John Hoffman: Anoka school board member offers skills for MN Senate
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 26, 2012
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
CHAMPLIN — “Good outcomes can come when people decide to get together and work towards a common goal and set their differences aside,” says John Hoffman, candidate for Senate District 36, which includes Champlin and parts of Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids.
Hoffman is endorsed by the Minnesota AFL-CIO and the DFL Party.
Hoffman enjoys good name recognition in the new Senate District 36 thanks to his seven years of service as a member of the Anoka-Hennepin School Board, including two years as vice-chair.
He contrasts the accomplishments of the Anoka-Hennepin School Board during his tenure there with the gridlock at the legislature: “We were dealing with real hard issues. We stayed at the table and got them done. We never shut down.”
“You didn’t see us get into partisan gridlock on the school board,” Hoffman says. “What I learned was you have to drive for consensus on the school board. There’s a way of doing that without alienating people,” he notes. “If I can do it on a local level, we should be able to do it on the state level.”
Hoffman’s opponent is one-term Republican incumbent Benjamin Kruse, who by contrast has established an extreme voting record in the Senate. In the 2012 session of the legislature, Kruse supported the AFL-CIO position only once of 17 votes tracked. He also advocated for the “Right to Work” constitutional amendment.
“The tipping point for me was ‘Right to Work,’” Hoffman says. He notes that even when Republican leadership stopped pushing “Right to Work,” Kruse was part of a group of legislators trying to bring it back. “Clearly they’re attacking unions and that’s wrong,” Hoffman says.
Instead of divisive constitutional amendments, Hoffman says, “jobs need to be a priority in the state of Minnesota.” He adds: “Creating jobs is going to take a collective discussion and not a one-sided argument.”
Hoffman is a former AFSCME member who has worked in both the public sector and nonprofit sector to improve education and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, a career which has gained him national recognition.
“I’ve been a public servant my whole life,” Hoffman says. “It’s not about politics. It’s always about public service.”
Hoffman has lived in Champlin for more than 12 years. He and his wife Yvette have a daughter, age 15, who attends the Anoka-Hennepin schools.
John Hoffman website: