Gumbel aims to work for youth

Published 4:43 pm Thursday, September 16, 2010

According to Jennifer Gumbel, Republican state representative candidate for District 27B, maintaining a sense of youth within Minnesota cities is the key to prosperous communities.

Jennifer Gumbel

“In order to keep our small towns going we need to attract young people,” Gumbel said.

Gumbel, 30, said she was hesitant about running at first because of her young age, but she is confident in her experience and believes a younger perspective will bring a new sense of freshness and creativity to the legislature.

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“If a lot of what I’m worried about is what my neighbors are also worried about, I can do this,” Gumbel said.

Some of Gumbel’s primary concerns include balancing the state budget, supporting small businesses, encouraging rural development and conserving the vibrancy of Main Streets in Minnesota cities and towns.

Gumbel, who is running against incumbent Jeanne Poppe (D-District 27B), said that in order to balance the state budget, the tax structure will need to be re-evaluated.

“We can’t just keep taxing,” Gumbel said. “To me, raising taxes is the last thing on the table. Taxes hinder job growth. But with the budget we have now, it may have to be on the table.”

The Republican candidate said increasing taxes is a less desirable option for balancing the budget because tax increases are rarely temporary and they are a hindrance on home and business owners.

Gumbel also said tax shifting shouldn’t be an option, either. Citing an example of tax revenue created from snowmobile license fees, Gumbel said it is unfair for surplus dollars from license fees to be used in another area of the budget. Instead, the license prices should be decreased or the surplus money should go into a fund for trail maintenance and other related needs, she said.

While Gumbel is hesitant about raising taxes, she said she disagrees with Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s stance, which is not to raise taxes under any circumstance. Gumbel said she supports Tom Emmer for governor.

“We need people willing to look at the long-term sustainability of our government,” she said. “Tom Emmer will.”

Gumbel touched on the topic of sustainability, saying that if she is elected she wants to make budget decisions that will not only help with the budget crisis immediately but also in the future. She used the topic of public transportation, such as new rail and bus lines, as an example.

“When we’re facing a budget crisis, public transportation projects may not be something we need to spend money on,” she said.

As an attorney, Gumbel said part of her desire to be a state representative stems from wanting to be a voice for residents of the Austin area. She said that she is open to people’s ideas and opinions so she knows how to best represent her constituents if she is elected.

“We need someone who will listen to their neighbor and then speak out,” Gumbel said. “Before going up to St. Paul I need to hear from people.”

Gumbel especially wants to hear from veterans about ways to improve veteran programs in the area.

“I would like to talk to some local members of the military to see what the needs are,” she said. “Are there ways to revamp or provide services to veterans who want to come back (to the Austin area)?”

Mostly, Gumbel wants to bring a fresh, youthful perspective to the legislature, and she is excited about the opportunity that lies before her as the election approaches.

“I want to be a voice for (the citizens),” she said. “I’m going to be as loud as I can, either way.”