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Breaking the Ice: Scott Jensen brings medical, civic experience to Senate

Name: Dr. Scott Jensen

Title: Senator, District 47

Education: B.A. physiology, University of Minnesota; doctor of medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School

First-time Sen. Scott Jensen, R-Chaska, a longtime family physician, said he hoped to bring “a voice of subject matter expertise and common sense to the health care reform issue” at the Capitol.

Jensen believed his medical practice and civic involvement, including 10 years on the Waconia school board and experience in road and bridge projects through the Southwest Corridor Transportation Coalition had prepared him to serve in the Senate.

But he spent time “soul searching, reflecting and praying” before deciding to run for the seat after Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, declined to seek re-election. Jensen defeated DFL opponent Darryl Scarborough in November.

Q. What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A. Ask me about my children. Cristy is an anesthesiologist at Hennepin [County Medical Center]. Matt is an attorney specializing in small business and estate planning in Eden Prairie. Jackie is a family doc in Chanhassen with Park Nicollet. They are a tremendous source of support.

Q. Who was the first presidential candidate you voted for and why?

A. 1976, it was Jerry Ford. A man of decency but I think a bit clumsy. I missed voting in the ’72 election by two weeks because my birthday is in the latter part of November.

Q. What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A. “The Shack,” by [William P.] Young. “Have a Little Faith,” by Mitch Albom. I like to have a book that’s a little bit philosophical but not a “religious” book necessarily.

Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?

A. Being interrupted. I prefer to finish my sentences and I prefer to let other people finish their sentences. Some people when they’re interrupted they just drop what they’re going to say and they don’t re-engage necessarily to share the thought they had. I’m relatively a pit bull so I will try to reclaim the floor at some point to finish the thought I’d started.

Q. What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A. I love reading and I just wrote a book (“Relationship Matters: The Foundation of Medical Care is Fracturing.”) I’m passionate about golf. I’m a pilot. I’ve been flying for 25 years.

Q. If someone visited you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?

A. I’d probably take them to the South Park in Sleepy Eye. Because that was where I really grew up. We’d play basketball and tennis and chase the girls and play steal the flag and light firecrackers, take bicycles down steep hills and put our bodies in danger.

Where I live now out in Carver County I usually take them to Island View Golf Club. From there they get a vista of rolling hills and from the other angle they’ll see Lake Waconia. The sunsets over Lake Waconia are always really pretty.

About 10 years ago my son and I and a few others built a restaurant in Watertown called The Luce Line Lodge. So I usually take them there.

Q. Has an event or person been an inspiration to you?

A. My mom and dad. My mom was my best friend. She really enjoyed people. And my dad was my hero. Both my parents died young. I would say dad was a hero to me because of how he stimulated me to always push myself to learn more and understand more. My mom was sort of the flip side; if my dad was the IQ side my mom was the EQ side. It was a great balance. I was very lucky.

Q. What is one way to end partisan polarization?

A. Politicians need to get over themselves. They’re supposed to be stepping away from their community to go serve. They’re not elected to become ideologues and draw lines in the sand and say that all the good ideas will come from this side of the line.

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