House District 54B: Denny McNamara Q-and-AA Q-and-A with Rep. Denny McNamara, Republican incumbent candidate for House District 54B.
Why are you running?
I believe the Legislature needs more common-sense leaders who understand what it’s like to raise a family, make a payroll, volunteer in their community and realize the impact that laws have on our residents.
The state’s financial and budget issues appear to be ongoing. How can this be resolved?
Actually, since the Legislature eliminated a $5 billion shortfall during the last budget cycle and turned it into a $1.3 billion surplus in one year, we have had nothing but positive state economic reports. By all estimates, what was once projected to show to be a significant budget deficit during our next budget cycle will now likely be minimal, maybe even non-existent if the positive trends continue. All of this is happening because we forced state government to live within its means, and clearly this plan is working.
Many in this state believe that legislators are not working together, or with the governor to address the major issues. How can this be changed?
In my case, this belief is not accurate. As chair of the Minnesota House environment committee, I worked closely with Gov. Mark Dayton, his administration, and Democrats on approving an environment finance bill that prioritizes money to stop Asian carp from swimming up the Mississippi River, addresses school trust lands and provides hunting and fishing fee increases. I worked closely with Dayton to ensure I sent him a bill he could sign, and he did. Further, of the 88 bills I authored this past session, 61 had DFL co-authors. And of all the times I voted on passage of a bill on the House floor, over 91 percent of my votes — either a “yes” or “no” — were joined by at least one Democrat. I’m proud of my ability to work together with people on all sides and get the job done.
While the state’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average, there are still thousands seeking jobs. What can be done to improve the state’s unemployment issues?
The good news is we made great progress towards improving Minnesota’s job climate over the past two years. Based on our legislative decisions, our unemployment rate dropped from 7.5 percent to 5.6 percent, and 40,000 Minnesotans have now found a job. But there’s more work to be done, and it all starts with helping create a strong private sector. When companies like Smead and ConAgra and small independent entrepreneurs prosper, Minnesota’s economy thrives, and more jobs are created. We need to get government out of their way, and not raise unnecessary taxes and let them continue to help improve our state’s economic condition.
Minnesota is voting on two proposed amendments to the state constitution — banning same-sex marriage and requiring photo identification for voting. What is your position on both?
I voted to give residents the opportunity to decide if marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman in Minnesota. I also voted to allow residents to choose whether or not they believe photo identification should be presented before someone is allowed to cast a ballot on Election Day.
Why should voters mark their ballots for you?
I have a proven record of getting the job done for area residents, for understanding the issues that are important to our communities and for passing laws on a bipartisan basis. Every year, I continue to walk door to door throughout our district to meet with citizens in order to learn about their concerns and problems. This input is critical as I make decisions in the Minnesota House.
Like you, I’ve experienced the peaks and valleys that come with raising a family, running a business and trying to make ends meet. I’ve always felt this real world experience is extremely beneficial toward making decisions that impact families and area business owners.
I also believe legislators should represent their constituents, not special interests, which is why I have yet to accept one penny in campaign contributions from special interest groups, lobbyists or PACs since serving as your state representative.
It remains a privilege to serve as your state representative. This seat I hold is yours, and I will continue to be accessible and available to you in addressing your interests and concerns through surveys, phone calls, emails, and community meetings. Together, we can make our community and our state a better place to live, work, and play. I respectfully ask for your vote on Nov. 6.