible be relevant, and I am no exception. That is why I will ask for insight from people on all sides of an issue so that I can best meet the interests of the people I serve.

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

My top priority will be to work toward a balanced budget. This work needs to start immediately so that we are not facing another shutdown. I will work with legislators from both houses and both parties, along with the governor, so that we can get the state's finances back on track.

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?

We need to meet the obligation in our Minnesota Constitution to fund our public schools. My budget-related priorities for education are to repay what the state borrowed from our schools, to ensure that we have enough good teachers to get class sizes down and to increase secondary course offerings responsibly. We should restore the homestead credit and fully fund its restoration in order to keep property taxes lower for our homeowners, businesses, and farmers. I am not aware of specific areas where there is room for cuts, but all expenditures need to be examined to find possible savings. In my eyes, there is no such thing as "state money." It's your money, and the Legislature must handle it very carefully.