Amanda Hutchings, Republican

Amanda Hutchings is with the Republican Party.

by Brady Averill

University student and Republican Party candidate for District 59B Amanda Hutchings said it’s time to bring new blood into the Minnesota House of Representatives.

She is that new blood, she said, and offers a unique perspective as a student.

“Young people in general are always complaining that their voices aren’t being heard,” she said. “I’m in a unique position to represent them, and I will do it to the best of my ability.”

Hutchings will try to oust 32-year incumbent Rep. Phyllis Khan, DFL-Minneapolis. Hutchings said she’s not “tarnished” by years of experience and more in touch with student issues than Khan is.

University DFL president Austin Miller said he isn’t so sure about that. Khan might be older than the average college student, but her ideals are similar, he said.

But Tony Richter, College Republicans vice chairman, said Hutchings understands students’ issues.

“She’s a student, and she’s kinda living the same lives we are,” he said.

Hutchings’ political experience stems from her involvement in several University organizations, such as the Minnesota Student Association, and her work in local political campaigns.

Hutchings said part of her public service ambition comes from former President Ronald Reagan.

Hutchings said she’s a moderate Republican who is socially conservative but when it comes to University issues, she’s willing to go against her party.

“I’m not a party ‘yes’ person,” she said.

If Hutchings is elected, fellow Republican representatives might see her energy and passion and give more support to the University, Richter said.

Miller said Hutchings missed an opportunity to help the University when she was MSA’s legislative affairs chairwoman.

“She was the one person who could have done something,” he said. “I don’t see how her going to become a legislator would change her position.”

Hutchings’ top concerns are funding the University, making students aware of available financial aid, ensuring safe and affordable housing and expanding mass transportation, she said.

The University is an “economic engine of the state,” and needs support to sustain itself, she said, but it needs to learn to adapt to the funding it receives.

Many students aren’t informed about how to use financial aid and don’t use it, she said. The system needs to be more accessible, Hutchings said.

Hutchings said she lives in Dinkytown, where area housing is either unsafe or too expensive. As a solution, she said she wants to entice companies with tax credit to build affordable and safe housing.

She said she supports expanded mass transportation, like the Hiawatha light rail line, but it has to do its job. Transportation needs to have better planning to reduce congestion, Hutchings said, and she does not believe the current light rail system does.