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Gazelka's response to Myron Swanberg's Sept. 29 letter

It's time to look at the facts. I want you to know where I stand.

On the amendments:

It is true that I support the Constitutional Amendment to require photo ID for voting.

Voter ID is important. In Minnesota, it's legal to vouch for 15 people at the polls. They get to vote, and their vote counts, even if later they're never verified as valid voters.

If the photo ID amendment passes, you won't be able to vouch for anyone. If you forget your ID, you can still vote, and your vote is counted when you come back with legal verification that you are who you say you are. That makes sense to most of us.

I also support the Marriage Amendment. I think it best to keep marriage as only between a man and a woman.  I will be voting YES on both amendments.

On the budget:

Republicans took majority in the House and Senate in Minnesota for the first time in 38 years. We faced a leftover DFL $6 billion budget deficit. It wasn't due to the state not having enough money; it was due to automatic spending increases built in every two years. These were outpacing new tax dollars coming in.  

We slowed the spending increases, and now, according to the DFL governor's numbers as of February, we have a $1.2 billion surplus. We started with virtually no money in the Cash Flow and Budget Reserve accounts, but now we have the maximum dollars allowed: over a billion dollars. The governor said there was no way we could accomplish what we did without raising taxes. Certain "facts" are not accurate.

We did agree to a smaller school shift or delay in payments to the schools and a payment on tobacco bonds up front, in order to end the shutdown with the governor. The original budget agreed on by the House and Senate had no education shift or tobacco bonds in it. In previous years it should be noted, Rep. Doty and the DFL majorities delayed more money than we'd proposed delaying to schools, and I haven't seen a proposal to repay that shift. We've paid back half of the shift agreed to in 2011. Our attempts to repay the remaining half was vetoed by Gov. Dayton. However, because we've had revenue increases monthly, and now have enough in our reserve accounts, we'll be able to repay the rest.

On the president:

As state senator, my main concern is the job I do for the people of the state of Minnesota and, specifically, the people of Senate District 9.

When I have been questioned about our president, what I can say is that Obama's record speaks for itself. For example, under President Obama, our country has tallied up massive new federal debt. He has stronger views than any other president on pro-abortion issues and stands against traditional marriage. Plus, I haven't seen adequate help for private sector job providers from his administration. These issues are more important than any rumors.

The Republican majority hasn't done everything perfect, and we've had some difficult decisions to make, but I believe we did what was best for Minnesota's future, and I believe we've provided more economic and family security for Minnesota. I hope to continue to serve you as your state senator.

State Senator Paul Gazelka

Fairview Township, Cass County