Senate District 48 serving Eden Prairie and
We’ve come through this year’s election and have had some time to recharge. Nationally, we saw the lowest turnout in 72 years. I door knocked with both Yvonne and Joan. I’m thankful Yvonne pulled through. And, am glad Joan will be running again in 2016.
My campaign volunteers and I have been working toward 2016 since the day after the election in 2012. And, from here on out, we’ll be ramping up our activities. We’re fundraising to meet the maximums of this two-year cycle, and will continue this with the new two-year cycle that starts in January. I continue to be active in both Minnetonka and Eden Prairie with the Economic Development Advisory Commission and as a member of the AM Rotary Board.
But, as we move into the more active phase of our campaign, no matter how much we do, we can’t do it alone. It takes support from everyone to get done what needs to be done during a Senate District-wide campaign.
After this election, I’m hearing the media talking about the trend I noticed last year: with the ineffectiveness of the U.S. Congress, more issues that have been considered federal issues are coming down to State Legislatures. So, it’s more important than ever who is elected to be your state legislators. Who do you want making decisions on student loan debt? legalization of marijuana? immigration? water rights? And so much more…
I’ll be starting to door knock in late winter/early spring of next year and will continue until Election Day of 2016. I plan on door knocking the full Senate District at least twice. I hope you’ll join me and my campaign team as we begin building our efforts for the 2016. It’ll be a great journey. Join us on what I believe will be a historical journey for our district!
Thanks to Ben and Shelly Kyriagis for inviting me to be part of their fundraiser for State Auditor Rebecca Otto.
On February 4, 2014, the Eden Prairie AM Rotary meeting was held at the Feed My Starving Children facility in Chanhassen.
In addition to helping prepare meals (that’s me in the light blue shirt in the middle row), the Rotary donated $2,000 to this worthwhile organization.
I’m honored to be part of the Rotary’s Grant Foundation.
Recent letters and commentaries about the Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) have expressed their authors’ irritation, but they don’t tell the whole story. In fact, they didn’t tell the story at all.
The Metropolitan Council states that the single LRT line operating in the Twin Cities provided “94 million rides – 80% of those rides took people to and from work” last year. Imagine how productive a full LRT system throughout the Twin Cities that connected businesses to businesses, businesses to communities, and communities to cultural events would be. Not only are employees connected to their businesses, but Eden Prairie and Minnetonka become easily within reach of visitors and tourists who want to explore the area. Transitways attract new economic investments, termed Transit Oriented Development (TOD); just look along the old streetcar lines stretching out along Excelsior Boulevard to see how growth follows transit.
When I’m visiting friends in Washington, DC, my daughter in Seattle or my son in Denver I use this 21st Century transportation. I don’t need to rent a car and can get around easily. Our Southwest Transit busses are an integral part of the transit picture in the southwest suburbs. LRT is the missing piece that hobbles the busses’ effectiveness. Getting around in Eden Prairie is nice, bringing shoppers, tourists and business from downtown (via LRT) to Eden Prairie and dispersing them through the city using the busses means prosperity. And the ability to take the LRT downtown or to the airport only sweetens the deal.
I know some people are really fond of their cars. LRT benefits them as well. Have you driven I-494, Hwy. 169, or Hwy. 62 lately? Sat idle in the major traffic jams? This waste of time and money has got to stop. Without LRT traffic congestion only gets worse. Each time we expand the roads we pay the hefty cost and by the time it’s finished (usually years later) the roads are over-congested again almost immediately. LRT takes cars off the roads, making commute times quicker and cutting down on the need for continuous construction. Imagine a summer without a road construction project. You don’t need to ride LRT to benefit from it.
Much has been said about the cost of building the LRT. What hasn’t been mentioned is how LRT will reduce costs in other areas: reducing the need for continuous expansion of freeways, reduced gas & time wasted idling in traffic jams, not to mention the expense imposed on families who need a second, third (or fourth) car because their teens need to get to their jobs or internships.
Light Rail is not developed overnight and as we wait the problems become worse and the cost rises. All the while we’re becoming less and less competitive with other cities around the US. Right now we have Federal funds committed to help. If we turn our noses up those funds won’t be refunded to us as tax rebates, the money just goes to the next city on the list – one that wants to grow their economy with LRT.
