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Candidate Viewpoint: Derrick Lehrke

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Two years ago, when I decided to run for Cottage Grove City Council, I did so because of my passion for improving the community in which I was born, raised and live. During that campaign, I set out to tell voters who I am and what I believed. But most importantly I listened to their ideas on how to improve the city and then I acted on those after being elected to the council.

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I will take this same approach if elected to the Minnesota House in District 54A. Too often, we send people to St. Paul who become a part of the "political machine" and only recite party talking points on boiler plate issues.

I believe that government should be responsive to the people and not the other way around. This commitment to an open and responsive government will lead me to vote using my conscience instead of "going along to get along." I believe this willingness to stand up for all will serve our district well in St. Paul should you elect me this fall.

The challenges facing our state are real. While our state's financial outlook has improved, we must continue to restrain spending and push through common sense reforms. This will not be easy, but we can do it successfully by setting and then adequately funding priorities, while also getting rid of what we don't need. This is the same practice that every family uses to make their own budgeting decisions and government should be no different. In order to bring true reform to our state budget, we must move beyond the "we have always done it this way" approach to governance and focus on funding what are truly our priorities.

We are lucky to have amazing schools in our district. However, we must continue to look for ways to reform our education system that will actually benefit our students. A world class education system is the bedrock that will allow future generations to grow and prosper. I pledge to work with local teachers, administrators and parents to come up with ideas that will achieve this goal and bring them to St. Paul.

In these challenging times, we must ensure we have a tax and regulatory system that encourages small business to expand and grow our economy. As your state representative, I will work to drive business expansion in our district. When small- and medium-sized businesses can expand and create jobs, we all win. Private sector growth is the key to turning around our economy and making our quality of life even better.

Over the next few months, I will be knocking on your doors and meeting you at parades and community events. I need to hear your thoughts, your ideas and your hopes and fears for the future. Working together we can bring common sense solutions to St. Paul on the issues that matter most to you, not to any political party or interest group.

If I am fortunate enough to be elected as your state representative this November, the only special interest that will drive my vote in the Legislature is you. If that means standing and fighting loudly against members of either political party, I will do it. If that means quietly working with local leaders and community members behind the scenes to achieve results, I will do it. If that means getting my hands dirty and working with other legislators to create a bipartisan coalition to do what's right, I will do it. My number one priority will be to stay focused on your issues, not my own. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions, would like to share ideas or want to talk about an issue. I look forward to hearing from you and meeting you throughout the summer and fall.

Lehrke is the Republican Party-endorsed candidate for House District 54A. For his campaign information, go to www.Vote4Derrick.com or call 651-459-3932.

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