Freshman legislator Jim Carlson of Eagan is a researcher who loves numbers

Numbers seem a comfort to Sen. Jim Carlson. He has a kind of shrine to
transportation funding on the wall of his office at the Capitol. And
the charts and rows of statistics neatly displayed there appear like
offerings to a transportation deity.

“I’m a kind of researcher,” said Carlson, freshman Democratic lawmaker
from Eagan. “I like to dig out things. I like to see what the numbers
are,” said Carlson, an engineer by profession.

by T.W. Budig
ECM capitol reporter

Numbers seem a comfort to Sen. Jim Carlson.

He has a kind of shrine to transportation funding on the wall of his office at the Capitol.

And the charts and rows of statistics neatly displayed there appear like offerings to a transportation deity.

“I’m a kind of researcher,” said Carlson, freshman Democratic lawmaker
from Eagan. “I like to dig out things. I like to see what the numbers
are,” said Carlson, an engineer by profession.

“I may not be the quickest study,” he said with self-depreciation, “but I try not to make any errors in judgement.”

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Sen. Carlson loves numbers

The shrine has a back story: Carlson serves on the Senate
Transportation Committee and as vice chair sometimes holds the
committee gavel.

He backs the Senate transportation bill, one with a gas tax increase
and other revenue raisers, and views fellow Eaganite – Gov. Tim
Pawlenty – transportation proposal as stopgap.

“What’s going to happen when he’s no longer governor?” asked Carlson.

Critic of governor’s bonding

“Whoever follows after him is going to have to figure out how to
generate money and pay off the (bonding) debt,” said Carlson,
critiquing the governor’s $1.7 billion transportation bonding proposal.

“We need to invest $1 billion a year (in transportation) for 10, or 12, or maybe 20 years,” he said.

Carlson is philosophical about the ire some people feel about tax increases.

“I’m already having them yell at me and send me nasty e-mails,” he said with a smile..

“But you know, I’ve had more people telling me,

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