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Editorial: Haley, Goggin must get ready to deliver

Mike Goggin and Barb Haley have entered the rapid ramp-up to Jan. 3, when they join the Minnesota Legislature.

While they have been preparing for this day since announcing their candidacies — Goggin for state Senate last summer and Haley for House in February — they switched from would-be lawmakers to senator-elect and representative-elect with Tuesday's election results. The grueling campaign has ended, so the genuine work begins.

Both are political newcomers, which they clearly view as a strength. Haley's literature touted "Barb is a political outsider with experience in health care." Similarly, Goggin's catch phrase was "putting the public servant back in public service."

Each brings to the Capitol individual expertise and work experience, which is one of the biggest benefits of a citizen legislature versus having career politicians representing us. In Haley's case, she worked in technology, led the former Fairview Red Wing Health Services Board during the transition into the Mayo Clinic Health System's fold and helped craft Red Wing's highly successful Give to the Max Day that became a model for other communities. Goggin is a union man, a rarity some say, among Republicans. He understands the finances and challenges of owning a small business, and as a certified project manager at Xcel Energy's Prairie Island nuclear plant, is systematic in tackling problems and anticipating them.

All that isn't enough though. Despite their competencies and skill sets, these two people can't know it all.

That's where you, the average citizen being represented by citizen lawmakers, must play a key role. Don't hesitate to share your knowledge. Alert them to the risks of imprudent decisions. Get them up to speed. Challenge their thinking.

And Barb and Mike, as you prepare for St. Paul, always keep in mind that the district awaits your efforts.