Terry Sluss of Baxter, a former Crow Wing County commissioner, Friday said he’ll focus on central Minnesota issues such as unemployment in his third bid for the state Senate. He will seek the DFL endorsement for election to the newly drawn Senate District 10, which includes Aitkin County, Brainerd and Baxter and much of the western edge of Crow Wing County.
“I’d like to see us work with some areas of stimulating small businesses to hire the unemployed and veterans returning from deployment,” he said, suggesting tax incentives could work.
Citing high unemployment rates in Brainerd, and Crow Wing and Aitkin counties, Sluss said in a statement those figures affect the entire economy of an area since people have less expendable income to spend with area businesses.
Sluss, 63, said he would support restoring the Homestead Tax Credit to help local property owners. He said he saw a 5 percent increase on property taxes in Baxter and has seen how some small cities witnessed an increase of 17 percent after the tax credit was eliminated.
The 10-year veteran of the Crow Wing County Board said he was concerned about balancing the state’s budget by borrowing money owed to schools. He said in a news release the Legislature owes school districts $2.7 billion that it shifted into future debt. Similarly, he said, the Legislature shifted future tobacco settlement payments by borrowing against them in order to balance last year’s budget.
The licensed emotional/behavior disorders teacher, who retired in June of 2010, said he would like to see a Minnesota Health Exchange authorized by state legislation. He described the exchange as a marketplace for consumers to remove barriers to obtaining health insurance at an affordable rate. The program would link Minnesota with significant federal dollars, he said.
Sluss has served on several regional and statewide committees and task forces including the Children’s Mental Health Advisory Board to the governor and legislators, the Minnesota Meth Task Force, the Supreme Court Alcohol and Other Drugs Task Force, the Drug Court Advisory Committee, the TCC Board of Directors and the Association of Minnesota Counties Health and Human Services Policy Board.
He was elected three times to the Crow Wing County Board in 1996, 2000, and 2002. He ran unsuccessfully for the Minnesota Senate District 12 seat as the DFL candidate in 2006. He ran for the same seat two years ago but was defeated in his bid for the DFL endorsement. Sluss said he would abide by the decision of the March 24 DFL endorsing convention this year.
Sluss graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Cloud State University. He taught for 27 years — 18 in the Brainerd School District. He served one year as the interim Crow Wing County emergency manager. He is chair of the Central Minnesota Senior Caucus. He currently is a substitute teacher.
In recent months Sluss has helped organize a series of protests with themes that included criticism on topics ranging from Wall Street practices to Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn.
MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 and email@example.com.