Ron Lischeid, Independence

.What is your position on gun control?

I believe that the standards to receive a conceal and carry permit should be the same in every city and county in the sate. I believe that the standards should be tough enough to ensure that gun permits aren’t granted to people with a potential to use them inappropriately.

I believe that any law-abiding citizen that feels a need to get a conceal and carry permit. I support the requirement that permit holders have proper training prior to receiving the permit. I believe that individual property owners have the right to prohibit people carrying handgun from entering their property, including government buildings, churches, schools and businesses.

What is your position on a statewide smoking ban?

While I understand the health dangers of second-hand smoke, I believe that elected public officials are exceeding their authority when they prohibit all smoking in private businesses. This is an issue that is best left to be decided by consumers in the market place.

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

As a heterosexual male, I am not offended at all by homo-sexual relationships. I have spent several decades working in the hospitality industry and was involved as a coach, manager and sponsor of women’s softball teams for over 30 years. Through these experiences, I have made many friends within the GLBT community. I am actually a member of the TC Pride Festival board, serving as the family picnic coordinator. I believe that same-sex marriage should be dealt with (or ignored) on the state level. I do not feel we need a constitutional amendment at either level defining marriage because such an amendment would be an attempt by some to legislate discrimination. As a member of the legislature, I would vote to approve public employee collective bargaining contracts that granted health and other benefits to same-sex partners.

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

Let me start by quoting from the Independence Party’s Platform ñ “Abortion: Abortion, as an area where a consensus is not present, should not be an issue for partisan politics. Legislation on this subject involves reconciling a conflict between two basic values: respect for human life and respect for the freedom of individual conscience.” I support the decision in Rowe v. Wade. I am opposed to the idea of a waiting period. As a personal position, I am pro-life but as a matter of public policy, I am pro-choice.

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

I support stem cell research and would support state funding for this research. I believe that believe that this an area where the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic should become involved as well as providing incentives to also encourage research in the private sector.

How should Minnesota deal with the current traffic congestion problems?

I believe that Minnesota needs a multi-model approach to traffic and transportation planning. I have support the inaugural phase of LRT and believe that this current line should be one of the spokes in a more complete system. I believe that the next logical spoke should connect downtown Minneapolis with downtown St. Paul with connections to the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota and State Capitol complex. I believe University Avenue is a better choice for this next corridor than Washington Avenue. I support commuter rail, using existing commercial rail beds. I will work for a permanent source for transportation funding so that transportation is not a political football every two years. I also support expansion of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and would push for LRT/BRT dedicated lanes in the 35W/62 Crosstown corridor.

What is your position on health care?

We need to increase the opportunity for all Minnesotans to have health care coverage. The alternative of not having people covered by health care, is, I believe, more expensive in the long run. Health care coverage should include routing preventative procedures. Minnesota should work to include as many people in the same health care pool as possible to help reduce the average cost of coverage and the cost of prescription drugs. Minnesota needs to maintain adequate funding for recreational facilities as a means of providing physical activity for fitness.

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

While it may not be important at the current time, when the economy recovers and Minnesotans are once again at full employment, we need to establish a ratcheting mechanism that automatically lowers or reduces Minnesota withholding taxes when collections have reached a level to fully fund the state’s checks that were issued during the Ventura administration. A priority should be made in the budget discussions in January to fully restore the state’s rainy day fund as quickly as possible and legislation should be passed to prevent it from ever again being raided in the future.

What is your position on funding for higher education?

I support restoring previous cuts to the University of Minnesota’s funding. I am a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Vocational Education and will vigorously work to provide adequate funding for the state’s vocational and technical college programs. In a rapidly changing global economy, it is important that Minnesotans have the opportunity to acquire the latest technical skills that are demanded by industry. Today’s economy requires all citizens to become “students for life” and higher education needs to be able to accommodate the needs of a larger growing population of non-traditional students on all campuses.