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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Saint Cloud Times: "Huhtala pushes for bipartisan solutions"

The Saint Cloud Times editorial board endorsed Jim Huhtala today. The SC Times editors also scold Mark Olson for declining to respond to the editorial board's survey and for promoting PRT.

Published: October 24. 2006 1:00AM

This is part of a series of endorsements from the Times Editorial Board regarding the Nov. 7 elections. Our View represents the majority viewpoint of the board and is based on information gleaned from interviews, surveys and media coverage.

Today's endorsements cover legislative District 16.

To read unedited responses from these candidates to an editorial board questionnaire, go to www.sctimes.com/opinion and click on the icon accompanying this Our View.

Voters in legislative District 16 have interesting, difficult and even extreme choices to make on Election Day.

But there is one choice that's easy. It's voting for Jim Huhtala in the House District 16B race.

Why? For starters, Huhtala, a DFLer, embraces moderate stances on issues such as education funding and fair and reasonable tax policies.
More so, though, we believe he is the candidate most in touch with constituent needs in the fast-growing district, which includes Clear Lake, Becker, Big Lake and Zimmerman. For example, he supports the Northstar Corridor commuter rail line. He also says he is willing to put aside partisan bickering to make progress at the Legislature.

Which brings us to his opponent, seven-term Republican Mark Olson. He declined to respond to this editorial board's survey, noting that he didn't believe it was important to his re-election.

The relevancy of this board's endorsements is certainly subjective. What's not, though, is any candidate for public office refusing requests from constituents for information on what they stand for and how they might vote.

That's especially true for Olson, who in 14 years of legislative service has cast more than his share of truly confusing votes and taken some bizarre stands on issue. Tops on the list: He opposes Northstar but supports personal rapid transit, a yet-unproven transit system involving individual cars on yet-to-be-built tracks.

Transit issues aside, whether it's arrogance or incumbency or both, any time a politician adopts the attitude of being unwilling to share views with constituents, it's time for a change.


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