My Current Passions:
- My wife and two small children who I love more than anything
- My job as an engineer/project manager for Fast Forward Medical in Plymouth bringing life-saving devices from concept to production
- My home and home business, the Bird House Inn B&B in Excelsior which I have owned and helped to manage the last 10 years.
- Political philosophy and grassroots activism to reclaim government of the people, by the people and for the people, and to re-establish liberty as the ultimate political value.
My Personal History:
- Owned my own engineering sales firm for 10 years and worked for large and small technology companies for 15 more
- Have several patents to my name as well as successful products developed
- Have been on the board of small corporations and volunteered with churches and non-profits
- Up until last year, lived in Minneapolis and was a member of the Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Association and the Bryn Mawr Garden Group
- Had the good fortune of learning the principles of servant leadership from some very loving and wise corporate and church leaders.
Why I am Running:
I'm entering the political arena motivated by a philosophy of government shared by Thoreau, one of the greatest champions of the anti-slavery movement in the US, and by Gandhi, who both summed it up with statements to this effect: "That government is best which governs least". In contrast to these wise souls, we find ourselves in Hennepin County with a government that governs more and more every year with per-capita budgets that for decades have grown at several times the rate of inflation, and with endless acquisitions and mounting debt service payments that have gone up over 50% in just the past four years. In these uncertain economic times, we need a change to a county government that lives within its means, does well those things that it takes on, and finds ways to take on less over time and help people to become more self-reliant and reliant on each other rather than ever more reliant on government.
Hennepin County property taxes have been going up at over twice the rate of inflation and twice the rate of income growth for at least a couple decades. With property taxes now one of the biggest bills many homeowners and businesses face, we need to reverse that trend and commit to a reduced county budget year over year so people can afford to grow old in their own homes and so businesses can thrive.
Prioritize, Economize and Downsize
To meet a tighter budget, we need to Prioritize the many things that Hennepin County does, Economize wherever possible, and then Downsize as needed by eliminating functions from the bottom of the prioritized list. Commissioners need to lead the way by reducing their $97,000 salary and $400,000 discretionary budget. It's a drop in the bucket of the $1.65 billion budget, but critical to setting an example for the rest of the county to follow.
Stop the Borrowing
County debt service has gone up over 50% in just the last four years, and will continue to increase to over $100 million per year in the next four even if no new borrowing is done. Here are some of the reasons for the increased debt:
- The purchase of the 701 office building - sold in 2007 for $15M before the real-estate bubble burst, assessed by Hennepin County in 2011 at $11M, it was purchased by Hennepin County in 2012 for $26M. It shows how much the current board is willing to spend to set themselves up to continue to grow county government into the foreseeable future.
- At least $20M, possibly as much as $40M county dollars for a transfer station where trains converge near Target Field. This when original plans were for a maximum contribution from the county of $10.9M.
- The Lowry Ave. bridge that was initially supposed to be a $9.4M county contribution, ended up with $14M more added to the tab to make it look prettier.
Avoiding these sorts of overruns and extravagances is critical, and there are no doubt properties that could be sold (like a golf course for starters) if there is just no other more palatable way to avoid going further into debt.