Honest Leadership. Real Solutions. These are the promises I made when I first ran for state office. It's more than a campaign slogan --it's how I conduct my personal and public lives.

Hard working, thoughtful leadership is more important now than ever before. We all know that our state and nation face significant financial, social and political challenges.

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Every day I go out into the community to talk to my District 56A neighbors because my job is to know their needs and take their concerns to the Capitol. I hear their frustration about the political processes and the inch-deep sound-bites that fly between the candidates.

As your state representative, I strive to share a clear and comprehensive analysis of the problems we face and their potential solutions. Simplistic sound bites, like "no new taxes" or "tax the rich" don't offer solutions to today's complex problems. We must find solutions to address real problems, not just to fit a preconceived notion of government. It's hard work, but that is what I sought office to do and what I believe you elected me to do.

Our state's structural financial issues require more than Band-Aids or pushing the problems onto our kids and grand-kids. Real solutions demand careful study and thoughtful deliberation. In politics it's easier to play games and evade the underlying issues, but that's not honest leadership, nor real solutions.

Over the past several years, the governor, the legislature and coalitions of outside groups have all established commissions and issued reports that analyze our challenges and make recommendations as to the path forward.

Outside the fray and timeline of the legislative cycle, and drawing on the analysis and views of top experts, these commissions have offered much sound advice. These include the Governor's 21st Century Tax Commission, the Budget Trends Commission, and the work of P.S. Minnesota for reforming our K-12 funding.

Leaders of both parties need to demonstrate the political courage to advocate for the necessary reforms. In the upcoming election you have a clear choice. You can elect candidates whose decisions will be driven by ideology and politics.

Or you can elect representatives like my colleagues Sen. Kathy Saltzman, DFL-Woodbury and Rep. Marsha Swails, DFL-Woodbury, and me who strive for value and efficiency in government, and who have successfully passed bi partisan health-care reforms, education reforms, tax reforms aimed at attracting and growing business, consumer protections, and safeguards for our drinking water.

We live in a mixed, free market economy. The "mixed" part recognizes that government plays a key role in our economy and society.

Our systems of transportation, justice, and education all provide the larger context necessary for a free-market economy to hum along.

And government plays a key role in preserving our natural resources, protecting our public health and the environment, and providing a safety net for the vulnerable.

Striking the right balance means supporting our market-based economy while also recognizing that government must provide essential infrastructure and services.

It's my job, as an honest leader seeking real solutions, to craft government policies that best support our market economy and make us a strong Minnesota.

Julie Bunn, DFL-Lake Elmo, is the state House representative for District 56A, which includes a portion of Woodbury.