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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 top priorities, representing West St. Paul, the budget surplus, state funding, and the partisan divide. This time we’re asking about cooperation.
Vital legislation stalled during the last session thanks to a divided legislature. Moving forward, how will you work across the aisle to ensure such legislation can pass?
Here are the candidates’ responses:
Candidates for House District 53A
Mary Frances Clardy
From day one I will begin by getting to know my fellow legislators. Often time the power of personal relationships are underestimated. In this day and age people are quick to make assumptions about individuals based on party affiliations. However, these assumptions are seldom valid.
By taking the time to get to know someone, you learn how to communicate with each other and how to build trust. Even if you ultimately disagree being able to know that you have established a mode of communication where both parties feel as if they are heard can often be the “difference that makes a difference” in being able to achieve a compromise.
Yes, being that I am running as a member of the Legal Marijuana Now Party and being of a Libertarian mind, I would have to work with Republicans and Democrats.
For 10 years I was a non-partisan, business, public affairs consultant in Minnesota and 7 other states. In general the partisan labeling never happened so I easily collaborated with Democrats, Republicans, and even a Libertarian Party candidate elected in Montana. My career experience is dominated by building coalitions for clients so WSP residents should know that is what I would do for them in St. Paul. I will not retreat to some party/tribal cave refusing to talk with my 200 legislative colleagues. I will be in St. Paul to take action, not to be a seat warmer!!
Candidates for Senate District 53
I’ve developed strong relationships across the aisle in the senate. I believe it is possible to advocate with clarity for the values of our community, while still finding realistic bipartisan solutions that can be passed in to law. I served on the conference committee for reinsurance last session, a bill which passed in to law with bipartisan support and which has lowered health care insurance premiums for Minnesotans. While I would prefer a more transformative solution to health care in our state, I’m satisfied that this was the right thing to do in the moment.
If I have had the opportunity to meet you, you’ll understand that I am a man who wants to work with everyone to find the best solution possible. United we stand, divided we fall.
Candidates for House District 65B
Kevin Fjelsted did not respond to our questionnaire.
We are showing up in movement across the state to win an actionable governing majority that is accountable to communities. Such a majority requires concerned residents to activate the vote on November 8, to volunteer hours door-knocking and phone-banking, and to make financial contributions to campaigns and organizations that are actively listening to the people. I also see a greater need for ongoing community voice at the legislature, which became apparent in my work advocating for the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act. Our campaign is bringing with us 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 Senate District 65
Paul Holmgren did not respond to our questionnaire.
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 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.
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