Editorial: The Minnesota Daily endorses Tim Walz for Governor of Minnesota

by Daily Editorial Board

The 2018 midterm elections are looking to be the most contentious in U.S. history. After the 2016 general election results left many Americans unsatisfied, many see this election year as a catalyst that will change the U.S. for the better. Minnesota is no exception to this. An unusually high number of Minnesotans turned out to vote in August’s primaries — a trend many look to continue on Tuesday when they will stroll to the polls to cast their final decisions. The political landscape in Minnesota may be changing as well. Gov. Mark Dayton chose not to bid for reelection, which would have been his attempt for a third term as governor. Additionally, the Republican primary ended with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty being defeated by Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson — a possible trend of voters striving for change.

This year, many of the main campaign issues reflect those of past elections. Housing and living expenses continue to rise in the Twin Cities and in greater Minnesota. Although many solutions may specifically focus on housing itself, there are many factors, like financial burdens, that play into the issue. Factors regarding child care, public transportation, policing and immigration all need to be addressed in order to make Minnesota a more affordable and welcoming place. In a time of great hostility, we believe it’s imperative to shape Minnesota to better serve all of its communities. Through the 2018 midterms, we implore voting for individuals that are willing to work in this service capacity. The way we see it, the end goal of the midterms is to make Minnesota better than it currently stands.

We believe Tim Walz is the best candidate to uphold the positive progression that Minnesota is headed toward, while remaining introspective and critical of policy areas where the state has previously fallen short. Walz is currently serving Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District, which encompasses the southern portion of the state, including Rochester, Mankato and Winona. After teaching briefly in the U.S, he traveled to China to continue his teaching career, eventually enlisting in the United States Army National Guard. After serving for 24 years, Walz retired and resumed teaching at Mankato West High School.

We believe, first and foremost, that Walz’s ability to reach across the aisle and engage in bipartisan reform sets him apart. Congressional District 1 overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and was represented by a Republican for over a decade before Walz won the 2006 midterm. We believe Walz’s time representing such a diverse population, while turning out bipartisan legislation, displays his unique ability to bring people together. We believe this is what Minnesota needs in a governor.

Congressman Walz’s passion for immigrant issues is apparent. He understands that Minnesota’s immigrant community is an integral part of what makes our home such an inclusive and unique place. Exploring pathways to citizenship, expanding cultural competency training for law enforcement, and restoring faith in the justice system are some of the initiatives that set Walz apart. We believe he’s the most well-rounded candidate on every issue that he was questioned on. His experience representing large cities and rural areas in the 1st District proved his ability to address housing, policing, and immigration problems. Additionally, his plan to use Minnesota’s bonding bills to stimulate jobs and provide much needed infrastructure, as well as accessible internet to rural Minnesota, is much needed.

Jeff Johnson is the Republican gubernatorial candidate. Johnson practiced law in Chicago and Minneapolis for a number of years before starting his own company, Midwest Employment Resources, which offered employment law and human resources services to companies across the country. Johnson successfully ran for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 34B in 2000 and District 43A in 2002. He’s been serving as Hennepin County Commissioner since 2009.

Johnson stood out when speaking about University of Minnesota issues. He rose above his opponent with his plans to hold the University accountable for its spending and transparency around spending. We also applaud his clear articulation about the need to look at higher education to determine how it can better work for students — instead of perpetuating the current system in use. He believes that when it comes to federal funding, the government should be working for the students rather than the University. We agree with his belief in giving students and their families financial control. Redistributing this balance in government-issued loans and education funding is a stance that students could align themselves with. Johnson also had strong points in mental health related issues. He believes the issues we have within our communities surrounding policing correlate with mental health. By improving the state of mental health through decreasing the stigma, Johnson believes that police and community relations would see a positive change.

Overall we believe that Walz’s experience in Congress, track record of bipartisan policy reform and policy positions in key state and local issues make him the best candidate for Governor of Minnesota. His policies regarding immigration, policing reform and housing were the most well-rounded. In the end, Walz’s belief that Minnesota needs to come together as one is a concept that Minnesotans should rally around, especially in such a polarizing and volatile political and social climate. Walz has the ability to accomplish this and is our endorsement for Governor of Minnesota on Nov. 6.