MN House and Senate races

As the 2020 election draws near, we sent out candidate surveys to better understand how our Central MN candidates hope to represent us. Because we are interested in building communities that emphasizes our shared sense of safety in hopes to decrease fear and suspicion of those who are different from us, we focused our questions on these issues. We will share the responses from all candidates who were gracious enough to share their vision for our communities. We hope the information helps you find candidates who will represent you in elected office.

This blog explores the MN House races in Districts 13A, 13B, 14A, and 14B, as well as the Senate races in Districts 13 and 14.

Representative, 14A

Tamara ‘Tami’ Calhoun

What 3 words best describe how you would serve your constituents? 

Listen, Research, Do

If elected, what would be your top priority while in office? 

Education – birth to Higher Ed, including job training

Do you support the #BlackLivesMatter movement for racial justice in our country?

 Yes

Do you believe that all people should be able to practice their religion freely and without discrimination in America? 

Yes

Do you believe in full rights and freedom for our LGBTQ+ neighbors?

Yes

Do you believe that businesses should be able to discriminate (both in hiring and in whom they serve) based on sexual orientation? 

No

Do you support the mask mandate to slow the spread of COVID-19?

Yes

Do you believe that climate change is real?

Yes

What would you do if you heard a friend or family member disparaging someone based on their religion, ethnicity, skin color, or sexual orientation?

I would ask why they think that? What data or proof do they have? Would they be interested in meeting or building a relationship with said person?

If elected, how do you plan to build empathetic connections with your constituents?

I invite them to have a conversation with me. I meet where they want to meet. I listen. We plan a policy course change together.

If elected, how will you help your constituents feel a greater sense of safety and hope in their community?

I continue to work on the St. Cloud Community Policing Agreement and the Stearns County Community Sheriff’s Agreement. I will continue to invite more partners to be at the table with the discussions and decisions.

If elected, how will you help diverse neighbors decrease their fear and suspicion of one another?

Invite people to talk and listen to one another. Invite people to build relationships. Encourage people to join with groups such as Unite Cloud and Dine and Dialogue.

If elected, what are your plans to address poverty and the widening income gap and income disparities? 

Change the narrative from ‘cut taxes’ to invest in MN, invest in the St. Cloud area, invest in people. Seriously look at corporate welfare.

Anything else you would like to add?

Progress is being made in the community in terms of community building. Excitement the morning of 9/26 at the Sen. Tina Smith conversation; leaders from our African American, Latino and Somali communities stood in a small group conversation making plans to come together, sit down, talk, listen and build power together.

Tama Theis

Candidate Tama Theis did not fill out the survey. She also did not communicate with us at all.

 

To learn more about the candidates, view the links to local media below:

Election 2020: Theis, Calhoun in House District 14A

https://wjon.com/election-2020-theis-calhoun-in-house-district-14a/

 

Representative, 14B

Dan Wolgamott

What 3 words best describe how you would serve your constituents? 

Accountability, Collaboration, Results

If elected, what would be your top priority while in office? 

Coronavirus Pandemic

Do you support the #BlackLivesMatter movement for racial justice in our country?

 Yes

Do you believe that all people should be able to practice their religion freely and without discrimination in America? 

Yes

Do you believe in full rights and freedom for our LGBTQ+ neighbors?

Yes

Do you believe that businesses should be able to discriminate (both in hiring and in whom they serve) based on sexual orientation? 

No

Do you support the mask mandate to slow the spread of COVID-19?

Yes

Do you believe that climate change is real?

Yes

What would you do if you heard a friend or family member disparaging someone based on their religion, ethnicity, skin color, or sexual orientation?

Explain why that is unacceptable

If elected, how do you plan to build empathetic connections with your constituents?

Being accessible, listening, and meeting people where they’re at

If elected, how will you help your constituents feel a greater sense of safety and hope in their community?

Partner with law enforcement, health care providers, and other community groups to ensure that everyone in our community, no matter where you live or what you look like, is safe in our community.