I am one of the 79% of Minnesotans who want LRT. So are Eden Prairie Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens, the majority of the Eden Prairie City Council and the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce. We see the benefits to Eden Prairie and the opportunities that open up for Eden Prairie businesses and families. I want a future where the Twin Cities is #1 for metropolitan cities to live for our commitment to sustainable living and communities. SW LRT is a major link in that chain.
Minnetonka Economic Development Advisory Commissioner
Eden Prairie News, July 18, 2013
I have lived in Eden Prairie for the last 18 years, and will confess to being tired of the tone our current elected representatives present to us.
Sen. David Hann, for example, presents himself as “the jobs guy” and “the low taxes guy …” And yet this session, what we got was divisive social legislation, resulting in constitutional amendments that pit Minnesota residents against each other, increased local taxes (please, spare us the nonsense of “no new taxes;” former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson has decisively answered that), borrowing from our schools, the shutting down of our state government, and the assurance of another deficit for the next legislative session. What we got was an ideologue better suited to the Tea Party than to the moderate majority of our district.
It is time for us to be represented by someone who is not so consumed with ideology. It is time for us to be represented by someone who cannot be caricatured as “pro tax and spend,” when she has spent her life as a successful small business woman — precisely the sort of person Sen. Hann allegedly purports to support. It is time for us to be represented by someone who will listen to all points of view. Please join me in voting for Laurie McKendry as our State Senator.
Chris Nelson, Eden Prairie
Eden Prairie loves its kids. Do we? Education is so politicized that we lose sight of what’s in the best interest for our kids, betraying independent research and accountability. The anchor for thriving communities? Excellent schools. Quality education for kids.
Recent attacks misstate Laurie McKendry’s position on education. The opposition slyly promotes another wave of ineffective corporate-sponsored reform (school choice, “results” measured by a handful of high-stakes, billions-in-profit testing companies.
Evidence by the Economic Policy Institute proves that holding teachers accountable for growth in student test scores (performance-based lay-offs) is more harmful than helpful to children’s education. And according to the conservative, pro-charter Center for Research on Education Outcomes, charters performed worse than public schools 36 percent of the time, better a meager 17 percent of the time, and no differently for the remainder. Some results for pushing ever more restrictive government/corporate controlled reform policies
Want quality education for Eden Prairie? The answer is not to bash teachers or to advance unfounded, tired, false reform measures. The world’s No. 1 educational system is Finland where they respect teachers who have higher level degrees in education and understand both child development and effective teacing practice. Finland loves its kids and its teachers.
Laurie McKendry understands the proven benefits of smaller class size. She’ll review independent research to provide excellent education for all. Please join me in voting for Laurie’s responsible leadership. Our kids deserve a world-class education.
LynMarie Berntson, Eden Prairie
Sen. David Hann has voted against state funding for the Southwest LRT Project. This places at risk over $600,000,000 of federal funds for the project. Our state has to compete with other states for these dollars. If Minnesota doesn’t receive them, the money isn’t saved. It will go to other states where elected officials are more enlightened about the benefits of supporting rail projects — places like Houston and Charlotte. Those cities will use their expanded light rail systems as a tool to attract new businesses.
$600 million will provide thousands of jobs in the short-term and create significant development opportunities for Eden Prairie and Minnetonka in the long term. Developers seek locations by rail stations to build properties containing shopping, restaurants, office buildings, housing and more. With the five stations in Eden Prairie, this could provide hundreds of millions of dollars in new development.
That new development will increase our tax base, draw new businesses to our area and provide new housing options to support those businesses. The Eden Prairie and TwinWest Chambers of Commerce both support the SW LRT. They clearly understand the significant, positive impact this will have on our community.
Laurie McKendry understands the positive impact SW LRT will have on our community and has clearly stated her support. She is committed to actions that really do support Eden Prairie. I’m voting for McKendry, and I hope you will, too.
Jerry Pitzrick, Eden Prairie
Pitzrick is a member of the Eden Prairie Planning Commission