Election 2016 Candidate Q&A: Matt Little, Senate District 58
1. What would you say is the top challenge facing the residents of your legislative district, and how would you address it?
The most important issue facing our district is our local economy. To improve the economy, we must focus on four core areas: jobs and infrastructure, education, seniors, and reducing the cost of health care. On infrastructure, I would prioritize projects that bring tax dollars back to our district, including: adding a third lane to Interstate 35, additional park and ride stations, and revamping the County Road 50/I-35 interchange so businesses can thrive. In Farmington, we need a safer and more accessible Highway 3, and an additional east-west corridor to reduce travel time for commuters. Finally, an overall transportation package is vital for rural manufacturing and farming in the district, as those industries rely on a healthy road system. And, I'll make sure our small towns get the basic infrastructure they need through a bonding bill.
Let’s rebuild a world-class education system. To do so, we need to reduce the amount of testing and make it more efficient and usable. We need to use targeted pre-kindergarten scholarships to help reduce the achievement gap. And, we must allow for more in-district innovation and flexibility with funding.
For our economy to be successful, we must allow our seniors to age in place. That will require reducing the tax on Social Security benefits, training our workforce to take care of our aging population, and partnering with the private sector to create a transportation system for seniors who can no longer drive.
Finally, we need to reduce the cost of health care by creating price transparency, so that consumers are armed with the information about how much their treatment would cost with each provider.
2. Why do you think you should be elected to the Minnesota legislature?
If elected, I’d provide independent, nonpartisan leadership. In my time as mayor, we’ve produced double-digit job growth, record breaking business development, and we’ve built more single family homes than any other city in Minnesota for the last three years. Not to mention, we have the lowest per capita taxes of any major city in Dakota County. We’ve done this by focusing on less partisan, more practical politics which makes decisions based on what’s best for our community. I’d take that same approach to St. Paul.
3. What specific measures do you support to increase the transparency and reduce the gridlock of the lawmaking process?
We have to change the way we’re doing politics in St. Paul. We need to elect people that will focus on practical, data-driven decisions. I have a strong track record of working with anyone, from any party, to get things done. I’ll take that same approach to St. Paul to grow jobs, improve our infrastructure, and rebuild a world-class education. I’ll make sure our seniors can age in place and our veterans are taken care of.
4. How would you approach developing a comprehensive plan and funding package for roads, bridges and transit?
The Dibble-Kelly plan that was offered last session was a model of bipartisan cooperation and I would support a similar plan in future. I support comprehensive transportation funding reform with long-term, incremental improvements rather than binge and bust funding cycles. Transportation funding should prioritize more cost-effective options, such as bus transit. Effective, nonpartisan reform requires remaining open and flexible while finding the right mix of non-burdensome funding sources.
Occupation: Mayor, lawyer
Education: J.D., University of Minnesota Law School (graduated magna cum laude), Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of Minnesota-Morris (graduated with distinction).
Family: Fiancé Coco, Mom and Dad, brothers, nieces and nephews (all of whom live in Lakeville)
Civic Involvement: Lakeville Lions, Mayor of Lakeville: 2013-Current, City Councilor of Lakeville: 2011-2012, former volunteer at the Open Door food shelf.