Robert Garrison, Republican

.What is your position on gun control?

I think that the current gun laws need to be enforced. Gun laws only work on law abiding citizens and not the criminals. A criminal, if he wants, could get a gun on the street easier than a law-abiding citizen, like me, could. I supported the carry and conceal law, and people taking gun safety classes before they get their permits.

What is your position on a statewide smoking ban?

I disagree with the smoking ban. The ban would hurt small and medium businesses. The people of Minnesota can make their own choices on whether they want to eat or drink at an establishment that allows smoking.

What is your position on same-sex marriage? Should same-sex marriage be dealt with at a state or federal level?

I don’t support the federal government getting involved. Same-sex marriages should be dealt with at the state level. It should be up to the voters of Minnesota to decide the issue. The state of Missouri had their chance to vote on the issue, as well as other states, and Minnesota should be able to have that same opportunity.

What is your position on abortion? How do you feel about the “Women’s Right to Know” Act?

In case of rape, incest and threat of the mother’s life, abortion should be allowed as one of many options. I do support a 24-hour waiting period for abortions unless it’s a medical emergency. I do think that the mother and father (if he is around) should be given all the information and options before making a heart-wrenching decision such as this.

What is your position on stem cell research? Should the state government fund stem cell research?

The state should have the option of whether they want to fund stem cell research. I personally would like to see more research done on stem cells so we can know the benefits or consequences of it. There are still a lot of unknowns about stem cells and we should allow scientists to explore and find out just what stem cells can and can’t be used for, and what medical conditions they can help fight.

How should Minnesota deal with the current traffic congestion problems?

We should have more funding for mass transit. Here in Minnesota we have very little room for more highways. If we do not want to be like Los Angeles and have an hour or more commute to work and another hour to get home, then we need to find ways to ease traffic congestion in Minnesota. Light rail is a start. However, there does need to be better planning in the future so that the cost doesn’t get out of hand.

What is your position on health care?

The cost of health care is getting out of hand. We need to have some kind of tort reform to keep medical premiums down. I support Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s plan to purchase prescription drugs from Canada. I think this program should be open and available to more people of Minnesota.

Would you change the current tax policy? If so, how?

The current tax policy in the state of Minnesota is reasonable. We need to keep taxes in check so that the people of Minnesota can have more money in their pockets and make their own decisions on how and where their money is spent. Property taxes need to be kept in check as well. Lack of state funding to cities trickles down to the homeowners through property taxes that, in my opinion, should not happen, causes burden on the middle class.

What is your position on funding for higher education?

Being a student in college, funding of higher education is a personal issue. At the University the tuition has increased double digits the last three years. That’s just wrong. The state of Minnesota needs to fund higher education more, but colleges do need to cut the wasteful and needless spending as well.