10/16/2020 1:23:00 PM MN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - DISTRICT 32B
Katie Malchow (DFL) QUESTION #1 The word is the state roads and bridges are lagging in repairs, maintenance and that money for any new construction improvements is hard to come by. (ie: Hwy 8) Do you have any preference for a method to increase available funding, or do you feel there’s sufficient money and what’s needed is re-directing existing funds? Opinions on where these redirected monies could come from would be helpful. Safe roads, bridges, and trunk highways are easy to take for granted. All you need to do is drive on a bad one to recognize when the pavement turns smooth again. Ensuring safety, building infrastructure that provides jobs, reliable commute time, and encourages tourism are all compelling reasons to find dedicated funding for this vital infrastructure. There is a persuasive piece of legislation out there that would generate the necessary dollars through adding a gas tax to those purchasing fuel in Minnesota. The idea here is that if you’re using the road, you help pay for it through the cost of fuel. There are also proactive proposals on the county and city levels to expand local thoroughfares and improve District 32B for all. I’d encourage a hybrid proposal that utilizes a gas tax and leverages other funding streams to ensure the safe roads that we need, but that also opens the door for other creative options.
QUESTION #2 How would you describe your level of support for efforts aimed at reducing production of greenhouse gas in Minnesota? Chisago County is home to one of the largest solar installations in the US. Solar technology and other innovative solutions will ultimately reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, carbon emissions, while generating jobs and production tax revenue. All of this illustrates a win for our area, our economy, and the future of our communities.
Transportation is another significant source of carbon emissions that many of us experience as a long commute. Universal broadband internet could reduce or eliminate the need for lengthy commutes. Broadband internet is no longer a luxury - it’s a necessity for business, school, communication, and connection. When Minnesota is universally connected, we will absolutely see a reduction in carbon emissions simply because we won’t need to spend as many hours on the road. This is vital to economic growth, protecting our environment, and modern day communication.
QUESTION #3 Any ideas to jump start the state economy in the wake of what will hopefully be a diminishing virus situation when you take office in 2021? Our entire nation is reeling because of the effects of COVID-19. I’d like to highlight the inspired call to action in support of those who need it most. When our businesses were first forced to shut down, citizens rushed to purchase gift cards. When those same businesses were able to open up in a restricted way, folks rallied to support and patronize them. The Chisago County Government teamed up with local cities to allocate funding to businesses impacted by the virus. At the state level, aid has been given and resources allocated to ensure safety upon reopening. The attention on businesses must continue. As we learn more about COVID, our actions adjust and the assistance necessary changes. It is through a direct line to the businesses of this district that we will best be able to support and ensure survival. As the Chisago Lakes Chamber of Commerce Director, I have a unique view into the immediate and long term needs of the business community. We will not only survive this, but we will come through it better than ever because now our businesses know just how supportive their communities are.
Anne Neu (R) QUESTION #1 The word is the state roads and bridges are lagging in repairs, maintenance and that money for any new construction improvements is hard to come by (ie: Highway 8). Do you have any preference for a method to increase available funding, or do you feel there’s sufficient money and what’s needed is re-directing existing funds? Opinions on where these redirected monies could come from would be helpful. Our state will be looking at a significant budget deficit in the upcoming biennium – COVID-19 and the related shutdown truly crippled the budgets of families, businesses, and the taxes paid by them are what fund our state.
This should be a time when we, as a state, prioritize the basic functions of government – funding public safety, schools, protections for the most vulnerable in society, roads & bridge infrastructure -- and walk away from boondoggle financial projects like new or expanded light right projects that run empty. Our state government’s budget has exploded over the past two decades and it is time we take a long look at the proper role of government in our lives.
QUESTION #2 How would you describe your level of support for efforts aimed at reducing production of greenhouse gas in Minnesota? Minnesota and the United States as a nation need to have an all-of-the-above energy approach. We are entering an exciting new stage where renewable energy options are becoming more viable, but we must have safe, reliable, and affordable energy sources. No one wants to go through a Minnesota winter wondering if their heater will turn on or if their energy bill will jump hundreds of dollars unexpectedly. We have seen with rolling blackouts in California what happens when unrealistic mandates are put in place.
QUESTION #3 Any ideas to jump start the state economy in the wake of what will hopefully be a diminishing virus situation when you take office in 2021? We need to make sure our businesses and workers can safely resume working – this means giving guidance and trusting them to operate safely given our new realities. Our state government needs to recognize that one-size-fits-all mandates do not work for all communities across our diverse state. What is necessary and good for urban Minneapolis and St. Paul is not necessary or right for smaller communities.
We also must make sure businesses and workers do not need to fear for their safety from bad actors taking advantage of circumstances. We witnessed the violence, rioting, and looting in Minneapolis this summer that spread across our country. Small businesses were devastated and some may never recover or reopen – ever. As elected officials, we must let the good men and women in law enforcement know we have their backs in protecting our communities.