Candidates running for state legislative seats to represent West St. Paul.

2022 State Legislature Primary Election: Top Priorities

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There’s a Democratic primary race for the state House and Senate seats representing the northern half of West St. Paul. Three candidates are running for Senate District 65 and two candidates are running for House District 65B (newly redrawn with this year’s redistricting). The winner in each race will advance to the general election in November. We’ve asked the candidates a series of questions to see where they stand on the issues. We’ll share one question and the responses at a time leading up to the primary election on August 9. See our 2022 primary voter’s guide for more.

We’ve also asked about the budget surplus and divided government, representing West St. Paul, and Democratic politics. This time we’re asking about the candidates’ top issues. There’s also a series of yes/no questions about basic political positions in our printable voter’s guide.

What are your two to three top priorities as a state representative/senator and how will you address those issues? What made you decide to focus on those issues in particular?

We posed this question to all candidates. Here are their responses:

Candidates for State House District 65

Anna Botz

(campaign site)

[No response]

María Isa

(campaign site)

Our top priority is community-centered leadership, because every issue is braided with the need for authentic community representation. Our education system will not see all students learn without educators with reflective experiences and curriculum that connects with our children and families of color. Our healthcare system will only provide the best outcomes when doctors, nurses, and practices are reflective of the communities served. And we will not end the crisis of homelessness and gentrification without empowering the voices of renters and ensuring that new developments can fully integrate into existing neighborhoods.

We will continue to build on existing leadership across these areas of public policy by bringing with us a new wave of voices into the Capitol, as we have in political and community spaces throughout our campaign.

Candidates for State Senate District 65

Zuki Ellis

(campaign site)

[No response]

Sheigh Freeberg

(campaign site)

My top three issues are affordable housing, fully funding education, and universal healthcare in Minnesota. The first is because we are facing an affordable housing crisis in Saint Paul. 30,000 people voted together for rent stabilization last year because so many of them are making the choice between keeping up on rent or buying groceries. I seek to address the housing crisis by designating grants going towards community built homes, not corporate developers. I also want to work on zoning laws to make it easier for accessible dwelling units to be turned into homes.

Second, over the last year we have started to see half a dozen schools close that mostly service BIPOC communities. When the school board says these are closed for “efficiency” we know the real problem is a lack of leadership allocating the funds towards schools. Our kids cannot be left behind when surplus opportunities arise that could help fund schools.

Third is healthcare. As an individual with an autoimmune disorder, my insurance literally keeps me alive every month. 10,000 people in SD65 still lack health insurance and many more are underinsured due to the cost. We need to adopt Jon Marty’s Healthcare for All bill to make sure we are helping our neighbors get the treatment they deserve without bankrupting their households.

Other issues that need to be addressed are expanding rights for workers to organize a union to balance power in the workplace and protection and access to reproductive healthcare for our neighbors. 

Sandy Pappas

(campaign site)

Passing a robust Capitol Investment bill (bonding) that supports the essential infrastructure needs of our state and our communities: clean water, transit, roads, parks, affordable housing.

Paid sick and safe time for all workers. During covid, we’ve seen how important this is as well as paid family & medical leave.

A pension plan for low wage workers. I’ve been serving on the pension commission for the past 15 years—so I understand how important it is for workers to have pension security after retirement.

Vote on August 9

The primary election is on Tuesday, August 9. Learn more about where and how to vote. You can also vote early with an absentee ballot, either by mail or by stopping at the Dakota County offices.

See our 2022 primary voter’s guide for more on the candidates and other races.

Thank you to the candidates for taking the time to respond to our questions.

Support West St. Paul Reader to ensure local election coverage can continue.

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