by Dennis Dalman
Long-time Minnesota Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) is hoping for another go-round for his fifth consecutive bid to represent the people in House District 13B in the state legislature.
O’Driscoll, 54, was elected to that position four times, every two years, since his first try in 2010. O’Driscoll, a former real-estate agent, is a corporate trainer for Kaplan Professional Schools. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Kaplan Inc. provides educational services to colleges, universities, corporations and businesses, including programming, training, testing and certification.
O’Driscoll’s challenger for the 13B House seat is Heidi Everett of St. Wendel Township.
District 13B includes Sartell, St. Stephen, Sauk Rapids, Holdingford and the townships of Avon, Brockway, Holding, Le Sauk, Minden, Sauk Rapids and St. Wendel.
Raised in Sartell, O’Driscoll graduated from Sartell High School and then earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University in business education, office administration and real-estate planning and development.
O’Driscoll served as a member of the Sartell City Council from 1993 to 1995 and again from 2002 to 2006, and from 2007-2011, he served as the city’s mayor.
Among his other numerous civic activities he served as president of the Sartell Economic Development Authority, secretary and executive board member of the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization and board chairman of the St. Cloud Area Joint Planning District.
O’Driscoll was also instrumental in forming and helping continue the perennially popular Sartell SummerFest celebration.
His other jobs have included training manager for PrimeVest Financial Services (2000-2009); educational trainer for ProSource Educational Services (1994-2000); instructor at St. Cloud Business College (1988-1994) and real-estate agent (1983-2005).
Among his committee assignments at the Minnesota House are those involving commerce and regulatory reform, government finance, government operations and elections, capital investment, veterans’ affairs, workplace safety and rules, and legislation administration. He has also served as Pro Tem of the House.
O’Driscoll has been honored many times for his work on behalf of veterans. He is a leader in the Central Minnesota Warrior to Citizen and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon community initiatives.
O’Driscoll said he is very proud of his work in ensuring the success of legislative accomplishments in the 2017-2018 legislative session. Among them, he listed the Pension Reform and Stabilization bill (authored by O’Driscoll), a historic level of multi-billion funding for roads and bridges for a 10-year period without raising taxes; $1.4 billion in tax relief to Minnesotans; a law that lowers health-care insurance costs and that increases options for those who have experienced three years of double-digit premium increases that O’Driscoll said were caused by the Affordable Care Act, and an increase of $1.3 billion for public schools and $25 million to assist schools to institute safety measures.
O’Driscoll outlined the issues he plans to work on if re-elected:
• Taxes: He supports tax relief for parents saving for their children’s post-secondary education and tax relief for post-secondary graduates who are paying back student loans.
• A statewide property tax for owners of commercial and industrial real estate, O’Driscoll said, is jeopardizing jobs. A reduction, he added, would improve the economic vitality of the whole state.
• Transportation: Traffic increases require more roads and bridges, O’Driscoll said, and aging infrastructure needs fixes and upgrades. Funding could be acquired by gradually moving the sales taxes from vehicle sales and repairs and dedicating those funds to road and bridge projects, O’Driscoll said he believes.
• Job creation: O’Driscoll said creating a more business-friendly environment in Minnesota would attract more employers to the state. That could be effected by keeping regulatory requirements in check and a streamlining of permit processes, thus, in turn, creating more and better jobs, he added.
• Education: There is still work to be done and progress to be made on increasing funding for K-12 education, O’Driscoll said. Currently, he noted, the education-funding formulas favor schools in the Twin Cities area over those of greater Minnesota. That funding process must be made more equitable, O’Driscoll argues.
• Veterans: O’Driscoll said he will continue his work on behalf of veterans, adding to the many pro-veteran bills he has authored that have become laws.
The salary for legislators is $45,000 annually, with a $66 per diem rate.
O’Driscoll’s campaign website is odriscollforhouse.com.