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Voter Guide: State Senate, District 11

Jason Rarick vs Michelle Lee

 

October 2, 2020

Michelle Lee, DFL

Background

My life experience is my qualification. My husband and I built a home and raised a family in Moose Lake. Two pay checks allowed us to enjoy a good life here. My concern is the next generation won’t have the same opportunity unless we work together for our rural communities.

Please describe where you stand on the following issues in 25 words or fewer (each):

- Statewide pandemic mandates: COVID-19 has claimed lives and livelihoods. Without an effective vaccine, the statewide mandates are critical in reducing its devastating toll on our communities.

-Twin Metals, Polymet mining projects: I support due process. Regardless of personal position, decisions regarding copper/nickel mining will ultimately be decided in the courts, based on science and the facts presented.

- Legalizing marijuana: I support the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana for adults 21 and older.

- Enbridge Line 3: The FDL Band has entered agreements allowing the pipeline to cross its lands. I recognize that right. I also support the right to protest lawfully and challenge in court.

- Making MinnesotaCare available to all: Until Medicare for all becomes reality, Minnesota has an opportunity to lead by providing healthcare to all by expanding the availability of MinnesotaCare. I support that.

The legislature failed to pass the bonding bill this year, essentially because the two parties can’t seem to work together. It meant delayed projects, the proposed Willow River prison closure and matters such as the proposed consolidation between Carlton and Wrenshall are in limbo. What do you think needs to happen to stop this cycle of government paralysis?

We need to stop playing political games in St. Paul and get back to conducting the people’s business, including saving critical programs like the CIP in Willow River and Togo proven to reduce the rate of recidivism among offenders. I also recognize and support the extensive work invested by the Carlton and Wrenshall communities to educate our children. Far too often our representatives forget who they were elected to serve. As the next senator of this district I will work to put the needs of our families, friends and neighbors first. I will build coalitions regardless of political allegiance to save and create jobs, fully fund our schools and address our crumbling infrastructure.

George Floyd died in police custody in Minnesota, sparking protests against police practices and ongoing racial oppression that have crossed the globe. What do you think the state needs to do to make sure deaths like Floyd’s and others don’t keep happening and how do we address systemic racism?

The circumstances surrounding George Floyd’s death underscore the critical need to examine and re-evaluate current policing practices in an effort to prevent another tragic death from happening.

One of our greatest strengths in Senate District 11 is that our small, close-knit communities allow us to get to know each other on a personal level, including the men and women sworn to serve and protect us. That personal touch of community has allowed us to build public institutions, like our police, that work for us. Policing works best when it is built from a strong community foundation, with ultimate control in the hands of those who live in our communities.

While we collaborate on maintaining and improving our local approach to public safety, it is also vital we fully protect everyone’s constitutional rights regardless of our race, income level, or station in life.

Addressing systemic racism is up to each of us. It begins by rejecting politics based on fear and by embracing politics based on inclusion.

What are two other issues facing the state of Minnesota that you think are important, and how should they be addressed?

As your next senator of District 11, I will work to ensure workplace safety, the right to join a union and to earn a living wage. We must also work to support our small businesses which are the backbone of our economy. Programs designed to mentor and assist the next generation seeking to own and operate small- and mid-sized farms are also critical. We must invest in research and work to develop legislation supporting the expansion of sustainable agriculture, the protection of our air and water quality and the responsible management of our wild and natural resources for generations to come.

Minnesota is a leader in the development of new environmental technologies, standards and practices. Protection of our natural environment is an act of social, economic, and environmental self-preservation. I will support scientific, logical transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewable energies technologies. I look forward to working with individuals, businesses and representatives at all levels of government to advance common sense solutions to the real and immediate threat of our climate crisis.

Jason Rarick, Republican

Background

I'm a lifelong resident of Pine County and a graduate of Pine City. I became a union electrician in 1992 and started my business in 2004 as an electrical contractor. I have been very involved in local groups and served in the legislature the last six years.

Please describe where you stand on the following issues briefly:

-Statewide pandemic mandates: I believe they should have been done by regions of the state with local input.

- Twin Metals, Polymet mining projects: I support both and believe they can be done safely.

- Legalizing marijuana: Looking at the state of Colorado, and the cost to their human services department, I cannot support that at this time.

- Enbridge Line 3: I fully support Enbridge Line 3 and believe it should have started a few years ago.

- Making MinnesotaCare available to all: The state cannot afford that, especially now, and most people have health insurance. We should focus on those who cannot afford it.

The legislature failed to pass the bonding bill this year, essentially because the two parties can’t seem to work together. It meant delayed projects, the proposed Willow River prison closure and matters such as the proposed consolidation between Carlton and Wrenshall are in limbo. What do you think needs to happen to stop this cycle of government paralysis?

First, I support term limits. I believe that would be one step to changing government paralysis. Those that have served a long time, tend to get entrenched in their ideas so new faces can sure help.

Second is more people becoming involved with the two parties. We are seeing the extremists on both sides taking over and choosing the candidates. If average working people want to see candidates who represent their views, they need to get involved at the caucuses in February and help pick the candidates that will be on the ballot.

George Floyd died in police custody in Minnesota, sparking protests against police practices and ongoing racial oppression that have crossed the globe. What do you think the state needs to do to make sure deaths like Floyd’s and others don’t keep happening and how do we address systemic racism?

First, in preventing further deaths, there are things we can work with police to help change their procedures, but we must work with them and allow them to explain the situations they are put in and what they need to respond to on a daily basis. We also need to admit that behavior and attitudes toward cops must improve because they are humans with feelings and emotions and make mistakes when under extreme pressure.

Regarding systemic racism, I believe we need to choose our words carefully. Many people instantly put up a wall when they’re accused of being a racist. We all need to consider each other’s viewpoints as we discuss the current situations so that we can move forward and improve the conditions for everyone in this state.

What are two other issues facing the state of Minnesota that you think are important, and how should they be addressed?

First, the economy and looming deficit. We must look at how we will balance potential tax increases with cuts to government agencies. With the shutdowns, we have to understand that many people and businesses had to make cutbacks in their budget, so we have to work with state agencies on how to best cut back on their budgets with the least impact to the services Minnesotans expect and deserve.

Second would be rural broadband and the impact on jobs and education. Once again, the shutdown has exposed what many in our area already knew: that the lack of good internet service has a negative impact on being able to work from home or to receive online education. So local, state and federal governments must continue to work together to help prioritize getting internet service to unserved areas. We cannot rely on satellite services. We must continue to get fiber in the ground.

 
 

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