What is the most important issue facing your district and how would you address it?
I think jobs are the most important issue. Whether you are a recent graduate of a university or someone who has been out of school for years, the softness of the economy has given tremendous anxiety and inability for people to get the kind of jobs and stability they are hoping for.
What would you do to fix the stateâÄôs $5.8-billion budget deficit?
I think it will take a balanced solution of stabilizing the state budget and making significant budget reductions, figuring out innovations and a revenue increase to help protect basic services like education.
What policies will you support to spur economic growth?
One thing it can do for sure is to provide for public construction of buildings we know we will need, âÄ¦
Secondly, we have implemented strategic business incentives such as angel investment credits and historic tax credits that hopefully will provide some modest stimulus for the creation of jobs.
The third thing is to continue the work that has been done on trying to streamline government regulatory activities to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start businesses and create some jobs.
What changes would you make to the state health care system?
We need to dovetail with changes that the federal government is making, and we need to figure out a way to cut health care costs in half. Right now our growth is 8.2 percent annually, and we need to cut that in half, at least to 4 percent, as our population ages.
To do this we can use electronic records to streamline record keeping, have universal coverage to bring costs down for everybody and encourage preventative health care and healthy lifestyle incentives so that people eat well, exercise and donâÄôt smoke.
How would you transition Minnesota into a green-energy economy?
We should be encouraging renewable resources such as wind, solar [and] bio, and we should be promoting community-based
We need to stimulate green construction of buildings, both public and private, and there are incentives to do that now.
We need to accelerate our mass transit construction. We need to get more routes than the planned central corridor and the Hiawatha Corridors âÄ¦ If we can accelerate that, that should help on fossil fuels.
We should incent people to use alternative modes of transportation such as bicycles and walking.
Finally, any incentive we can match the federal government for hybrid vehicles is a good idea if we can match that on our tax code.
Should state funding be used for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium?
I think it would be important to keep the Vikings here if we can. I donâÄôt think we should use general revenues âÄî that money should be set aside for education and health care âÄî but I think I could be supportive of user fees and some kind of arrangement on infrastructure that could facilitate a stadium …
I would not support Hennepin County taxpayers paying for the stadium.
Should more money be invested in mass transit? If so, where would that money come from?
Absolutely, more money should be invested. It is a metropolitan issue by and large. I think we should accelerate the funding for all of these various routes, which would probably mean some kind of metro sales tax increase to accelerate the construction of all these projects.
What is your stance on gay marriage?
I support civil unions, and I support creating equity, for example, hospital visits, between partners.
What policies would you support that would affect tuition at the University of Minnesota?
I support additional funding, which should help slow down the increases in tuition. We need to fund the University more significantly with general state dollars because there have been real dollar cuts to the institution. This has forced the University to double tuition over the last eight years.
It used to be that we had two-thirds funding by the state and one-third by the federal government. Now it is closer to 41 percent by the state, and I think that is way too low.