Just ask Shannon Savick, former mayor of Wells.
She won’t tell you exactly how old she is, but says the 65 pounds she has recently lost is a little bit less than her age.
Savick, who has been out of politics for less than a year, has decided to run for state representative in District 24.
“I have the time and energy it takes to campaign,” she says. “It’s the new me and I’m ready for a challenge.”
Her opponent would be a formidable one, incumbent Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder.
While the election isn’t until November 2012, Savick was at the Faribault County Fair shaking hands and passing out literature.
At times, she was the lone person manning the Democrat booth located outside where the temperature index topped 110 degrees.
“I enjoy serving and helping people. Trying to make their lives better,” she says.
Despite getting an early start, the state government shutdown had an early impact on her campaign.
It put a clamp on her fund-raising efforts.
“To be able to raise money you have to be officially registered with the state’s campaign office. I wasn’t able to do that,” she says.
Greeting fair-goers she hands out a “Vote Shannon Savick” card citing six reasons why she should be elected.
The inability of state lawmakers to work out a budget deal also convinced her to be a candidate.
Savick says the shutdown was avoidable and it was politics as usual.
“When did it get to the point where one party has to win at all cost? We need to have legislators who are willing to work together. Compromise is not a bad word,” she says.
If elected, income tax inequities need to be addressed, she says.
Savick points to a 2011 Minnesota Department of Revenue tax study showing people earning $450,000 or more annually pay a rate of 9.7 percent, while those making $45,000 are at 12.3 percent.
As mayor, Savick has seen firsthand how cuts in Local Government Aid have hurt small rural communities and middle-class families.
Cutting programs that benefit the less fortunate, she says, is taking “the moral low ground.”
Job creation is another important area Savick believes should be addressed.
“Jobs, jobs and jobs. All the lawmakers talk about it. But no one does anything,” she says.
She says the Republican Party touts itself as pro-business, yet pushes for cuts in education funding.
“Today’s jobs involve more technology and require a good education, training and a skilled workforce,” she adds.
If work experience and education were the only criteria needed to be a legislator, Savick is well qualified.
After earning a bachelor of science degree in math and physics, she received a master’s degree in business administration.
She then worked nearly 20 years in sales, marketing and management consulting for major corporations.
During her tenure as mayor, Savick took pride in creating an environment that fostered cooperation and openness in government.
She hopes to take her business-like and humanistic approach to the Legislature.
“Any legislator who has chosen to protect millionaires and special interest groups in the state instead of children, elderly and disabled should be fired by the voters,” she says.