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Stillwater Area Reps Weigh in on State of the State, Gun Control and Same-Sex Marriage

Stillwater area representatives all said they believe the budget, state economy, job creation and healthcare need to be the priorities this session, not “divisive social issues.”

Last week, Gov. Mark Dayton told Minnesota legislators to roll up their sleeves and “work together to build a state that works” during his State of the State address.

The governor defended the work of his administration over the last two years, saying great progress had been made in restoring fiscal responsibility and operational integrity.

Click here to read Dayton's speech.

He also made the case for his vision of the future, discussing the need for a healthy environment and affirming his support for same-sex marriage.

“I’m surprised Governor Dayton took credit for the budget that turned a $6.2 billion deficit into a $2.5 billion surplus,” Rep. Kathy Lohmer said. “Republicans passed that budget and Governor Dayton previously stated that he felt forced into signing it.”

And while taking credit for the budget, Lohmer said she found it “curious” that the governor “never brought up his sales tax expansion or the business-to-business tax” in his address.

“I don’t think Governor Dayton’s approach is right for our state,” Lohmer said. “What is balanced about offering only $1 in cuts to $16 in tax increases? Under that proposal, Minnesota will become the land of 10,000 taxes. It’s a budget for a better Wisconsin.”

Sen. Karin Housley doubled-down on Lohmer’s comments.

"Our unemployment rate is decreasing, and our economy is improving because we’ve prioritized spending and not asked taxpayers to pay more,” Housley said. “Although it's improving, our economy is still fragile. Now is not the time to raise taxes and grow government. Instead, we should work to grow our economy.”

Dayton is asking every Minnesotan to pay more to grow government, she said. Everyone will pay more for clothes, car repairs, haircuts and other goods and services.

Second Amendment

Stillwater area representatives all said they believe the budget, state economy, job creation and healthcare need to be the priorities this session, not “divisive social issues.”

Divisive gun hearings dominated the House Public Safety Committee’s agenda last week, and “most Minnesotans believe our priorities should be directed elsewhere,” Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) said. “I see this as a distraction from issues like the health insurance exchange and the budget proposal—both topics Governor Dayton and DFL leaders haven't had much support on.”

Lohmer, who sits on that committee, agreed, and said she is also concerned that DFL leadership is not listening to citizens who are bringing all sides of the argument to the table.

I am a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, but it was important for me to listen to opposing viewpoints,” Lohmer said; noting that DFL members of the committee stood up and left when Second Amendment supporters had their turn to testify.

“It was very concerning to me that Alice Hausman (DFL-Roseville) who was chief author of one of the most contentious gun control bills was not even present to testify for her bill,” Lohmer said. “She had a lobbyist testify in her place."

“In all of the committee hearings I’ve been a part of for over two years now,” she continued, “I have never seen that happen before.” 

The constitution is very clear in its protection of rights to bear arms, Dettmer said. It doesn't specify a right to hunt or a right to hold individual weapons, just a right to bear arms.

“We have plenty of laws on the books in Minnesota and new regulations are unnecessary,” Dettmer said. “I also believe schools should govern themselves when it comes to school safety precautions.”

Same-sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage is another contentious issue that dominated the political discussion last year and “is now distracting us from our main obligations this year,” Dettmer said.

Dettmer supports protecting the traditional definition of marriage, and said he has always been up front with his constituents about it.

“Gay marriage is certainly an issue that divides Minnesota,” Housley said. “I think we should focus first on our state’s budget, growing the economy and creating jobs.”

Lohmer, too, said she has been clear that she supports traditional marriage.

“While the marriage amendment did not pass,” Lohmer said, “I do not believe that vote represented an endorsement of gay marriage.”

Susan February 11, 2013 at 11:35 PM
"While the marriage amendment did not pass,” Lohmer said, “I do not believe that vote represented an endorsement of gay marriage.” So please tell us, what do you BELIEVE it meant? Did it mean that the people think that our representatives should be focusing on "the budget, state economy, job creation and healthcare... this session, not “divisive social issues" like you and your party did last year, or are you just playing flip flipper on what were important issues in 2012 yet are now somehow far less important three months later, when you no longer hold the majority? Now this is hypocrisy at its finest. Well done, Ms Lohmer.
Randy Marsh February 12, 2013 at 12:30 AM
I actually believe what Lohmer says about the topic. There were many people who voted "no" who did so for philosophical reasons. Do you honestly think if the amendment was to legalize gay marriage rather than just not restricting it in our state constitution that it would have passed, Susan? I don't think it would have and I think the DFL would be wise to let this one simmer for a little bit, at least one election cycle.
Susan February 12, 2013 at 12:37 AM
No, I do not think legalizing gay marriage would have passed a ballot vote in November. My point above is that I think she is again a HUGE hypocrite. This issue was mighty important to her party last year, yet all of a sudden she realized that the people don't want our representatives to focus on the divisive social issues? Give me a break! If they still had the majority, she would still be focused on all those social issues, just as she has been in the last two years. Yes, I agree that many people voted "no" simply because they didn't agree with it being on the ballot or that is represented bypassing the system, just as many Democrats voted against recalling Walker just because they were against what a recall represented...bypassing or overriding the system.
Randy Marsh February 12, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Gotcha, I agree on the hypocrisy part.
Edward February 12, 2013 at 03:15 AM
British House of Commons just overwhelmingly (400-175) passed gay marriage. Give it 5 years (for the dinosaurs to die off) and we'll be doing the same here. In twenty years we'll wonder what all the brouhaha was about. Tea Party Lohmer is on the wrong side of history on this one. Yes, Susan, responsible leaders are focusing on economic growth right now. Ms. Lohmer needs to read Larry Summer's assessment (today, Reuters). "A weak economy and limited job creation make growth in middle-class incomes all but impossible, add pressure to budgets by restricting tax revenue, and threaten essential private and public investments in education and innovation. Worse, they undermine the American example at a dangerous time in the world." What is she going to do about it? Continue the anti-Dayton rants?
Laurie Helgason February 12, 2013 at 04:12 PM
My vote on the marriage amendment did represent my endorsement of gay marriage.
Susan February 12, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Mine to, Laurie. The current polls (if you believe them) show a small majority is opposed to gay marriage in Minnesota. I'm not exactly sure how this relates to the small majority that voted no. What I said above is only speculation in regards to gay marriage, however the exit polls for the Walker recall did show that many voted against the recall because of the recall itself, not necessarily because they approved of what Walker was doing.

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