Becki Smith, Green

Becki Smith is a first-time Green Party candidate.

Matthew Gruchow

A first-time candidate, Becki Smith is running as the Green Party’s candidate for the State House seat in District 59B.

Smith has worked for campaigns in the past and feels her career as an activist has educated her about important state issues, she said.

If elected, Smith said, she’ll work for fiscal responsibility in state government and a balanced state budget.

Encouraging women to be more active in the political process is another goal of her campaign, she said.

“Not enough women step forward and take the initiative to run for office,” she said.

Voters should be able to choose between more than Republican or Democratic candidates, she said.

“I’m the progressive choice for people this year. A fresh face and a fresh voice,” Smith said. “People have been entrenched for so long.”

Increasing the minimum wage and legalizing medical marijuana are also objectives of her campaign, she said.

While admitting to similar stances on some issues, University DFL Vice President Kelly Kubacki said students are more likely to vote Democratic because they’re young, liberal and the party better represents their views.

“I think the Democrats have a wider range of issue focus,” Kubacki said.

Green Party candidates still have a reputation for being concerned mostly with the environment, she said.

“They bring up some issues that the major parties won’t bring up,” Kubacki said. “I think they are more single-issue candidates.”

Smith said she offers something different from career politicians.

“My goal is to bring people together, not divide them,” she said.

Smith said the state should give fewer tax breaks to corporations and increase funding for education and social programs, such as the state’s mental health-care system.

“I don’t necessarily feel that we have to raise taxes, we just have to hold corporations more accountable,” she said.

Going to college must be cheaper and K-12 education needs more state funding, she said. Specifically, Smith said she wants to increase state funding for K-12 from the current 35 percent rate to 65 percent.

Smith said she wants Minnesota to build more renewable energy lines and harness the power-generating windmills throughout the state.

Smith said she is an advocate for universal health care, for which individuals pay a flat rate and receive the same coverage as anyone else.

Taking on the wage gap and creating more quality, affordable daycare will help women balance families and careers, she said.

“I would like to see it (pay) based on experience, and see that women get more experience,” Smith said. “I would like to see more on-the-job training and career advancement.”