Fischbach Joins Team Pawlenty, Focusing on Education, Tax Reform
ST. CLOUD -- Lieutenant Governor Michelle Fischbach is officially on team Pawlenty.
The former Senate President announced Thursday she will be running for the Lt. Governor seat alongside former Governor Tim Pawlenty. The Republican duo held a news conference Thursday afternoon outside the Stearns County Court House to introduce Fischbach to the campaign and talk about their primary goals if elected.
Pawlenty says with Fischbach's experience she was the best person to choose to help him lead the state.
"One of the most important characteristics of a lieutenant governor candidate is to make sure that person if need be, can step in and immediately be ready to be the governor of the state of Minnesota. If you look at Michelle's experience, her judgment, her wisdom, the fact that she has been a proven policy leader for the state of Minnesota. She's constructive, she's congenial and people across both sides of the aisle respect, appreciate and admire her. She would be ready from day one to be governor if the need arose."
Fischbach says she's honored to be running with Pawlenty. She says his ideas line up with her own and they will make a great team.
"Truly and genuinely, I think Tim has the right vision and the right experience to lead Minnesota forward. I am excited to be a part of that dynamic team, so thank you."
One of the key focus points of their campaign will be on higher education. Fischbach served for four years as the chair of the Higher Education Committee in the Senate. She says she would like to provide more opportunities for students wanting to pursue a two-year degree or a technical degree.
"I want to continue that work [in higher education] and really take a look at how we are delivering education. Making sure that those students who don't necessarily want a four-year degree or need or four-year degree are able to find excellent quality education at our two-year and our high schools and moving them forward so they are able to reach their goals too."
Other than higher education, Pawlenty and Fischbach are making tax reform a priority, specifically eliminating the social security benefits tax and aligning Minnesota's state tax system with the federal tax system. Pawlenty says if changes aren't made to the tax code, Minnesotans will run into some problems when they file next year.
"Making sure we have what we call conformity of Minnesota's tax system. The tax system is kind of hooked to the federal system. With the recent federal changes, Minnesota needs to make some changes to make sure those two systems are aligned. That needs to get done and it needs to get done quickly otherwise some people are going to experience tax increases in Minnesota, which we want to prevent and avoid. Also, if it doesn't get done their tax filings get very complicated and it will be very frustrating for Minnesotan's early next year."
Pawlenty served as governor from 2003-2011 and Fischbach has been in the legislature for 22-years. Election day is Tuesday, November 8.