Q&A: Kevin Dahle, DFL Candidate for Senate District 20

Kevin Dahle faces Mike Dudley.

Two candidates are vying for your support as representative of Senate District 20, which represents the majority of Northfield.

The two candidates are:

  • Kevin Dahle
  • Mike Dudley

Patch asked candidates to respond to a series of questions. Below, you will find responses from Dahle, the DFL-endorsed candidate. You can also read responses from Republican-endorsed Dudley. Responses are written by the candidates and have not been edited by Patch.

In the coming weeks we'll run video interviews for candidates who are on Nov. 6's ballot in Northfield-related races. You can also find out more information about the candidates by checking out our election guide for all election-related stories.

Kevin Dahle

Age: 52
Family: Wife Beth and children Kalista 13, Greenlee 10, Griffith 7
Education: BA Social Sciences University of Northern Iowa, MA Education St. Mary’s University
Occupation: Secondary Social Studies teacher in the Northfield Public Schools
Political experience: Previous/related Experience: Served as State Senator for Senate District 25 for 3 years (2008-2010), serving on Education Policy and Finance, Commerce and Consumer Protection, Energy, Utilities, Communication, and Technology Committees

Why are you running for the Minnesota Senate? What do you offer to Senate District 20?

I believe in possibilities. We can meet the challenges and maximize the opportunities that lay before us. What will break the people of Minnesota is not adversity, but thinking that tomorrow is going to be just like yesterday. If we think government cannot change what is broken, we lose interest, we lose faith, we lose the people...but worst of all, we lose the future.

What’s the most pressing issue facing the state? Senate District 20?

Our current situation demands that no senator runs on one issue. We need to achieve a balanced approach to the budget deficit without compromising jobs and essential services. We cannot tax our way to economic recovery or cut our way to prosperity. Economic growth will come through proper investment in health care, infrastructure, education, business, and protecting the middle class. The new legislature faces a $1.1 billion deficit when it convenes in January. Factor in the shift repayment and the deficit for the coming biennium will top $4.4 billion. Finding a new revenue stream is essential to avoid further slashing of essential programs and services. I agree with Governor Dayton’s plan to pass legislation to close corporate tax loopholes and create a permanent stream of revenue. This will go directly to repaying the school shift.

What is something you think the current Legislature has done well?

A good example of what can happen when the Governor, the House, Senate, and both political parties work well together is best exemplified in the one day special session which took place in late August. In that session, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a $167.5 million flood relief package for Duluth and other communities damaged by floods and storms. This bipartisan bill breezed through both chambers in one day with most of the money going directly to repairing roads, bridges, parks and other public property. Individuals and businesses affected by the disaster also received assistance.

What is something you think the current Legislature hasn’t done well?

We don’t need the distraction of a Constitutional amendment on the ballot in November. There are far more pressing issues that will have a much greater impact on our quality of life today and tomorrow. The deadlock between our Senators and Representatives must be broken. Putting citizens first, considering all options, and a willingness to put away the party playbook tops my list of wishes for the 2012 legislative session.

What would you have tried to do differently?

I have witnessed firsthand what the lack of educational investment has done to educational quality. Paying our state's bills by borrowing from our schools is irresponsible and short-sighted. The children who are affected by this financial shift will not get those years back. We need to dedicate ourselves to a consistent and predictable means of financing education so it does not suffer from the economic cycles from which it cannot recover.

How would you describe the relationship between the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton?

It's no secret that Mark Dayton and the Legislature had a difficult time finding common ground. This impasse was never more evident than on July 1, 2011 when the Minnesota government shutdown during budget negotiations between Dayton and the Republican led legislature. After 20 days Governor Dayton put the needs of the public ahead of politics and ended the shutdown. We must end this win-lose mentality that is eroding the public trust. In the senate, I will measure my success not on how strong I stood against another viewpoint but rather, how I merged two viewpoints to move forward for the people of our state.

Why should constituents vote for you on Election Day? What makes you a better choice than your opponent?

Let’s stop fighting and start fixing. During the course of my campaign I have heard from constituents who would prefer a legislature that is interested in finding long term solutions to the issues that we face. I want to represent my constituents. I know their priorities and how to put their concerns into action on the senate floor. I have forged positive relationships with Republicans and Democrats and know when to compromise and when to hold fast to the wishes of our citizens.

Anything else you would like to add?

We need Minnesota State Senators who bring a new sense of optimism and direction for the people they serve. The current "business as usual" partisan legislative approach has created citizens who feel alienated from the process and consequently become dissatisfied with the results. Our legislators use words like "good," "quality," and "fair," to describe their approach to issues and then rely solely on their party to define these terms. I will seek the views of my constituents in District 20, study the implications of legislative issues on the whole district, and ensure that our voices are heard in St. Paul.   

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