Our view: Endorsement: Focusing on solutions, Salls good for House 7B
In a political world that has become as frustrating as it can be dysfunctional -- with members of the two major parties routinely refusing to let the other side succeed -- a common-sense candidate who espouses good ideas, rather than tired rhetor...
In a political world that has become as frustrating as it can be dysfunctional -- with members of the two major parties routinely refusing to let the other side succeed -- a common-sense candidate who espouses good ideas, rather than tired rhetoric, actually comes off as refreshing.
Tony Salls of West Duluth, the food and beverages manager for Ledge Rock Grille in Larsmont -- and the father of 10 children -- comes off, too, as an anti-partisan, solutions-focused candidate. He's also the best choice on Nov. 2 to replace Roger Reinert as representative of State House District 7B, which encompasses western and central Duluth. (Reinert left the post to run for state Senate.)
"We can and need to do things better. We can by working together," Salls, an Independence Party candidate, said in an interview with members of the News Tribune editorial board. "There are lots of great ideas out there -- from both sides. What is good for the people: We must do that."
What is good for Minnesotans, and most pressing, is creating jobs, Salls said. A report last month that one in four in Duluth is living below the poverty level is unacceptable. It needs to be fixed.
"The more people we have working, the fewer people we have straining the budget," he said. "We need an entrepreneurial revolution."
That can happen; jobs can be created if government removes regulations that are roadblocks to successful business, making it easier for people to use their own resources and their own ideas to succeed. To further encourage job growth, Salls wants to expand tax incentives for small businesses.
A healthier state budget will help, too. Salls supports higher income taxes for wealthier Minnesotans, some of whom have said they're willing to pay more. He'd tax clothing and services like massages. And, he said, he'd work to find ways to stop snowbirds for skirting their financial tax responsibility.
Budget cuts are necessary, also, Salls said -- but not to education or health and human services. Those areas are too critical to our future. Cutting them would negatively affect quality of life.
"There are layers of government that could work better together to be more efficient," Salls said. "Maybe it's time for government to focus on reforming government. If we can make government sustainable, living within its own means, then things like education and health care would benefit."
As a manager for small businesses, Salls has learned how to listen to customers (constituents), how to set goals and achieve them, how to develop relationships, and how to work cooperatively, even with those who may not agree with him. All those qualities will benefit him in St. Paul.
"I'm here to represent the people," Salls said. "My vote does not belong to any organization. My vote belongs to the people. To me that's the most important thing. Government is for the people. It still can be done that way."
At tony4duluth.com, Salls wrote: "We are a nation that has prided itself on providing better opportunities for the next generation. Yet our policies coming out of Washington and St. Paul do not reflect setting ourselves up for a better tomorrow.
"Like many of you, we have become frustrated with the two-party system which seems to reflect the far left and the far right and ignore a majority of us that sit in the middle."
Salls is ready to work for all.
And he has nearly as much political experience as his DFL opponent, Kerry Gauthier, a labor-buoyed party activist and a city councilor of less than one year.
"I've been a party activist forever. I didn't make the decision to run lightly," Gauthier told the News Tribune editorial board in July. "I happen to believe in government."
Salls' Republican opponent is Travis Silvers, who works in construction.
"I believe I'm the only candidate who is pro-life and for marriage between one man and one woman," Silvers said. "Those are the core issues for me."