On Aug. 21, I completed a tour to every county in Minnesota where I traveled around and met with Minnesotans from across the state. Whether I was in Warroad or Winona, Duluth or Danube, I heard the same thing from Minnesotans:

They feel like our country is headed in the wrong direction. Our economy has gone sideways. The complexity of our tax code gives too much away to special interests. Meanwhile, government spending is out of control.

As for health care, well, it’s as big of a mess as ever before. Far too many feel that the American Dream is no longer attainable for them or their children.

No one party is to blame for what’s happening in Washington. Republicans and Democrats seem to view politics as the art of the pure when it should be seen as the art of the possible. Minnesotans deserve more; they deserve a problem-solver with practical, real-world experience who will shake up Washington and get this country back onto the path of growth and prosperity.

Through my time in the business world, that was my role: problem-solver. That’s what I know, and that is what I will do as the next U.S. senator from Minnesota. I am ready to head to Washington, roll up my sleeves, and work with anyone, Republican or Democrat, who will help change the direction this country is headed by working to address what I like to call the “three E’s” of energy, education and effective government.

As someone who has run a business, I know all too well how decisions made in Washington can affect the economy. Lately, the decisions politicians have been making have been the wrong ones, with many Minnesotans telling me they feel as if the Great Recession never ended.

We need to usher in a manufacturing renaissance, with high-paying jobs, by embracing an all-of-the-above approach to energy. We also must embrace smarter regulation and fast-track approval for projects like PolyMet and other mining opportunities.

Eight years and $800 million is excessive. Washington also needs to radically reform the tax code and eliminate the special-interest loopholes while lowering rates in a way that will jump-start the stagnant economy.

Our economy can and will be stronger by investing in education. Many of the small businesses I’ve spoken with say we need a better-educated workforce prepared to meet the needs of today’s economy. In Minnesota we have great public schools, but access to these schools really depends on your ZIP code.

Like much of the country, our state has been burdened with having to spend even more money than anticipated on the new health care law. I will be the first to say it is clear we have a health care problem in this country, but Obamacare is making things worse. It’s not an example of effective government.

Americans were promised access to affordable, quality and reliable care, and, unfortunately, Obamacare has been everything but. Costs have risen while Minnesotans have lost their coverage. We need to start over with health care reform and promote patient-centered, market-based reforms that lower costs while increasing access to quality coverage.

The solution I’ve laid out would do this by guaranteeing coverage for pre-existing conditions, allowing for insurance to be sold across state lines and improving price and quality transparency.

Minnesotans deserve more than the stagnant economy, broken education system, and failed health care law that we are currently experiencing. Minnesotans need a problem-solver who can look at the issues facing our country, find solutions, and work across the aisle to stop the gridlock in Washington and get things done.

As senator, I will be that person, and I look forward to working tirelessly to represent Minnesota and get us back on the path of growth and prosperity. We can do better and will do better.

Mike McFadden of Sunfish Lake, Minn., is the Republican nominee to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate.

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Catch the candidates in Duluth

What: U.S. Senate candidate forum featuring Democratic incumbent Al Franken and Republican challenger Mike McFadden

When: 8 a.m. Wednesday

Where: The Duluth Playhouse at the Duluth Depot, 506 W. Michigan St.

Sponsors: Duluth News Tribune and Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce

Tickets: No tickets are available. Each campaign was allotted an equal number of seats in the theater with the chamber divvying up the rest, giving preference to its members

View online: The forum will be streamed live at both duluthnewstribune.com and theuptake.org; the forum will then be available for viewing at the sites, on demand

Watch on TV: Duluth’s My9 TV station has announced it will broadcast the forum live