Candidates discuss challenges facing House District 39B

In State House District 39B, GOP incumbent Kathy Lohmer, who is finishing up her fourth term as a representative, will be squaring off against DFLer Shelly Christensen on Election Day.

District 39B includes Lake Elmo, West Lakeland Township, Lakeland, Lake St. Croix Beach, St. Mary’s Point, Grant, Oak Park Heights and the eastern section of Stillwater.

The Review asked the candidates via email why they are running, what they believe the top challenges will be in the district in upcoming years and what project they will prioritize if elected. 

 

Christensen, 63, lives in Stillwater with her husband Scott Christensen. She is a retired high school English teacher, who currently works part time as a cross country coach in the Stillwater Area School District. She holds a master’s degree in education from Aspen University.

Christensen said she is running for office because she wants “to be the voice at the Capitol that advocates for fair and predictable funding for public schools, stewardship of our environment and investment in a green energy economy and a path to affordable health care for all.”

Christensen said that, if elected, she brings to the position skills and experiences gained through 25 years as a leader and planner of youth programs, two years on the Advisory Board of the Stillwater Planning Commission for the 20-year downtown plan, as a founding member of the St. Croix Valley Alliance/NOW activist group, and many years as a teacher and coach.

“My upbringing, experiences, education and jobs/careers have prepared me to serve the greater good. ... I have a farm girl work ethic with compassionate, tempered tenacity and I look forward to serving the community that raised me,” she said.

Asked about the top district challenges, Christensen listed unsustainable increases in traffic on Highway 36, clean water issues and a “lack of 21st Century transit options.”

She added that, if elected, she would prioritize education and education funding.

“The Legislature must increase the basic funding formula, which is meant to provide a basic education for every student,” Christensen said. “The formula has lagged inflation for decades.”

She explained that funding needs to be increased to cover the cost of providing state-mandated special education services, as well as the cost of universal optional pre-k, “which will directly address our embarrassing racial achievement gaps.”

“Public schools are the foundation of our future and all children deserve a fair shot at receiving an education that will prepare them for the future,” Christensen said. “I am an experienced educator and my expertise is what is needed in St. Paul when decisions are made regarding education.”

 

Lohmer, 64, lives in Stillwater with her husband Greg Lohmer, and is finishing up her fourth term as a state representative. Lohmer listed her only employment as her position in the Legislature.

Lohmer holds a medical assistant degree from Lakeland Medical Dental academy.

She said she is running for office because she has always believed that government “is too large and needs accountability.”

“I care deeply about my community and state and want to have reasonable and responsible government for my children and grandchildren,” Lohmer said. “I want to continue our work lowering health care costs, reducing taxes for middle class families and ensuring [that] government is spending your tax dollars wisely.”

She said that if re-elected, she will bring to office skills and experiences gained as a Blue Star Mom, the mother of a disabled son, being part of a family that owns a small business, a homeschool parent and a volunteer in many areas. She also added that her children attended a combination of public and private schools over the years.

“The most pressing issues for our district are similar around the state: affordable health insurance, safe and responsible care for our elderly and tax reform,” Lohmer said, adding that if re-elected, she plans to prioritize these issues, as well as other issues constituents bring forward.

 

 

Election Day is Nov. 6. To verify your voting location visit, www.pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.

 

 

 

-Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com.

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