Name: Steve Drazkowski
Address: 1646 Cherry St. E., Mazeppa, MN 55956
Occupation: SEO and Web Marketing
Education: Bachelor of Science, Agriculture, University of Wisconsin-River Falls; Master of Education, Agricultural Education, University of Minnesota
Family: Married to Laura, one daughter (Kinsey, 21)
Civic involvement: Community involvement: Member of St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Farm Bureau, Zumbro Falls and Lake City Sportsmen’s Clubs, Wabasha County 4-H Volunteer, National Rifle Association, National FFA Alumni Association, Southeast Minnesota Ag Alliance, Mazeppa Historical Society
There has been a lot of discussion recently about the size of government. How do you view the role of state government?
The first function of government is to protect our freedoms of life, liberty, and property. Government needs to be limited and its focus restored to constitutionally authorized functions. Our government was designed to protect our God-given freedoms; not a place where people appeal to in order to achieve freedom.
The Minnesota Constitution provides that state government should provide for public education and a system of transportation. In addition to those functions, I believe that the other two primary and necessary functions of government are to ensure the public’s safety and care for those who truly cannot care for themselves. It does not and should not contemplate the engineering of outcomes in life, as we are born a free and equal people. It is an individual responsibility, not one of government, to nurture our individual freedoms and commit to a level of work that provides for our own destiny.
How would you balance the state budget? Would you make cuts, and if so, to what? Would you raise taxes?
We need to begin by assessing the amount of revenue that state government will bring in. Just like last biennium, we are seeing a significant projected increase in the amount of government tax revenue. That revenue is expected to increase 6 percent under existing tax rates. That is more than enough, and unfortunately it will once again exceed the growth in family incomes.
Given this fact, we should consider reducing the amount of revenue that government extracts from our economy. While you will likely read that some candidates responding to this same survey will attempt to camouflage their job-killing tax increase proposals as “investments,” it is very evident that we have purchased a government with an appetite that the people cannot afford.
I will work to bring government to live within its means, inspiring the certainty in job creators that will put those 170,000 Minnesotans without a job back to work.
What, if anything, should the state do to fight invasive species such as Asian carp?
With each introduction of a new “invasive” species or plant disease, a pattern evolves. First, the science community becomes aware of the introduction. After it appears, the people are convinced by scientists that the organism is going to forever change the ecosystem in an undesirable way. A fear is induced and political action is sought. Each time, the new organism joins the landscape, eventually being brought into check by nature. We survived purple loosestrife and Dutch elm disease, and soon, zebra mussels. Instead of pumping millions of dollars into ‘slowing’ emerald ash borer, which leading researchers tell us will inevitably occupy Minnesota, we should help people plant different species of trees.
Asian carp will follow the same pattern. If the political will is to try to slow their spread, I will continue to encourage the use of Legacy dollars for this effort, which perfectly matches their intended constitutional purpose.
Is income tax reciprocity with Wisconsin an important issue? If so, what might you do about it?
Yes, this is a very important topic for my constituents. I have written bills in the past to attempt to reinstate it. Last session, I joined House Tax Chairman Greg Davids, other Minnesota legislators, Governor Dayton’s staff, as well as legislators and executive branch staff from the state of Wisconsin in a meeting aimed at bringing resolution to the issue. As a result of those and other efforts, plans are currently under way for the executive branches of both states to work cooperatively to reinstate the tax reciprocity program.
I will be monitoring the progress on this issue and will offer all the help that I can to Governor Dayton and his staff to bring this program reinstatement forward and bring closure to this issue.
What would be your top priority or priorities if elected?
•Bring government to live within its means, just like every family and business in our state does.
•Reduce taxes and regulation on Minnesota’s job creators, so we can bring all unemployed Minnesotans to become employed again.
•Continue to reform welfare to end waste, fraud, and abuse, and encourage a culture of work instead of government dependency.