Governor Candidate Forum - Part 2

Crowd_at_Governor_Forum.jpgSix Republican candidates for MN Governor responded to several questions posed by the Minnesota business community at a forum hosted by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce on Friday, December 1. 

This article continues with a summary of the second half of the questions.

The candidates present at the forum were: 

Matt Dean, Minnesota State Representative (Dellwood). 

Keith Downey, former Chair of the MN GOP and former Minnesota State Representative (Edina). 

Jeff Johnson, Hennepin County Commissioner and former Minnesota State Representative (Plymouth)

David Osmek, Minnesota State Senator (Mound)

Phil Parrish, intelligence officer, Naval Reserve, and former principal of a school for students with emotional behavioral disorders in Austin, MN

Mary Giuliani Stephens, Mayor of Woodbury, MN

Question:  “Uniform Labor Standards” – there is a patchwork of rules and regulations at the local government level

Johnson:  I’m not a big fan of the pre-emption bill, except if it will avoid a negative impact across the state.

Osmek:  My concern is where local regulations affect businesses that work across jurisdictional lines, where local regulations impact businesses operating in other jurisdictions.

Parrish:  We need to get out of the way of businesses and leave them alone.

Dean:  Some of these labor laws are really exercises in raw power.  Where certain liberal agendas could not be implemented at the state level, they are being pushed at the local level.

Downey:  I am concerned with the precedent that would be set by pre-emption.  It may open up a can of worms.  Alternatively, small businesses may well leave these local jurisdictions.

Stephens:  I would work with state legislators for pre-emption to give businesses consistency and predictability.

Continue reading to see the candidates’ thoughts on help to outstate Minnesota, education, and water quality.

     Question:  “What would You do to Help Outstate Minnesota?

Osmek:  Reduce sales tax and improve infrastructure.

Parrish:  Improve broadband, improve education opportunities for all students.

Dean:   Be the governor for the whole state.  Address the issues of greater Minnesota, their specific issues.  Appoint people to government agencies that are not biased against outstate Minnesota’s interests.

Downey:  Approve pipelines and mines.  Reduce taxes.  Eliminate the “buffer law”.  Reflect an “abundance” philosophy rather than a “shortage” philosophy.

Stephens:  Promote safe communities, good schools, good jobs.

Johnson:  There is a lot of mistrust in outstate Minnesota.  I have experience in rural, suburban, and urban areas.

     Question:  “Education” – funding of pre-K to higher education

Parrish:  The formulas are unfair.  We need to treat all students the same, not based on where they live.

Dean:  I would look at the mandates from the federal government.  We need to stop bombarding kids with politics and social agendas.

Downey:  Schools in the urban core are failing their kids.  I support vouchers.  We need to take on Education Minnesota, who has been the agent of the social agenda in schools.

Stephens:  We need to restore more independence to our schools.  We need to require teacher performance, then reward great teachers.  We need to tackle the achievement gap.

Johnson:  Decisions must be based on what is best for the kids. All funding must follow the kids.  Parents should be free to decide what schools are best for their kids.

Osmek:  School districts should be incubators of change.  Now, the state thinks it knows better.  Higher education should focus on Minnesota students, not out of state or foreign students.

     Question: How Do We Keep Minnesota Waters Safe?

Dean:  I disagree with Gov. Dayton that we can’t have either good farms or good water.

Downey:  We all care about water.  A heavy-handed top down approach is the wrong way.  Make policy based on local water quality. Trust Minnesotans.

Stephens:  I question where the science is that supports 50’ set backs.  I also dislike mandates that come with no dollars attached to them.

Johnson:  There is arrogance in many of our state agencies today.  The Department of Nature Resources is a prime example.  People affected should be part of the decision process.

Osmek:  Gov. Dayton has gone around the legislature to impose rules and regulations.  I would not demonize farmers about water quality and give the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul a pass.  Don’t pick winners and losers.

Parrish:  I would respect people.  I would confront liberals and ask why they want to treat farmers like monsters.