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Candidate Responses

Candidate Responses

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Published by Al McFarlane

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Published by: Al McFarlane on Nov 01, 2010
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Measuring candidatesby our interests
McFarlane Ford
January 25, 2010
n an effort to motivate greaternumbers of Insight News readerstoward caucus attendance, andinformed and earlyparticipation inthe political process, Insight Newsinvited all gubernatorial candidatescompeting for DFL endorsement torespond to 10 questions whichfocus on how they will address theconcerns of Minnesota’scommunities of color in theircampaigns and should they beelected governor.Here are the responses to all 10questions, listed in alphabeticalorder. At time of publication theMark Dayton and Susan Gaertnercampaigns had not responded tothe questionnaire.
e know, from years of research acrossour country, that disparities in income,education, health care and other issuesexist for people of color, and while it’s hard tosingle out just one issue, I believe thatimproving access to health care is an importantstep forward.Minnesota has prioritized improving outcomesin health care for people of color through theEliminating Health Disparities Initiative. Asgovernor, I will continue to focus on changes toour health care system that truly prioritize acommitment to quality of care for all peopleregardless of their income level or insurancecoverage. We have to make sure that in 2015,and 2020 and beyond, our state’s health caredelivery system will look very different.
How will you supportpartnerships and systemsintegration to eliminate theeducation Achievement Gap?
I am concerned that recent studies by theUniversity of Minnesota’s Institute on Race andPoverty show a dramatic increase in schoolsegregation in our region. As Governor I willcontinue to pursue a New Minnesota Miracle, acomprehensive education funding reformsystem that will provide stable, equitableinvestments to all schools in our state. The NewMinnesota Miracle will also fully fund the stateshare of kindergarten and special education.As governor, I also will direct the MetropolitanCouncil to work with the Department of Education to address issues of housing andracial isolation that will help to close theachievement gap.We know that a focus on early childhooddevelopment, from birth to five, help ourchildren succeed academically as they grow, andI am a strong believer in funding and improvingthose programs.I also think there are ways to work with schoolsto narrow the achievement gap, by looking atinitiatives that cultivate achievement in theirstudents who live in challenging socio-economic backgrounds.
What will you do to increasehiring and contracting ofpeople of color by Minnesotagovernment units?
I am very supportive of the HIRE Minnesotacoalition’s efforts to hold MN Department of Transportation (DOT) accountable for reachingFederal goals for hiring people of color. DOThas fallen far short of these goals, and this isespecially problematic with hundreds of millions of Recovery Act monies coming intothe state for new construction projects. I willensure that all state agencies live up to theircommitments and obligations for hiring peopleof color.
What will you do, throughpolicy and practice, to makebest use of public resourcesfor Justice and Public Safetysystem reform?
Everyone deserves to live in a safeneighborhood, and I support law enforcementefforts to provide that safety and security to allof Minnesota’s families. However, it’s importantto speak out against practices thatdisproportionally single out one group and toaddress any imbalance in the justice system. Asgovernor, I would take the initiative to reallylook at whether penalties are handed downfairly, and also look at ways to reach out toyouth to focus on crime prevention andeducation.
What are your keyimmigration relatedconcerns, and how will yougo about addressing them asgovernor? How will youensure that our systemssolutions meet the needs ofnew Americans?
I am concerned that immigration continues to beused as a wedge issue. We cannot allow oursociety to be divided where immigrants arefalsely blamed and demonized for a variety of issues, including our economic crisis. I willensure that immigrants’human rights areprotected, and that New American’s needs areaddressed particularly in education and highereducation opportunities
Please reflect on your keyconcerns regarding the rightsand responsibilities of tribalgovernments, and upon thedirections you will pursue inthis area as governor.
I have a history of working with tribalgovernments, and honor the relationships wehave with tribes across the state. As Governor, Iwill respect Tribal Sovereignty. As Speaker of the House, I have, for the last three years,offered an Indian Law 101 seminar to educatepolicymakers on interactions between tribal andstate government. I also believe we have tohonor the gaming compacts with our tribes.
How will you make certainthat the Central Corridor LRTproject serves and advancesthe needs of residents,businesses andneighborhoods in closestproximity to the line?
As Speaker, I worked hard during the 2008legislative session to organize a diversecoalition of people to successfully override thegovernor’s veto of a transportation bill. Not onlywas this bill one of the largest job-creating billsin decades, it also helped fund new transitprojects such as the Central Corridor Light RailTransit system.
How do you reflect on the general preponderance of disparateoutcomes for people of color in Minnesota? Are there any inparticular that are of special concern to you? What is yourplan to address them?
