2010 Election Guide, Barry Hickethier, Republican

by Taylor Selcke

What is the most important issue facing your district and how would you address it?
In every district, it really is the economy and jobs. That is number one âĦ
We need to have a bigger pie and the way to do that is by growing jobs and growing the economy, primarily developing small businesses where new job creation happens.
What would you do to fix the stateâÄôs $5.8-billion budget deficit?
The real concept is growing the economy. Juggling money here and there is only going to go so far, especially when a lot of people are hurting and there are a lot of needs that need to be satisfied. As far as the immediate or short-term, I donâÄôt think it is going to be as painful as people think.
What policies will you support to spur economic growth?
There are some things that can be done specific to the University [of Minnesota], such as partnerships with the University and private sectors. There is a lot of research going on and if we can leverage some of that into new business ventures, that is another way to build the economy, âĦ
The only way you can really grow the economy is to become more productive âÄî make more with fewer resources. The only way you can do that is through technology and entrepreneurship.
As far as businesses go, the main thing is reducing regulations. Some of them are good, but some of them are excessive.
What changes would you make to the state health care system?
ItâÄôs a big behemoth. The current system is broken but we are going the wrong direction … The government or another third-party provider is making decisions based on other peopleâÄôs money and youâÄôre making health care decisions based on other peopleâÄôs money,âĦ
We expect health care to cover every single little visit, but it should just cover the catastrophic things, âĦ
The other thing is that we should be opening up to competition and allowing insurance providers from other states, just like we do with auto insurance.
How would you transition Minnesota into a green-energy economy?
One thing I would do is let the ethanol contracts expire. It makes no sense to burn your food âÄî not when people are hungry âĦ Another thing I would do is to remove the ban on nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is used safely all around the world, and it can be used safely here.
Should state funding be used for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium?
No. If we need to widen the highway or create an off-ramp, that is a legitimate role for government. Building a stadium is not a legitimate role for government.
Should more money be invested in mass transit? If so, where would that money come from?
We already have a pretty healthy allocation for mass transit. In fact, we are already building more mass transit than we need, or maybe we are building the wrong kind.
What is your stance on gay marriage?
The language matters, and I understand when people say that a marriage is a specific thing. I respect that. That said, I donâÄôt think it is the governmentâÄôs business to be involved, period, âĦ
Even though it may not be marriage, nobody should be denied the right or the ability to enter into whatever private agreement they want to enter.
What policies would you support that would affect tuition at the University of Minnesota?
One thing about the University is that they are No. 2 in the Big Ten public schools in terms of administrative expense âĦ We could trim that and we could work in some incentives, âĦ
The other thing I would like to do for tuition is a lock-in program. When you come in as a freshman, you know what your tuition is going to be for the next four years so you and your family can plan.