Hovde for state House

The Minnesota Legislature is divided into 134 districts, more than many other states in the country. District 59B surrounds the University of Minnesota, which has been represented by Brooklyn, New York native Phyllis Kahn since 1972. She has voted for more tax increases than almost anyone to sit in the House with her during her entire career. She has spent her time writing bills allowing fourth graders to vote. She has even been convicted of violating campaign laws. The people of our district (mostly college students) deserve a new voice to represent our needs and views at the capitol in St. Paul. There is no better person for the job than University student Ole Hovde. Ole is a Minnesota resident pursuing a degree in political science at the University. He owns a small business (a window washing company) and has been active in politics for many years. I personally worked with Ole in the House of Representatives when we interned together during a session. He has the temperament and background to make a great representative for the 36,000-plus residents that reside in this district. The district itself is comprised of many young people; 67 percent of the residents are between 18 and 34 years old. Kahn is no longer a young person, and having a student represent the largest campus in the state only makes sense. On the issues, Kahn has been out of touch with her constituents on several matters of great importance. On job growth, Kahn has supported every single tax increase on businesses during the last two years, and a vast majority over her 36 years in office. She has a zero rating on tax and budget issues according to her profile on Project Vote Smart. Ole will support pro-business legislation that will get our economy moving again and grow jobs. The University is preparing students for jobs that will not exist if we do not continue to allow businesses to thrive. Taxes on businesses (yes, even the big, evil, rich ones) kill jobs, period. Students across the University system have seen double-digit increases in the cost of tuition over the last five years, but none more than Twin Cities campus students. The University has not learned that tuition and fee increases of over 10 percent annually send a very bad signal to the Legislature that provides funding to them, especially after the Legislature voted to provide more money than any other time in history. So it makes sense that state action requiring a freeze on tuition for a public, taxpayer-funded institution would be a no-brainer. Not for Kahn. Kahn voted against the tuition freeze proposal in the 2007-2008 biennium, and there is no reason to believe she will ever support such a freeze in the future. Tuition increases have made the University a school for the rich, scaring away potential Minnesota residents with great talent that are cheated by the current boondoggle of a college financial assistance system, beginning with the FAFSA. On public safety, Kahn has voted against more lighting for back allies, probably because she is more concerned about light pollution than student muggings. Robberies continue to increase. The University has the smallest police force in the Big Ten, but is the second largest campus. There is an obvious need for more action on public safety, and Ole knows this. Failing inter-city schools receive more funding than schools anywhere else in the state, and this problem has only grown. Last session, Kahn voted to provide an increased amount of funds to failing schools without requirements for improvement or accountability. These schools should be audited. The people deserve to know why the money is not reaching students in the classroom like it should, which is why Ole will sponsor a bill that calls for certain percentages of education funding to be only spent in the classroom. Some would argue that costs of living are higher in the city, but outstate Minnesota has much higher transportation costs (students often live 20 or more miles away from their school), and their expenditures are much lower. The excuses need to go away and the standards need to increase. Kahn has played games with our democracy, attempting to create a system where 12-year-olds can vote and where state government tells high schools how to build their stadiums (she opposed the opportunity for DeLaSalle to have a football complex). On a more personal note, Kahn is a partisan hack. She was convicted of stealing campaign literature from other candidates in 2004, reports the Associated Press, and she has a consistent DFL voting pattern with hardly any action across party lines. She is clearly unfit to continue representing the interests of students at the University and Augsburg in district 59B. Hovde has visited several thousand homes in the district, asking voters how they feel about issues. He will legislate for the people, not a party. Ole is passionate about serving the people, but this should be obvious considering the only way to run against a 36-year incumbent is with passion. This election will allow all of us to vote for change, one way or another. Like IâÄôve always said, believing in the promises of Barack Obama and Sen. Joe Biden is like believing in the tooth fairy. If, however, you do find yourself voting for âÄúchangeâÄù next Tuesday, be sure to vote for change on a local level as well. The affect of your vote has never been more important, and as a unified front of college students, this is one election we can all change. Phyllis Kahn represents the past, and anything but change. With only a few thousand votes cast in total, the election for state representative is one we can all feel good about if we elect Ole Hovde. Andy Post welcomes comments at [email protected].