Shakopee Chamber Minnesota House 55A candidate videos

Every election season, our Shakopee Chamber of Commerce takes on the unenviable task of interviewing each candidate for office in Shakopee. They ask a standard series of questions for each race. Here are the answers from my opponent and me.

Quotation marks represent verbatim responses.

Watch the full videos below.

What have you done in the past to improve the way government operates?

  • As Mayor, we built coalitions to work on right-sizing our City budget to begin paying off debt, investing in our community, and focusing on the future.
  • Pushed for an Economic Development Coordinator to work with businesses and improve the process of locating in our community.
  • Worked on communication and transparency within City government.
  • “My background is not in government.”
  • “My background is in the private sector.”

If you could write, sign, and pass three laws today, what would they be and why?

  • The first thing that has to be done is fix tax conformity and sign a transportation bill. “The State of Minnesota is out of tax conformity with the Federal government right now and for all of our small businesses and residents we must first fix that.”
    • Note: If this is not fixed right away in the 2019 legislative session, it will cost Minnesotans thousands of dollars in taxes on April 15.
  • “We have a lot of regulations in state government that don’t need to be there that are increasing the cost of housing.” We hope our kids will grow up and move away then come back and start families and businesses. We have very little entry-level, affordable housing available in Shakopee for that to happen.
  • “It is unconscionable to me that we are second in the nation for places to raise a family but we are also third-to-last in the nation for racial inequities.” We start to fix this problem by investing in our future and fully funding pre-k and start fixing the problems resulting in racial inequality instead of just talking about them.
  • “Number one is we need a school board removal bill.”
    • Note: I also believe there should be a mechanism in state law that allows for the removal of local elected officials who are unable to perform their duties. There currently is a law that needs to be expanded to allow removal of local elected officials. Learn More.
  • “Number two…I would say it is 169…it would be restriping the 169 bridge.”
    • Note: While Mayor, I worked very closely with Senator Claire Robling and MnDOT on getting the Bloomington Ferry Bridge restriped during flood events. We had to push hard together for this and got it done on a temporary basis. Getting it permanently restripesd is not possible for two reasons:
      • The bridge was not built to withstand the constant weight and wear of an additional lane of traffic. We do not want another 35W here in Shakopee.
      • This would be completely ineffective during winter and cause significant safety issues because there is nowhere to put snow without shoulders.
  • “The cost of health care plans has skyrocketed despite what we were promised.” “I believe it is time to reassert our 10th amendment rights – our state rights – and draft a bill that allows us to opt out of Obamacare.”
    • Note: This action would directly allow health insurance companies the opportunity to deny coverage to seniors, those with pre-existing conditions, and eliminate caps for Minnesotans with chronic diseases.
  • Note: My opponent has publicly stated multiple times that the first bill he’d introduce is a ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill allowing someone to use lethal force if they perceive a threat. (This is a very, very bad idea – Man killed in Florida ‘stand your ground’ shooting was turning away, autopsy indicates)

Chamber members have difficulty finding an adequate number of skilled workers at a sustainable wage. What do you believe is the Minnesota government’s role in addressing this situation?

  • “The state has to work on things they should have been working on the last ten years but just haven’t.” For a skilled workforce we must have:
    • Transportation – “We have to have high quality roads, bridges, and transit.”
    • Education – “We have to work on educating our students for the future workforce. Emphasizing technical college and not just four-year college.”
    • Housing – “We must have locally available housing to provide housing for a locally available workforce.”
  • Not answered.

Minnesota business taxes rank third-highest in the nation at 9.8%. Should Minnesota’s tax rate become more competitive and how so?

  • Study after study shows that high corporate taxes negatively impact personal income taxes collected by the state. “It is really important that we start to work that down.”
  • “Minnesota is ranked really highly in great places to do business. The thing I am most concerned about with the tax structure…is that it disproportionately hits our medium and small business owners.”
  • “I think it has to. We have 50 states that need to compete for resources.”
  • “[Skilled workers] are fleeing the state because they actually want to keep more of their money.”
  • “My opponent thinks that corporate welfare schemes are the answer and I think the answer is a healthy and sustainable business climate.”

What are Shakopee’s biggest transportation issues and how will you work to address them?

  • “The Bloomington Ferry Bridge is the number one transportation issue that we have.”
  • We have about 80% of our workforce leaving town each day. Our workforce does not match our jobs available and that is why we worked to partner with high-wage job creators in Shakopee to fix that mismatch. This sparked a lot of high-wage investment in our community.
  • “The congestion we see every single day of trying to get across the bridge simply won’t be solved by adding more lanes. We know from fact that expanding lanes works for short amount of time but doesn’t work for the long-term.”
  • “We must add lanes but also do other things like invest in transit.”
  • Note: Somehow I missed talking about my support for the 169 Bus Rapid Transit plan that will serve Shakopee. I 100% support and will work on fully funding this solution as your legislator.
  • “I go back to 169. I think that everybody who has to cross that bridge can see it.”
  • “I go back to restricting the bridge.”

Watch the videos

Brad Tabke

Erik Mortensen