Andy Olson says his decision to file for re-election was a little more difficult than in past years, but the five-term state representative for House District 15 had plenty of encouragement.
“I can’t believe how many people have supported me in this,” he said Monday after making the announcement that he would run again in 2014. “I’m thankful to represent the people here. I believe I have similar values to the majority in the district.”
Olson, a 29-year veteran of the state police before becoming representative, said a major reason for running again were goals that he still felt needed to be accomplished.
He said his concerns focus around jobs, the economy, funding education, halting government growth and strengthening the criminal justice system.
Education and job creation were on the top of his list. He said they go hand-in-hand.
“I’ve talked to a lot of kids looking to find a way to attend college and not have a major debt coming out,” he said. “And we need jobs for them when they do get out. The two issues are closely related.”
Making the state more friendly to business is another key issue Olson said.
“State government and regulation should be a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block,” Olson said.
He will begin his campaign in earnest in 2014, likely at the end of February or early March. Talking personally with people in the district is important to Olson.
“I’ll be out again talking to people. I expect I will knock on between five thousand and seven thousand doors,” he said. “I think most people know that our office will respond to them if they contact us.”
Olson was a key player in the 2013 regular legislative session in House Bill 3194, which reforms prison sentencing in the state and aims to curb the growth in the state's inmate population.
In his press release Monday, Olson also listed these other goals and accomplishments:
• Developing law enforcement tools to regulate the selling of tobacco to minors;
• Proposing legislation to better regulate the medical marijuana program;
• Writing legislation to help create of timber-harvesting jobs;
• Creating a Highway Memorial Fund to honor fallen officers and fallen heroes;
• Working with the state Bureau of Labor Industries to help local businesses;
• Strengthening the metal theft laws.