Incumbent is good news for District 59B

If it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it. District 59B, which includes most of the University campus, the West Bank and the surrounding neighborhoods, should be represented by incumbent Phyllis Kahn for the next two years. This Democrat, who represented District 59B in the state Legislature for more than a quarter century, is the clear choice again this year.
Kahn has consistently wiped out the election-day opposition with an average of just more than 60 percent of the vote during the last 22 years. Her past challengers have frequently been University students who were unable to compete with Kahn’s experience, competence and vast knowledge of the legislative system. This year is no exception as her understanding of the district’s ins and outs have allowed her to step ahead of her competitors who have been running ineffective campaigns.
The Republican challenger, Rob Fowler, a third-year University Law School student, is going about his campaign like a general on the warpath. Armed with charts, billboards, maps and figures of recent voting trends, the College Republican hopes to unseat Kahn with a formulaic platform. Proclaiming the same, tired Republican mantra, Fowler is relying on a call for lower taxes, wiser spending and more student tax exemptions to bring in the votes. Although his chances this year are extremely slim, his organization and youthful drive for office could offset his lack of knowledge and tangible legislative experience, and prove dangerous to Kahn in the coming years. We look forward to seeing a maturer Fowler run again down the road when his platform has solidified and he has left behind the time commitments of law school.
Eric Hanson, former vice president of the Minnesota Student Association under Helen Phin, is the independent candidate in the race to represent 59B. It is unfortunate and embarrassing that he is running based on a whim and not a real desire to change the politics of the district. His slim chances are made slimmer by his casual, nonchalant joking manner concerning his candidacy. Any semblance of a political platform is lost amongst jokes and gimmicks, sadly reinforcing a prevalent belief among students that only a College Republican or established politician can attain office around campus.
Though Fowler’s dedication is commendable, at this time he cannot serve the University the way Kahn has in the past. Her activism in the realms of women’s issues and sports, her dedication to the financial security of retired University employees and her authoring of the Minnesota Clean Air Act of 1975 have cemented her reputation among the residents of this district.
Many students have had no contact with Kahn and cannot name an initiative she authored that has directly affected them. This, however, should not be blamed on Kahn but on traditional student apathy during elections. Attacks that say otherwise simply demonstrate a misunderstanding of the University culture.
The Minnesota Daily endorses Phyllis Kahn for legislative representative of District 59B. Our endorsement is based upon continued competence and a strong record of legislative activism and productivity. Her experience and reputation will carry her to another victory and more good years for the University.