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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, and working across the aisle, and the partisan divide. This time we’re asking about state funding.
The state didn’t contribute its fair share during the Robert Street reconstruction. What will you do to ensure West St. Paul gets its fair share of state funding?
Here are the candidates’ responses:
Candidates for House District 53A
Mary Frances Clardy
To ensure that West St. Paul gets its fair share of state funding during the Robert Street reconstruction I would employ a simultaneous inside/outside strategy. Meaning, I would work to build a coalition of support within the House chamber. I would reach out to my colleagues and begin to educate them concerning the equities concerning the allocation of funds and build a coalition of support internally. At the same time I would call on constituents to rally together to create external pressure on legislators to support our position by calling and emailing legislators, showing up for committee hearings and when the bill is on the floor. I would augment this effort by using various social media channels both to educate and influence my colleagues.
I would listen to the people and the political people and advocate for West St Paul to get its fair share.
This solution is dependent on November 8 election results, legislative leadership elections, and committee assignments of course but my focus would be to use the power of my House seat/committee assignments to cut deals for Robert Street/WSP infrastructure – to prepared for serving in the House I reached out to every elected city government official in WSP and the entire district. I also talked with the South Robert Street Business Association, Dakota County Regional Chamber, and the River Heights Chamber to educate me for the 2023 legislative session.
Candidates for Senate District 53
I will continue to work on bonding projects for our district, as well as expansion of local government aid to reflect need, and transportation funding for our thoroughfares.
I would commit to working with the stakeholders on the reconstruction and help navigate multi-agency problem that would need to be addressed through MNDOT and DEED and potentially others.
Candidates for House District 65B
Kevin Fjelsted did not respond to our questionnaire.
I am in full support of legislative investment in the Robert Street corridor and have been uplifting Representative Rick Hansen’s ongoing advocacy for state funding. More broadly, I pledge to continue to push for resources for local infrastructure when elected, especially infrastructure that has district-wide impacts on creative economy and healthy, liveable communities; I also look forward to working with the rest of West Saint Paul’s expanded legislative delegation to ensure a strong, unified voice at the Capitol.
Candidates for Senate District 65
Paul Holmgren did not respond to our questionnaire.
The state funding cannot be used for past projects so the best plan is to look at future projects for the betterment of West St Paul that the state can legally fund. I am willing to work hard to make sure that happens.
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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