House District 54A: Lischeid sees 'perfect storm' in his independent run for Minnesota HouseRon Lischeid said if elected to the Minnesota House he would be free of political party “keepers.”
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
Ron Lischeid said if elected to the Minnesota House he would be free of political party “keepers.”
Getting elected so far has eluded Lischeid, a third-party candidate who has been unsuccessful in 11 political campaigns since 1992, including eight legislative runs mostly in Minneapolis.
A St. Paul Park resident for 1 1/2 years, Lischeid is running for the open House District 54A seat this fall as an Independence Party candidate. He said he sees an opportunity for south Washington County voters to look beyond their usual Democrat and Republican choices.
“To me, District 54A this year is a perfect storm — no incumbent and you’ve got three choices,” he said. “There’s a glass ceiling that needs to be broken.”
Lischeid said he gives voters a viable alternative for a few reasons: he spent much of his career owning and managing small businesses, from auto repair shops to restaurants; he is as qualified to serve as his opponents Dan Schoen and Derrick Lehrke; he is well-rounded and not a one-issue “wing nut” like most third-party candidates; he would not be obligated to vote along a party line.
“I’ve got the freedom to vote my conscience,” he said.
Lischeid said he believes state government’s role in helping to promote private-sector job growth amounts to “funding priorities.” That includes paying for and maintaining a good transportation system—roads and bridges—and ensuring there is high-speed Internet available throughout the state.
“You build infrastructure that people’s lives and jobs depend on,” he said.
Lischeid said the state has “probably too many” regulations that make it tougher for small businesses to open, but the focus of his concern was on zoning issues typically handled by cities.
If the state faces a deficit next year, when the next two-year budget is set, Lischeid said he would be supportive of a mix of tax increases and spending cuts to balance the budget. He said he favors eliminating credit card processing fees paid by businesses, and he would support expanding the state sales tax to online purchases.
“It’s an unlevel playing field for brick-and-mortar businesses in Minnesota,” he said of the fact that Minnesota consumers do not pay sales tax when buying items from websites such as Amazon.
Lischeid said he had no example of specific spending cuts he favors, but said he has problems with education funding. He said the state is not receiving a full return on its investment in K-12 schools if students are dropping out before completing high school. He said he would like to consider prohibiting high school dropouts, or using other penalties such as making a dropout ineligible for welfare.
“Every person has the potential of being good at something,” he said of the importance of staying in school.
Lischeid is running as an Independence Party candidate, but he doesn’t have the party’s endorsement. He said he preferred to run under the party banner than to collect signatures needed to get on the ballot as a candidate without party affiliation. He said he considers himself an independent who was once a Republican.
“There’s a large share of libertarianism in me,” he said.
With his background, Lischeid said he could help change a Legislature that includes long-serving “career politicians” and many lawyers.
“I don’t think that the Legislature, if you look at it demographically, it certainly doesn’t look like the skills and make-up of (the public),” he said.