Why are you running for state representative?
I am running because I feel that politics have become too divisive and I want to better represent the people of MN House District 22B. There seems to be more focus on government entities and less on what the people need.
From your perspective, what is the role of a state representative?
The primary role of a state representative is to serve the people. We are there to help make life better for the families of our district. This would involve working closely with the other government agencies, towns and counties, to create the best environment for all to thrive.
What will be your approach to balancing the next two-year state budget in terms of reducing spending and/or raising taxes and fees?
I would like to say that we can trim programs and make up the deficit, but that is not likely. This means that we have to carefully examine programs to identify duplication and waste and then cut accordingly. My fear is that we will simply take the easier approach of using an axe to cut programs that our citizens desperately need. That has been done in the past, closing state Mental Health hospitals, and we are still paying the price for that. There is no way that we will get out of this recession without raising taxes and/or fees. I know that is not popular but cutting alone will not do it.
How would you work to collaborate with local units of government?
It is my plan to keep regular contact with all county and municipal governments to be able to best represent their needs in the legislation. Currently, with the pandemic, they are hurting as well as the families and need assistance in order to survive.
How as a state representative would you work to promote economic development?
Agriculture is our primary industry in this region. We need to help the family farms to continue to survive and also look at aid to small businesses that were in trouble before COVID-19, since has made it even more impossible for them. We do need to figure out how to give them some aid. As unusual as it may sound, we have to spend money to rekindle the economy.
If you are elected, what would your top priority be for the 2021 state legislative session?
My two biggest priorities are broadband internet and accessible healthcare. This pandemic has demonstrated how much our region is dependent on better internet. After six years of the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Program, there should be better internet for all of us. We need to better support this as it is essential for families, schools, governments, farms and businesses. The other priority is affordable insurance. Often times small businesses owners are offering insurance to their limited number of employees that have large deductibles or copays. This is what the business owners are doing to keep cost down for the business and employees, but often the insurances are not being used because of the high cost to the employees. That needs to be fixed especially in this time of COVID.
How do you grade the state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Minnesota has typically been at the front of medical interventions for our people. We have learned that we cannot depend on the Federal Government to assist us. We need to continue to work hard to reduce the influx of the pandemic. I know it is not popular, but masks help. We also need to work to get testing more available for our people to better know where the illnesses are. As Minnesotans we can do a great job of cooperative advances in controlling this epidemic.
Other than the topics already addressed, what, from your perspective, is the biggest issue facing the State of Minnesota, and how would you work to resolve it?
The biggest problem is that Minnesota is starting to lose our sense of community. Federal divisiveness has begun to show up in our legislature. If our region is to have any say in how the state of Minnesota is going to react to our needs, we need to work together as rural representatives and senators. The behavior displayed over the summer in the special sessions only prove the point. We need to begin to see ourselves as Minnesotans who have different view points that need to be heard but continue civil debate about how to solve our problems rather than digging in our feet and refusing to cooperate. Too much political discussion is being aired through the media and needs to be conducted in the conference rooms. Neither party is the enemy, we just see things differently and need to compromise.
Why should people vote for you?
I am a professional mental health therapist who has served all the counties in this district for over 30 years. I have heard from the people who are hurting and know that their needs are not always being heard or attended. I am a professional listener by trade and feel that I can bring that to work at the legislature. Compromise has become a dirty word and yet the constitution of America was based on compromise. We need to get back to that principle and begin to better serve the people. I can do that. I have worked collaboratively with the counties, towns, school districts, human services and state departments at get programs established for the families I have served. These programs have also bettered things for the whole communities. I will represent the people, all of them, and all decisions made in the legislature will be through the lens of how does this affect the people in my district.
Please provide a brief bio of yourself.
Lynn Herrick is a Licensed Psychologist and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, serving the nine counties that make up the Southwest corner of Minnesota. He has presented at several state conventions focusing on the mental health needs and issues facing children and families. He is serving on the Advisory Council for the SMOC Head Start program and has served various Head Start programs directly as a consultant for over 38 years. It was through this work that he developed his passion to help parents understand the challenging behaviors of their young children and assist them in their parenting approaches. Working with Head Start has also allows him the privilege of meeting families of diversity and working closely with them to better understand their struggles finding their way into the culture of SW Minnesota. For the last 13 years, Lynn has focused on the needs of children in the early part of their lives. Through Greater Minnesota FSA, he has been instrumental in the creation of mental health programming for children Birth through 5 to the point where Greater Minnesota has become the second largest provider of these services in the state of Minnesota. They currently cover 45 counties throughout rural Minnesota. Because of his work, he was asked to be on the Governor’s Task Force looking at specific needs and system delivery for Early Childhood Mental Health. Lynn married his high school sweetheart Deb while serving in the Army during the Vietnam War as an Infantry squad leader. They have been married for 50 years and have been residents of Worthington for 32 years. Lynn and Deb have three children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He is proud of the cultural diversity of his family as his grandchildren represent the cultures of Mexico and India, as well as having Jewish and African American heritage. He is running for MN House District 22B so he can help all families be heard and to address their needs in a supportive manner. He wants to approach this responsibility with help from those who he would serve and make government more responsive to the true needs of the people.