ELECTION GUIDE: State Representative District 11A

 

October 21, 2022

Republican candidate Jeff Dotseth (left) and DFL candidate Pete Radosevich (right)

STATE REPRESENTATIVE District 11A

Republican: Jeff Dotseth

Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications. (limit 50 words)

I am a husband, father, grandfather, farmer, realtor, small business owner and former township board supervisor who is looking to bring common sense to our state government and make sure the people of District 11A once again are heard.

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

• The unspent $7.2 billion budget surplus? We need common-sense leaders in St. Paul who will do the right thing: When the government has too much money, give it back to the people.

• Copper/nickel mining? I am committed to unlocking opportunities here; we have rich reserves of minerals, abundant timber, and skilled laborers. Let's unleash our abundant natural resources.

• Legalizing marijuana? I have concerns about the public safety, mental health, and other consequences of legalizing marijuana, especially when we already have a fentanyl crisis to address.

The legislature failed to pass the bonding bill and other critical legislation again this session. What do you think needs to happen to stop this cycle of government paralysis? (limit 75 words)

Some people with a partisan agenda have tried to cripple valuable legislation, such as mining projects, the much-needed Line 3 pipeline replacement, and more. This is the kind of game-playing gridlock that gives our government a bad name and does a disservice to Minnesotans. We can do better by rallying together for our causes and honoring our responsibility to the people we represent.

Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v Wade, states can decide the issue. Where do you stand on abortion rights? (limit 100 words)

As a pro-life candidate, I understand this is a deeply personal issue. I want to see life protected from the unborn to the elderly. That said, it's unfortunate to see Democrats attempt to mislead Minnesotans on this issue - the simple reality is abortion is constitutionally protected in Minnesota as the result of a court ruling.

Nursing homes are in trouble. What, if anything, do you think the state can do to help? (limit 100 words)

It is true Minnesota faces unprecedented, record-level workforce shortages in assisted living and nursing homes. We need to increase the state's reimbursement rate for these facilities so staff can earn what they truly deserve, and so we can better respond to evolving labor-market demands by attracting new workers. That is the only way we will truly help the growing number of seniors who cannot receive the long-term care they need, when they need it. Unfortunately, in the last few years, House Democrats voted for a $68 billion cut to nursing homes and against a $1 billion increase for them.

Many of our public schools are struggling financially and less safe than they've ever been. What, if anything, do you think the state can do to help? (limit 100 words)

Schools in the Twin Cities are provided thousands of dollars more in state per-pupil funding compared with those of us in non-metro school districts. Let's revamp our state's unfair education funding system to level the playing field for schools and students in Greater Minnesota.

Schools should be a safe place for students to learn and that is another area in need of improvement. First, the state's safe-schools program could be expanded beyond the current $36 per pupil. We also could disband the safe-schools levy and, instead, apply state resources to this effort, which also would reduce local property taxes.

University tuition and student debt are higher than ever. What should be the role of the legislature in this issue? (limit 100 words)

A main focus should be addressing the skyrocketing administrative budgets at our institutions that are causing tuition to soar. We also should be re-emphasizing skilled labor/trade careers as attractive opportunities for students. As our state has placed increased priority on STEM courses and four-year liberal arts degrees over the years, the industrial arts classes have been marginalized. It is long past time to reverse that trend so students can take advantage of the great opportunities that await, especially as our state faces a shortage of skilled workers, without incurring great debt.

What is another important issue facing the state of Minnesota and how would you address it? (limit 75 words)

Minnesota needs to get serious about improving public safety. The Defund the Police Democrats in Saint Paul have refused to boost funding for law enforcement and have sought to demonize an entire profession of workers, sewing mistrust between police and the communities they serve. We need to crack down on violent and repeat criminals and send a message that crime won't be tolerated, and you will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Democratic-Farmer-Labor: Pete Radosevich

Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications. (limit 50 words)

I moved here in 1999 to practice law; I host "Harry's Gang" on CAT-7; and had my pizza restaurant, Eskomo Pizza Pies. I'm the publisher of this newspaper (Pine Knot News). Service to the community is what I do. I'd like to do that in St. Paul for Carlton County.

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

• The unspent $7.2 billion budget surplus? We should divide it into 3 parts: save a third for a rainy day; reduce taxes with another third; and return the rest to the taxpayers.

• Copper/nickel mining? The real problem is the sulfuric acid it produces. Once we figure out how to neutralize the acid safely, we should start mining this resource. And with state funding at UofM, it looks like we are making real progress on this.

• Legalizing marijuana? Unconvinced. We already have it available for medicinal purposes. The next step is to make it recreational. I'd need to know more about the effects legalization has had on other areas, first.

The legislature failed to pass the bonding bill and other critical legislation again this session. What do you think needs to happen to stop this cycle of government paralysis? (limit 75 words)

It's why I'm running. We don't need more Trump-style Tea Party politicians who think politics is obstructing and criticizing. We need leadership. I'm DFL, but I'll be representing Carlton County and 11A, not a political party. That's what a representative is supposed to do. That's why Democrats, independents and even prominent Republicans are supporting me. Politics is the art of compromise, and if we focus on solutions, rather than shouting slogans, we'll get more done.

Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v Wade, states can decide the issue. Where do you stand on abortion rights? (limit 100 words)

This issue is already settled. Minnesota's constitution grants the right to reproductive choice, and Minnesotans won't support a constitutional amendment. Neither do I. Being Catholic, I oppose abortion, and I applaud my church's efforts to reduce abortions. But as a legislator, I have no business inflicting my religious beliefs on others. That's not what government should do. It's a "rights" issue, and I stand firmly with individuals' rights. We know abortion rates go down when good policy is in place: strong education; sturdy social safety nets; access to health care. To reduce abortions, let's start with that - not with restricting rights.

Nursing homes are in trouble. What, if anything, do you think the state can do to help? (limit 100 words)

We have a pretty good system in Minnesota - if you need nursing home care, we'll get you nursing home care. We worry about the cost later. But for those running the nursing homes, it's a real problem. First, we need to reevaluate the reimbursement rates for Medical Assistance. No one can afford nursing home care for very long, so it's often the taxpayers who pay the cost. I'm OK with that - taking care of our elderly is the respectful thing to do, and it's a financial burden we should all share.

Many of our public schools are struggling financially and less safe than they've ever been. What, if anything, do you think the state can do to help? (limit 100 words)

Quality public education is one of the reasons Minnesota is such a great state to live in. We value education, and we reap the rewards. We rank high in quality of life, in large part due to the value we place on education. But we pay high taxes, too. Investing in public education at all levels - early education, vocational training and college prep - and maintaining access to excellent higher education is a fundamental job of the government. And we need to be careful with our tax spending so we can continue to invest in education and other fundamental government responsibilities.

University tuition and student debt are higher than ever. What should be the role of the legislature in this issue? (limit 100 words)

We value education in Minnesota, and we need to keep public education affordable to all Minnesotans who want it. It's not just college, either - many trades and vocations require additional training beyond high school, and making education accessible should continue to be a priority for the Legislature.

What is another important issue facing the state of Minnesota and how would you address it? (limit 75 words)

Taxes are high in Minnesota, but if we get good value for our money, I'm fine with that. But we need to be vigilant. We're often tempted to spend far more than we should, and it's critical that we make sure we're spending our tax dollars wisely. Child care is also a big issue for us. We want people to work, but paying for child care is often too expensive. I'd like to work on that.

 
 

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