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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Gary Dahms, Senate District 16

  • Gary Dahms, 65, was born and raised on a farm near Clements. He graduated from Redwood Falls High School and a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a bachelors degree in Agricultural Business Administration. He has owned and operated Dahms Insurance Agency for 25 years before retiring in 2012. Dahms has served as a Redwood County Commissioner prior to being elected to the State Senate in 2012.
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  • Gary Dahms, 65, was born and raised on a farm near Clements. He graduated from Redwood Falls High School and a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a bachelors degree in Agricultural Business Administration. He has owned and operated Dahms Insurance Agency for 25 years before retiring in 2012. Dahms has served as a Redwood County Commissioner prior to being elected to the State Senate in 2012.
     
     
    Gary and his wife Barb have two children: Michelle (Byron) Pike and Michael Dahms, as well as two grandchildren, Madison and Aubrey.
     
     
    Gary currently serves on the Board of Directors for Service Enterprises Inc., the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC) where he serves as vice chair, the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). As a senator, Gary serves on the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee and the Agricultural and Rural Economies Committee where he serves as the vice chair.
     
     
    Why are you seeking this seat?
     
     
    I want to make sure our children, grandchildren and future generations have the same or greater opportunities that my generation was so fortunate to have. I feel that in order to do this we have to protect and provide for the expansion of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. We need to provide our students with first class education that allows them to compete globally. We need to continue the process of redesigning and rethinking how our government services are managed.
     
     
    Governing needs to be about bringing people together; I feel my background in business, having served on several boards in the community, my experience as a County Commissioner and as a State Senator gives the opportunity to bring people together to shape policy and pass legislation that is in the best interest in Minnesota.
     
     
    What do you believe are the top three specific priorities for the district in the next two years?
     
     
    Three priority issues for me in the 2013 session will focus around jobs, funding equity and tax reform.
     
    Job growth is the key to our state’s economic recovery as well as to our citizens’ well being. A job is more than a way of making a living; it is your way of life. Proposals to enhance jobs (especially in rural Minnesota) will continue to be top priority.
     
    Equity in funding for our rural schools, our rural hospitals and our rural nursing homes will be my financial focus. The disparity in reimbursements is wrong and unfair to rural Minnesota and I will focus on legislation that will address and reduce these inequities.
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    Tax reforms–we need to eliminate the marriage penalty, provide for property tax relief for homeowners, farmers and businesses and address the sales tax equities.
     
     
    How can rural communities better work together to promote their mutual interests?
     
     
    Cooperation and working together is an important aspect of life and it is important in governing as well. Rural communities face many of the same issues that can be addressed together. Certainly jobs, economic development, health care and education are challenges we all face. Sharing and cooperating together we can be more efficient with the services we provide to our citizens. Our children are our best product and it is my goal to bring jobs to our area that will allow our children the opportunity to live in the communities they grew up in. Modern technology will enhance that opportunity. Rural school districts, cities, townships and counties working together have much to offer in a positive way to life to our citizens. State laws that prevent collaboration should be repealed as we redesign government for performance and efficiency to serve the citizens better.
     
     
    Budget shortfalls have affected nearly every city and county in the state and left those areas with increasingly tighter budgets as government aid continues to be reduced. What funding issues does this district face and what will you do to overcome these issues?
     
     
    Different entities within the district face different funding issues. Cities and counties deal with LGA and CPA. In the 2011 Omnibus Tax Bill there was a provision to hold the line on LGA and CPA by extending the 2010 reductions, sparing cities and counties from any further reductions.
     
     
    The 2012 Tax Bill promoted local government budget certainty by freezing LGA distribution for cities greater than 5,000 population for 2013 in the amount equal to 2012 levels. Cities of less than 5,000 population receive the greater of 2012 aid or current law 2013 aid.
     
     
    Rural school districts, hospitals and nursing homes face major funding disparities that exist between metropolitan and those same facilities in rural Minnesota. I don’t believe that these funding disparities are fair and I will work with the metropolitan legislators to reduce these reimbursement formula inequities as geographical disparities like this are not in Minnesota’s best interest.
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