Margaret Anderson Kelliher
I support the efforts of neighborhood residentsinvolved in the Stops for Us Coalition to includestations at Western, Victoria, and HamlineAvenues. As governor, I will direct theMetropolitan Council to better engage withcommunities to ensure that future transitprojects meet the needs of local residents. I alsosupport Representative Champion’s legislationto compensate small businesses for lossesincurred during the construction process.
What is your plan to ensureinclusive staffing andappointments as governor, inkey positions and throughoutyour cabinet andadministration?
State government must reflect the diversity of Minnesota. People of color are underrepresentedin state government leadership and cabinetpositions. My administration will change thisreality, and will seek advice from and includepeople of color from throughout the state.As governor, I will continue to engage people inall communities of color, and work withpeople like Rep. Jeff Hayden who has beensuccessful in bringing people into the party andinto electoral politics.
How will you use yourcampaign as a tool forleadership development andlong-term capacity buildingin communities of color?
My professional background is in communityorganizing and because of that, I understand andplace a premium on leadership development.My record as a public official and ourcampaign’s message of building partnershipswith diverse coalitions says that we willprioritize empowering communities of color,and hold public institutions accountable forprotecting civil and human rights, access to jobs,transportation equity, and education.
Please describe your planand strategy to win the 2010Governor’s race
It’s really important to me that Minnesotansfrom all over the state, all communities, allwalks of life, and all backgrounds are involvedin my campaign for governor.From the very beginning of my campaign, I’vesought and received support from a variety of groups. I’ve been endorsed by the InternationalUnion of Operating Engineers Local 49, theInternational Brotherhood of Electrical Workers,the Minnesota Association of ProfessionalEmployees, the American Federation of State,County and Municipal Employees,womenwinning, and Emily’s List.We have mounted an aggressive fundraisingcampaign, and I am proud to have raised morethan $250,000 in the four and one-half monthssince I kicked off my campaign. I have hired agreat staff and consulting team to help guide methrough the process.I also am actively working to earn theendorsement of the Minnesota DFLparty, andhave assembled a strong team of field staff whoare helping me reach out to precinct caucusgoers and potential delegates across Minnesota.With DFLendorsement, I will set out across thestate and share my message of how to makeMinnesota work again.As the DFLendorsed candidate, I fully expect torun in a Primary against Mark Dayton and MattEntenza.Both have significant personal wealthand my campaign is prepared for the potential of a negative campaign.In midterm years, Minnesota’s Primaryelectorate is more female, much older, and hashigher levels of education than the GeneralElectorate.In 2006, the Primary voters were58% women, 53% were over 55 years of age,and 43% were college graduates.I believe mypersonal narrative, leadership style andaccomplishments will take on greaterimportance than the minor differences in policypositions between the candidates.Running tobe the first woman Governor of Minnesota maybe a key asset as well.I believe the biggest challenge in the generalelection will be the dynamics of the race ratherthan any particular candidate.Midterms aretypically referendums on the party in power.Job approval ratings of the Obamaadministration and Congressional Democratswill have an impact on the race for governor inMinnesota.Additionally, the RepublicanGubernatorial candidate will be able argue thatthe governor’s office is the only remainingcheck on total DFLdominance in the state.Finally, the Independence Party has proven itself to be a spoiler in close statewide elections.There are many qualities swing and independentvoters will look for when deciding whichcandidate to support.Among others, they willlook for strong leadership skills, experience inthe job, and personal integrity.I have all of those qualities and they are strengths in mycampaign.My biggest advantage in thiscampaign will be my ability to connect with andearn the trust of voters throughout Minnesota.I am the only candidate running for Governorwho has lived as much of my life in ruralMinnesota as I have in urban Minnesota.Mycampaign will take full advantage of a strongnarrative crafted around my personal biographythat underscores my experience, leadershipability, legislative accomplishments, and visionfor Minnesota’s future.
Tom Bakk
How do you reflect on the general preponderance of disparateoutcomes for people of color in Minnesota? Are there any inparticular that are of special concern to you? What is yourplan to address them?
believe strongly that with hard work anddetermination, everybody should have theopportunity to succeed, regardless of their race,ethnicity or national origin. I am troubled whenconfronted with statistics showing the disparateoutcomes we have for people of color in our state. Itis clear evidence that we are not, in fact, at a placewhere all people, regardless of race, ethnicity ornational origin, have an equal chance to succeed.Of particular concern to me are disparities ineducation and incarceration. I see these as closelylinked. I have built my campaign around a messageof “jobs, jobs, jobs.” When people are working andare able to provide for their families, it can easemany of the stresses that are linked to some social

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