Dan Sparks, a Democrat, is running for reelection to the Minnesota Senate from District 27.
His district includes all of Freeborn and Mower counties, Blooming Prairie, Hayfield, three Dodge County townships, Faribault County and four townships in Faribault County.
"I grew up in Austin," he said. "I spent a lot of time on my grandfather's farm near Hayfield. I graduated from Austin High School and attended St. Cloud State University and the University of Minnesota."
He was elected to the Senate in 2002, 2006 and 2010. The last election was for a two-year term because of redistricting.
"I think that now, more than ever, we need a strong voice from southern Minnesota," he said. "I have a proven track record of working with both sides of the aisle to get things done. I think I got more things done in the last session than any other member of the Democratic Party. One of the most important was a bill to strengthen penalties against those who injure vulnerable children and elders. I worked with Dave Senjem to establish a collaboration among the University of Minnesota, the Hormel Institute and the Mayo Clinic for cancer research, which will create 120 good paying jobs plus construction jobs."
Another of his goals is that he would really like to see the Market Value Credit, which had existed for 40 years, be reinstated.
"Eliminating that really hit farmers and small business people hard as well as raising homeowners' property taxes," he said. "If I have my way, we will see that credit return."
Dan and his wife Andrea have four children - three daughters and an eight-month-old son, Nicholas.