State Senator, District 59

Courtney Blanchard

.Sandra Burt, Republican

What are two or three of the most important issues to you in the election?

The most important issues are public safety – because I believe that effects every one of us – education and health care.

How, specifically, would you change health care in Minnesota, if at all?

I believe that we need to allow small businesses and individuals to band together to purchase health insurance at the reduced rates that the big companies are able to purchase it at. I also would vote for getting more drugs from other countries after making sure the safety measures were in place.

Where is the line separating funding public interests from special interests?

It would have to have a tremendous benefit for the whole state for the Legislature to be using public money without public consent.

Do you think the state needs to invest more money in highways, mass transit or neither?

We need more mass transit; it needs to be more accessible to the people. We still have to improve our roads and highways, regardless of what kind of mass transit we decide to put our funding into.

I don’t particularly support the light rail project. I believe it benefits Ö few people, will never pay for itself – it’s highly subsidized. And we can move a lot more people, a lot more economically, by good, reliable, environmentally-friendly busing.

Should higher education be more affordable? And, if so, how?

I’m still paying off a college debt from some classes I took later on. Getting out of college and having a debt is not the worst thing in the world.

The (University) was able to give away several totally free rides and those people will finish their education and have absolutely no debt, which seems really unfair to those that work so hard, put themselves through school working while they’re going, get out and still have debt.

Maybe there could be some better planning and spending on the side of the University, too, rather than putting more money into giving out scholarships.

Would you support an amendment banning gay marriage?

I believe that every individual is worthy of total respect Ö but, at the same time, marriage is marriage between a man and a woman.

Would you change Minnesota tax policy, and how?

I believe that we need to keep taxes as low as possible and for sure not increase them. We need to remember that the high tax bracket that everyone complains about, that’s getting such a break, is for the most part small businesses. We need small businesses and to continually raise our tax break Ö is very damaging to the Minnesota economy.

– Candidate did not provide a photo.

Larry Pogemiller, DFL, incumbent

What are two or three of the most important issues to you in the election?

Investment in education, early childhood and higher education in particular. Public safety, restoring local government aid, so the city is able to properly fund the police services. Strong protection of the environment.

How, specifically, would you change health care in Minnesota, if at all?

First, we need universal coverage and then we need to create a pool for small employers to be able to join so they can keep their costs down, and we need to encourage best practices in the medical system to get high quality services for the best price.

Where is the line separating funding public interests from special interests?

Where’s the line? I have historically supported appropriate levels of public infrastructure dollars to help build theaters, arts facilities or stadiums, as an example. But it has to be in conjunction with significant non-public investment.

Do you think the state needs to invest more money in highways, mass transit, or neither?

Both. We need to obviously do Central Corridor and it needs to be properly designed around campus, which probably means underground. And we need to create more corridors for light rail transit, in addition, and we need commuter rail and we need to do very significant highway enhancements in the metropolitan area to ease some of the congestion.

Should higher education be more affordable? And, if so, how?

Obviously, yes. There’s been about a 50 percent increase in undergraduate tuition in the past four years. That’s way out of line.

And the reason for it is lack of state funding for higher ed. I voted against the bill that did that. There was a real dollar cut of about almost $400 million to higher education in the last four years. I did not support that.

Would you support an amendment banning gay marriage?

No.

Would you change Minnesota’s tax policy, and how?

The system has gotten more regressive, less based on ability to pay because it’s premised on property taxes and fees now, and tuition. And we should use the income tax in lieu of property tax, fees and tuition. And people in the highest income ranges right now pay less of a percent of their income than average Minnesotans.

We need to rectify that Ö (with) a more progressive, fair tax system.

Rahn Workcuff, Independence

What are two or three of the most important issues to you in the election?

Transportation, crime and health care.

How, specifically, would you change health care in Minnesota, if at all?

What (Republican Gov. Tim) Pawlenty tore apart, I would see that everything was put back into place.

Where is the line separating funding public interests from special interests?

Transportation, crime and health care should be the top issues to be addressed. We don’t need any more damn stadiums.

Do you think the state needs to invest more money in highways, mass transit or neither?

Definitely towards mass transit, especially out in the suburbs.

Should higher education be more affordable? And, if so, how?

Pawlenty states that he’s for education but his actions state otherwise. I would put back the money into the education system.

Would you support an amendment banning gay marriage?

Yes. (Marriage) should be allowed only between a man and a woman.

Would you change Minnesota’s tax policy, and how?

Yes. By getting rid of the excess taxes, (for example) inheritance taxes.

– Candidate did not provide a photo.