Alice Hausman, DFL incumbent for State Rep. District 66b

Many politicians nationally have been talking about change recently. What do you think needs to change in Minnesota, and how do you plan to address that? We are far behind the rest of the country in building a public mass transit system and have stayed auto-dependant for far too long; at a certain point, that is going to affect both our economy and the environment. So there, I think we have to make a substantial shift, and a shift, once again, toward rail travel, including inter-city rail. So thatâÄôs increasing emphasis on public mass transit as a way to respond to climate change, as a way to respond to the need for economic revitalization. How would you encourage economic growth in Minnesota? The core pieces are always there. Clearly, the best education system we can provide, and that includes K-12 and a system of public colleges and universities that provide affordable education. That really is a way we build a strong economic future, thatâÄôs the base. I think we have to deal with the health care crisis. So investment in infrastructure, generally, whether it is transportation or clean water or higher education, I think is a way to build an economy that encourages business and industry to develop here. With tuition costs rising, what, if anything, would you do to make college more affordable? We obviously just have to continue to keep up our end of the bargain. For a few years, we were dramatically cutting the stateâÄôs commitment to our public colleges and universities, and that we need to reverse, and we started that this last year. So the state can do something, but here, we really depend on the administrators of the [public colleges and universities] system to do some good prioritizing and decision-making, too. What is your stance on gay marriage? I am a human rights supporter. In other words, just broadly, I believe it is indefensible to have a Constitution and a set of laws that donâÄôt treat all people equally. What is your stance on abortion? I would be labeled pro-choice, meaning I think there have to be some options for women in their reproductive decision-making. Do you think more money should be invested in mass transit, and if so, where should the money come from? Yes, yes, yes. We made part of that decision in our last transportation bill. There was a decision to raise a quarter-cent sales tax dedicated to transit. I think that quarter-cent sales tax should not just be imposed in the metro area; it ought to be statewide. What happens now is we in the metro have to pay for our transit system, and in greater Minnesota we continue to fund that with state dollars, with statewide tax dollars. So, I think that whole issue of equitable spending of tax dollars, raising and spending them, is crucial to good transit revenue-raising. Minnesota voters will have the opportunity to vote on the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, which would increase the state sales tax to fund the environment and the arts in Minnesota. How do you feel about this amendment? IâÄôm supporting the amendment.