In these legislative endorsements, the Star Tribune Editorial Board placed a premium on lawmaking experience.
District 43A: Stacey Stout
Stacey Stout, 39, would bring an uncommon perspective to the Legislature -- that of Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice. A Mahtomedi Republican and Minnesota Farm Bureau public policy associate director since 2010, Stout spent the previous decade in Washington, D.C., including stints with U.S. Sen. Don Nickles of her native Oklahoma and U.S. Rep. Joel Hefley of Colorado. She touts expertise on cybersecurity, transportation, agriculture, telecommunications and business taxation.
That's a rare résumé for a freshman legislator. Stout says her background has prepared her to "use collaborative strategies" and be a "principled, practical voice" for her northeast-metro district.
Voters should give her that chance. Though her DFL opponent, Peter Fischer, is better steeped in today's issues, Stout evinces greater potential for future leadership.
Fischer, 54, is a worthy candidate. The Maplewood native has chaired both his city's parks commission and its human-relations commission. A former assistant general manager of the Minneapolis Club, Fischer took on the challenge five years ago of rescuing a financially troubled Minneapolis nonprofit serving homeless youths, with considerable success.
Those experiences have given Fischer admirable policy depth and personal skills. But Stout represents a special opportunity for District 43A and the state.
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District 48A: Yvonne Selcer
Yvonne Selcer produced a strong record during her two terms on the Hopkins school board -- though you would never know it from the misleading mailings that the Republican Party has been sending voters in Minnetonka and Eden Prairie.
Contrary to allegations of poor fiscal management, DFLer Selcer, as the board's treasurer and later its chair, led a turnaround that a 2011 independent audit report praised for "tough decisions." The district came out of statutory operating debt and well into the black on her watch, while holding spending essentially flat for seven years. Her record also includes a pay-for-performance teacher compensation plan that could be a model for the state.
Those accomplishments, a background in both business and education, and 59-year-old Selcer's bipartisan style contrast favorably with the staunchly conservative approach of Republican Rep. Kirk Stensrud, who is seeking a second term.
Stensrud, 50, president of Fish Window Cleaning of Edina, is convinced that waste still abounds in government budgets despite a decade of austerity. He says that cutting state taxes will spur business growth sufficiently to pay for themselves on state balance sheets. Those ideas draw more from ideology than evidence.
The GOP's accusation that Selcer was late paying this fall's property taxes (Hennepin County's website shows otherwise) led to a campaign practices complaint filed Monday with the state Office of Administrative Hearings. District 48A residents should be wary of the allegations that are filling their mailboxes. The GOP evidently recognizes that in Selcer, Stensrud has a formidable opponent. We agree.
To read more of the editorial board's endorsements, go here.