Barrett Believes ...

in Working Hard for You

  • Why I'm running for State Representative

    Politicians are quick to point out the priorities of their platform, but pointing these out without addressing and resolving the dysfunction that has permeated our legislative process is nothing more than a pipe dream. In a 1961 speech to the Canadian parliament, President John F. Kennedy said in part, “What unites us is far greater than what divides us.” We are people, not a party.

    At the end of the day we are all neighbors, as President Kennedy said in that same speech. Unfortunately, some have become so captivated by the views of certain groups that they have forgotten the purpose of the legislature. The job of the legislature is to represent the will of our citizenry, not to cling to a set of ideas or ideals that are so far to one side or the other that consensus is out of the question. We must by choice, engage in the process of finding solutions, rather than taking oppositional positions.

    There are issues that I want to prioritize (jobs, education), but to get this work done, a fundamental shift toward collaboration must occur first. I believe that I have the ability to build consensus and to bring those with opposing views together in the spirit of seeking resolution. This will mean setting aside the partisanship that has restricted our state from moving forward on so many important issues. I am committed to this effort, and I hope to show that statesmanship, though once thought lost, has been restored to governance.

    Perspective

    The answer starts and stops with legislators (all of them) making a decision to start examining problems from an interests-based perspective, as opposed to defiantly taking extreme positions on the issues facing us. When a person or a group “draws a line in the sand” and refuses to look for opportunities for mutual gain, which are based on the true interests of our state and our district, the result is inefficiency, and laws and reforms that may perhaps serve some people’s interests, but which are not necessarily in the bests interests of our citizens and our state.

    Everyone seems to agree that the government has a responsibility to provide certain core services, and that we should continue that practice. In the interests of fiscal responsibility, however, we must examine our core services and look for ways to improve efficiency, and to save money, without damaging their functional purpose. Additionally, we need to take a hard look at spending projects that do not relate to these core services and genuinely assess whether the state can afford to fund those initiatives. Sometimes good projects should not be funded by the state, even when there is a sentiment that suggests otherwise. Tough economic times call for tough choices, and the legislature needs to make those decisions and balance the state’s checkbook.

    Our district finally has an open race, and there is a clear choice of candidates. In 24 years as a police officer, 19 as a detective I’ve learned how to gather facts and most importantly listen to people. I’ve also learned a lot about leadership serving as a community organizer, civic group and church council leader, and senior board member of the Minnesota Police & Peace Officers’ Association. No stranger to dealing with conflict I’m not afraid to stand up to lobbyists, and even my own party’s leadership if necessary.

    I’m running because I want to use my experience working with elected officials, communication skills, and diplomacy to be a strong new voice in the Capitol for the residents of my district and citizens of Minnesota. I’m running because I'm proud of my district and in providing them with an unprecedented level of service as a State Representative - I want the residents of my district to be proud of their Representative’s hard work, responsiveness to their concerns, and emerging leadership at our Capitol.


in Minnesota's Education System

  • I believe there can be no better investment in our State than to provide our children with the best public education in the Country. Our State competes with others to attract businesses and industries that are willing to invest and bring jobs to Minnesota. We're among the highest income states thanks to our educational system. A highly educated work force attracts business and grows our economy. Minnesota’s educators work incredibly hard with increasingly bare-boned budgets, which is why I support efforts to ensure our educational institutions are being operated efficiently. It was appalling to me that our State Legislature, “passed the buck,” by deferring payments to local school districts while raising taxes on property owners, but it was the only way to end the government shutdown caused by party extremists who were unwilling to do the right thing, and govern responsibly.

in Public Safety

  • I’m proud of my 24 years of public safety service in our State so far, and know I will make our district proud by becoming a leader in this arena at our Capitol.

in Government Accountability

  • ... of our Elected Officials:

    I believe that if we’re going to pay our legislators to govern that we should expect them to do better at listening and responding to all constituents’ concerns, and not just the extremists from their own party. I have experience building bridges with persons of opposing viewpoints, and will use it to sit down at the table with them as we roll up our sleeves and get the job of governing done for our State.

  • ... of Governmental Institutions:

    We can't do our job without public support, which is why I believe in quantifiable results. Many government programs provide service to our communities, but wasteful spending exists on dysfunctional programs. I support efforts to identify financial irresponsibility, and institutions that could combine services to reduce costs. Constituents deserve to have their money spent effectively. I've been directly involved with identifying inefficiencies, and bringing innovation into my own place of work, and industry overall.

in Healthcare

  • I don't believe any man, woman, or child should be without healthcare in the United States.

in Fair Taxes

  • I believe we should all pay our fair share. Nothing more, nothing less. Of my friends who happen to be millionaires, all of them are more than willing to pay their fare share.

    I don't believe the average wage earner should have to pay a higher percentage than the top 1% in order to make up for the lost revenue from the Bush tax breaks, and corporate welfare. However, for small and average size businesses I will support efforts to reduce their tax burden. For example; most of them are home-owners. Their taxes were raised when our State Legislature placed a higher burden on them by eliminating local government aid, taking a loan on Minnesota's constitutionally mandated funding of schools, and by repealing the market value homestead credit. All three of those items raised business owners' personal taxes by shifting the tax burden to local cities, counties, and school districts.

    It's easy for some politicians to strike fear in voters with claims that we need to, "reign in out of control government spending." Of course, I am offended by that because I know just how much government has improved efficiencies and has been cut beyond the bone in many respects. Nonetheless, it is also why I have, and will continue to use my investigative skills to uncover wasteful spending.

    As a state, Minnesota's personal income tax rate is among the lowest. That may come to a surprise to those who like to mention we're in the top ten, which would be true if you piled all of the State's income tax revenue up in a parking lot. However, as a percentage of income we are among the lowest 10 states because we are fortunate enough to be a high-income state. We can thank our public education system for that.