Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Tom Horner - Independent Party

While many Minnesotans are clamoring to promote the GOP or the DFL political parties, there is another alternative that many overlook. It's the Independence Party. How much do you know about it? If you're like most people, you don't know much. You've been raised as a Democrat or as a Republican. You probably vote the way your parents did. Or else you're a rebel and vote the opposite way. Maybe you're tired of the same old party politics and are looking for something new. Maybe you're not far right or far left. Perhaps you're right in the middle. What party would best suit your needs?

Have you thought about looking into the Independence Party? What is their agenda? What tenants do they hold? Let's take a look.

The Minnesota Independence Party was established in 1992. It was started by a group of ordinary citizens who were tired of special interest influence in politics and were tired of ongoing budget deficits. They were also sick of extremes in politics. They didn't want to be far right or far left. They were mostly moderates and believed that government in moderation was best. 

These people wanted a government that would be accountable to the people and that would govern sensibly and within its means. This new political party wanted endorsed candidates and representatives who would serve the people first and foremost. This party would not be governed by extremists on either end of the spectrum, but rather by common sense.

In 1994, the Independence Party won major party status when Dean Barkley ran for the U. S. Senate. The IP has retained this status every year since then. It became even more well known when Independent Jesse Ventura became Governor of Minnesota.

The Independence Party and those who vote for them are fiscally conservative and socially tolerant. This political party is growing. People are turning to it because they're tired of extreme right wing and extreme left wing politics. More and more voters want a balance. The Independence Party gives this balance with a focused, limited scope of government services in which top priorities include education, transportation, healthcare, environment, and budget sanity. The IP believes that political power starts and ends with the people.

One IP candidate who is running for election this year is Tom Horner. Here's what he has to say about what Minnesota needs.

Polarized parties see Minnesota through a narrow lens. To solve big problems, widen the view.

Reprinted from the Saint Paul Pioneer Press April 4, 2010

Think about the challenges Minnesota faces in the next four years: Soaring state budget deficits, an economy that stubbornly leaves nearly a quarter-million Minnesotans unemployed and tens of thousands underemployed, an infrastructure that has us dodging crater-sized potholes, and policies that threaten to make the next generation of Minnesotans the first who will be poorer, less healthy and less educated than their parents.

Now ask yourself this: To solve these challenges, does it make sense to ignore half of all the good ideas that are available? Yet, that's what Democrats and Republicans would have us do. The deeply polarized politics of government today reject good ideas simply because they come from the "wrong" party or the "wrong" partisans.

If Minnesota is to move forward in the next four years, we need a governor who focuses on what's right, not on who's right. Minnesota needs an independent voice in the governor's office, a governor who is able to draw on the best ideas and the brightest talents in the state.

Minnesota needs leadership from someone who knows what it takes to run a business here — to create jobs — and to provide good salaries and good benefits. The red flags about Minnesota's lagging economy aren't new; they have been flying for years. Between the economic downturn at the beginning of this decade and today's recession, Minnesota was being lapped by other states:

•Between 2004 and 2007, personal income growth was 47th among the states.
•During this same period, the state's gross domestic product - our economy - grew at less than half the national average — an anemic 2.6 percent.
•And from 2000 to 2007, Minnesota's job growth ranked 30th in the country.

Minnesota is a great state. We have tremendous strengths and assets. Building on these strengths will require policies and leadership to fundamentally reform how we tax and spend.

First, I reject the DFL's notion that every problem needs a government program and every current government program is worth saving. Government - including state government - takes on too much, too often does it poorly and many times with little or no accountability.

Minnesota needs to set priorities as a state, and not just follow the narrow agenda of a single political party or of one governor. The next governor will have to balance a budget that will be $7 billion or more in the red. That will require hard and often painful decisions. It will mean that some programs - those that aren't delivering value - will have to be eliminated, not just trimmed. Making these tough decisions will take the collaboration of all Minnesotans.

We also need to agree on the things that government should do. I believe in a government that invests in the future, helps people when they are most vulnerable, stewards our shared assets, including our natural resources. But wherever we spend public dollars, we must hold managers, legislators and the governor accountable to specific performance measures.

My second priority is tax reform. This will require that Republicans embrace transformational change. For all the legitimate complaints about Minnesota's business climate, the often overlooked truth is that Minnesota isn't taxing away businesses, it's taxing away new jobs. Minnesota-based companies are growing; they just aren't doing it here. Minnesota entrepreneurs are as innovative as ever; but they are launching their ventures in states more hospitable to start-up businesses and to the capital they need. And instead of being able to invest in new jobs, new equipment or new technology, Minnesota small businesses are seeing more and more of their income taxed away.

We are failing in creating new jobs because Minnesota taxes investment, innovation and job creation - all the things we should be promoting. We need to compete with the world by eliminating the barriers to growth.

The reality is that meaningful and effective tax reform will mean that some taxes will have to go up so others can go down. Those politicians who suggest otherwise - who promise that we can resolve deficits larger even than anything we have seen in the last eight years - are either dishonest or dependent on gimmicks that shift the cost to local government, to the private sector, or worst of all, to our kids.

Only an independent voice in the governor's office can tap the ideas and people to make this balanced approach to spending and taxes work. Minnesotans are tired — not just of the partisan fights in St. Paul, but at the lack of accomplishments. The longer Democrats and Republicans continue to define every issue by their extreme positions or solve every challenge through the narrow frames of higher taxes from the left or deep reductions to government from the right, the opportunity for my candidacy grows.

In 2010, two choices aren't enough when the future of our state is on the line.

Meet Tom Horner
Why Tom Horner is Running for Governor

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