Legislative candidates running to represent West St. Paul including Kevin Fjelsted, Maria Isa, Paul Holmgren, Matt Klein, Chris Rausch, Sandy Pappas, Mary Frances Clardy, Brent Jacobson, and Todd Kruse.

2022 State Legislature Election: Top Priorities

Thanks to West St. Paul Chiropractic and Cardinal Corner for their support.

This year’s election includes state legislature candidates for State House and State Senate to represent West St. Paul. Newly redrawn district boundaries divide West St. Paul in half, thanks to this year’s redistricting. The northern half of West St. Paul, roughly, is in District 65 and the southern half in District 53.

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 general election on November 8. See our 2022 voter’s guide for more.

Previously we asked about representing West St. Paul, the budget surplus, working across the aislestate funding, and the partisan divide. This time we’re asking about top priorities.

What are your two to three top priorities as a state senator/representative and how will you address those issues?

Here are the candidates’ responses:

Candidates for House District 53A

Mary Frances Clardy

(campaign site)

Education – The key to opportunity and prosperity in this country has always hinged upon access to a quality education. Accordingly, I will fight to ensure that every student in this state is able to obtain a public education that will prepare them to be technological literate in this evolving world. To that end, I will support measures that assure that teaching standards are equitable, eliminate disparities in funding, and fully fund schools.

Disabilities – I will support initiatives to ensure people with disabilities have access to home-and-community based services that allow them to live independent lives in their homes and communities.

Economic Opportunity – I will support legislation that ensures livable wages, paid sick and family leave and initiatives that strengthen small businesses because they are the economic engines of our community.

Brent Jacobson

(campaign site)

My top priorities would be ending the war on drugs and tobacco, ending the war on poverty, and letting people be free to manage their own lives.

Todd Kruse

(campaign site)

Inflation – sponsor legislation to exempt Social Security payments from state taxation.

Crime – leverage my volunteer experience to engage; service clubs, religious entities, youth sports, Scouts, etc. (all of civil society) to support the law and order community. Just hiring more police and adding more surveillance infrastructure won’t eliminate our challenges. We need every segment of our communities to get involved with their own, local solutions.

Education – our K-16 system consumes 39% of our state budget + federal dollars + local dollars + business grants + parent/student fundraising = the need for a cost-benefit analysis to determine how to better spend your tax dollars. Are employers finding it challenging to hire staff who can make proper change for customer transactions? Do voters know any students who had to take remedial education courses in college or via an employer? Given my work in employee training I have seen where clearly received “participation diplomas” versus actual academic/job skills.

Candidates for Senate District 53

Matt Klein

(campaign site)

I am committed to improving access to affordable, quality health care for every Minnesotan, and lowering the burden of health insurance costs on our employers. I will continue to offer legislation regulating pharmaceutical costs and punishing price gouging in the pharmaceutical industry; and advancing a public health insurance option for all Minnesotans.

I support using our generational surplus as an opportunity to lower property taxes and keep people in their homes, fully fund our schools and improve student:counselor ratios, build a green infrastructure to move toward a carbon zero state, and develop a highly professional law enforcement community which both ensures public safety and respects and uplifts every person in our state.

Chris Rausch

(campaign site)

Education, the economy, and public safety.

We have amazing teachers and staff that guide our children every day, but they are being held back by one size fits all policies and burdensome requirements. As parents, we need to be involved and included in our children’s’ education because learning take place in all facets of life.

Our families are all facing tougher times when it comes to the wallet. The increase in gas and groceries and other necessities are a direct results of government policies. My answer is to get our business decisions back in the hands of the business owners and get government out of the way.

We all deserve to feel safe with our families whether we are at a sporting events or movie theater or anywhere else in town. We need to support the men and women of law enforcement and ensure the justice system is prosecuting violent criminals to the full extent of the law.

Candidates for House District 65B

Kevin Fjelsted

(campaign site)

Kevin Fjelsted did not respond to our questionnaire.

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 crises 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 Senate District 65

Paul Holmgren

(campaign site)

Paul Holmgren did not respond to our questionnaire.

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 & those not able to get a plan through their employer. 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 November 8

The general election is on Tuesday, November 8. 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 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.

This local election coverage only happens thanks to the support of our members. Consider joining West St. Paul Reader to ensure local election coverage continues. Membership starts at just $3 per month.

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