Election 101 Voters Guide: State Senator: Sen. Thomas Bakk
Years in office: Elected to the State House in 1994, served eight years until elected to the Senate in 2002.
Family: Spouse Laura, four grown children and one grandchild
Profession: Retired in 2009 after 33 years as a carpenter
Favorite spot on the North Shore: Palisade Head or the Witch Tree
Q Why do you seek this office?
A Our state is facing critical challenges that will require strong leaders to bring about the changes necessary to get the state back on track. I believe I have built a reputation around the capitol as a problem solver, much like carpenters do every day, and right now the state is in serious need of leaders with strong problem solving skills.
Q What is the most critical issue facing the state? How do you plan to take it on?
A The changing demographics in not only our state but our country will demand we prioritize what is most important and some things that the state is currently funding will no longer be sustainable.
There will be a “new normal” in our economy because of the graying of our state, it will include slower growth and increased demand for health care services. I believe the most important thing elected officials can do right now is just be honest with voters about the changes that are going to be required to return the state financial and economic stability. There will be additional spending reductions and some additional revenue will be necessary.
I do hope the revenue does not come in the form of property tax increases in the magnitude we have been experiencing during the Pawlenty era.
Q Is there one thing you can promise North Shore residents from your term in office?
A I will do my best to serve you with honesty and integrity and make the difficult decisions, many of which will not be popular, to position our state for long term success.
Thank you for for all the support and encouragement you have given me over the years and I ask you continue to do so, this is a great state and the North Shore and its residents are some of the best. I could not have ever asked for a better constitu-ency to serve.
From Laura and I, thank you.