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

2022 State Legislature Primary Election: Surplus

Thanks to Clothesline Laundromat and Dakota County for their support.

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

Minnesota has the only divided legislature in the nation and it resulted in legislation not moving forward by the deadline, including an unspent $9 billion surplus. How do you think that surplus should be used? Moving forward, how will you work across the aisle to ensure vital legislation can pass?

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)

The surplus should be reinvested in our communities. When we demand responsible government, we are told the budget just isn’t there. Our education system is underfunded, Minnesota’s children are still suffering from homelessness and hunger, and our water infrastructure is past its expiration date; yet, it is apparent that we have the resources for Minnesota to lead the nation in education, public infrastructure, and creating ladders of opportunity.

While we are working to win a governing majority that is accountable to communities, I will bring with me new perspectives and voices that aren’t adequately represented in our state governmental conversations and debates: voices of communities of color, immigrants, and working families.

Candidates for State Senate District 65

Zuki Ellis

(campaign site)

[No response]

Sheigh Freeberg

(campaign site)

The surplus should first be used to fully fund our schools. It isn’t a surplus when public institutions are lacking the resources to function. We should also use a portion of this to designate grants for affordable housing that the county and city can use. The private developers are refusing to build, so let’s use community funding to do it ourselves. 

Sandy Pappas

(campaign site)

I supported the compromise deal with the Republicans that would have allocated $4
billion in tax cuts at all income levels but especially eliminating taxes on social security,
expansion of renters’ credit & childcare tax credit, increase in Local Government Aid,
new state aid for soil & water conservation districts; additional investments in our
schools, especially funding the special education cross subsidy; taking care of our
nursing homes so they don’t close; better wages for PCAs who care for our disabled
folks; and passing a robust bonding bill to address the infrastructure needs across the

I have been able to pass many bi-partisan bills in the past but I think now the parties are
very polarized and Republicans, in particular, don’t seem to want to work across the
aisle. After all, it is they that are unwilling to go back into special session and finish the
work. The best way to get vital legislation passed is to elect a DFL majority in the
Senate, keep the DFL majority in the House, and keep a democratic governor.

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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