Education a priority for both District 43B candidates

Both candidates running for the Minnesota House District 43B seat focused on education when discussing area concerns and priorities they would have if elected.

The district includes North St. Paul, Oakdale north of 10th Street and Maplewood precincts 10 and 11.

DFL incumbent Leon Lillie is seeking his eighth term, and competing for the seat is Republican challenger Rachael Bucholz.

Lillie is the brother of Lillie Suburban Newspapers publisher Ted Lillie. Bucholz is a committee legislative assistant for agriculture in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

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.

 

Bucholz, 30, lives in Oakdale with her husband Walter Bucholz.

She holds a bachelor’s of science degree from Southwest Minnesota University, where she studied political science and justice administration. She currently works in the Minnesota House of Representatives as a committee legislative assistant for Agriculture Finance and has assisted representatives Rod Hamilton and Nick Zerwas.

Bucholz said she is running because, “I can no longer sit back and keep quiet about issues facing our communities and our state. The bickering and political grandstanding is reaching a breaking point, and I’ve had enough.”

She added that her experiences as a mom, in the military and as a bartender leave her unafraid to “wade into the thick of an argument and tell both sides to knock it off, and work out a solution.”

“People are getting caught in the failures of our department systems like MNsure and MNLARS, our law enforcement and citizen relationships are strained, our education system is not at the level it could be. We need to come together as a community, as a state, and as a country in order to be the best that we can be,” Bucholz said.

She said that if elected, she will bring to office respect, her ability to communicate with different people who won’t always agree, honesty and frankness to constituents, open-mindedness and eagerness to understand issues from all angles, and energy and warmth to all.

Education, the environment and taxes are the top three challenges Bucholz said she believes District 43B faces in upcoming years. 

“I want to make sure that [School District] 622 receives all the help and support possible from the state, and from our community,” she said.

With regards to environmental challenges, Bucholz said she sees water quality and water quantity to be an important issue in addition to parks and trails. Specifically, she named the issue of White Bear Lake’s water levels, and the issue of maintaining local nature preserves, parks and the Gateway Trail.

On the subject of taxes, Bucholz said keeping taxes low and conforming with federal tax code are issues.

Bucholz said that if elected, she will prioritize making sure water is safe and clean, taxes stay at affordable levels, and “children get the education they deserve to have in order to be successful as adults.”

 

Lillie, 57, who lives in North St. Paul with his wife Missy, is finishing up his seventh two-year term as state representative. 

He works full-time as a ground service worker for Delta Airlines, and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Luther College.

Lillie said that if he is re-elected, he will bring to the position his previous experience serving on the North St. Paul City Council, which he said helps him know and understand things that are impacting Oakdale, Maplewood and North St. Paul in a more personal way.

He also said he will bring his experience in the Minnesota House, working with people from the district and the state to get things done for the area.

Lillie said he is running to ensure the area is represented by a strong voice in the Minnesota Capitol.

“It’s an honor to serve in the Minnesota House and I’m running to continue the work that is needed to keep Minnesota on a path where all our people are doing better,” he said. “Our area needs a strong voice to fight for things that are needed to make sure we are doing well in Oakdale, Maplewood and North St. Paul.”

Asked about the top challenges in the area, Lillie explained that many area residents are doing well and Minnesota as a whole is doing well, but added there are still many residents continuing to struggle, such as “a senior that is coming up a little short each month or a young family that is not quite finding their way.”

“We must do what we can to make sure we all are doing better — making sure our kids are getting the world class education they need to compete in a fast moving/changing world,” he said. “Some may need help mid-career to retool to meet the new, changing work place.”

Lillie said that some of his top priorities, if re-elected, will be working with others “to make sure Minnesota kids are getting a world class education,” fighting against elder abuse and “working toward safe staffing at our correction institutions.”

He added, “Minnesotans care deeply about our state and want to see others succeed. I want all of our neighbors to be successful and live a great life. I certainly will continue to work on issues as needed to help our local neighbors and leaders.”

 

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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