If elected, how will you help diverse neighbors decrease their fear and suspicion of one another?

Genuine, difficult, and accountable conversations

If elected, what are your plans to address poverty and the widening income gap and income disparities? 

Increase the minimum wage, increase access to healthcare and higher education opportunities

 

Paul Brandmire

Candidate Paul Brandmire did not fill out the survey. She also did not communicate with us at all.

 

To learn more about the candidates, view the links to local media below:

Election 2020: Wolgamott, Brandmire in House District 14B

https://wjon.com/election-2020-wolgamott-brandmire-in-house-district-14b/

 

Representative, 13A

Katy Westlund

Katy did not submit the survey questions using the tool provided. Instead, she sent them in her own format in the email below:

If elected, what would be your top priority while in Office?

Securing hope for our families, our farmers, and our small businesses.

What 3 words best describe how you would serve your constituents?

I will serve with a moral backbone, solidarity, and strength.

My Neighbors and My Values

Do you support the #BlackLivesMatter movement for racial justice in our country?

Every Minnesotan has the right to feel safe at home in their community.  Every Minnesotan should have access to equality in education, housing, employment, and safety.  With Latino/Asian/European descent, I will not be silent in racist policies that harm our community members.  I will stand up for an equitable policy that will reduce disparities and support inclusion by listening to and working with those who have been historically left out and unheard.  Black lives are human lives and that they matter.  Those of you who do not understand why I say #BlackLivesMatter and then counter with “All Lives Matter” consider how it is not “all” lives that are in danger.  #BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives. (via https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/ )

Do you believe that all people should be able to practice their religion freely and without discrimination in America?

Yes

What would you do if you heard a friend or family member disparaging someone based on their religion, ethnicity, skin color, or sexual orientation?

When there is injustice in our midst, ignorance, or hate coming from someone (whether it be a loved one or someone we do not know), I speak up and speak out.  Silence is complacency.

Do you believe in full rights and freedom for our LGBTQ+ neighbors?

Yes

Do you believe that businesses should be able to discriminate (both in hiring and in whom they serve) based on sexual orientation?

Businesses should NOT be able to discriminate (both in hiring and in whom they serve) based on sexual orientation.

Do you support the mask mandate to slow the spread of COVID-19?

I support the mask mandate. It is a moral and right thing to protect our most vulnerable Minnesotan neighbors.  I do not support a complete state shutdown.

Do you believe that climate change is real?

Yes

If I am elected….

If elected, how do you plan to build empathetic connections with your constituents?

I will build empathetic connections by listening, creating actionable steps towards securing hope for all our communities.

If elected, how will you help your constituents feel a greater sense of safety and hope in their community?

I will ask questions, listen, and bridge gaps.  Working with and bringing in people.  

If elected, how will you help diverse neighbors decrease their fear and suspicion of one another?

Breaking bread together is an important strategy.  Having open discussions, listening, learning, and reaching for inclusion, equity, and justice together as a community is necessary.

  If elected, what are your plans to address poverty and the widening income gap and income disparities?

Senator Paul Wellstone said it best: “We all do better, when we all do better.”  We must address the income gap and income disparities from all aspects of life. Creating equity and taking on systemic injustice.

Anything else you would like to add?

Please visit www.KatyWestlund.com

 

Lisa Demuth

Candidate Lisa Demuth did not fill out the survey. She also did not communicate with us at all.

 

To learn more about the candidates, view the link to local media below:

Election 2020: Demuth, Westlund in House District 13A

https://wjon.com/election-2020-demuth-westlund-in-house-district-13a/

 

Representative, 13B

Tim O’Driscoll and Benjamin Carollo

Neither candidate filled out our survey. They also did not communicate with us at all.

 

To learn more about the candidates, view the link to local media below:

Election 2020: O’Driscoll, Carollo in House District 13B

https://wjon.com/election-2020-odriscoll-carollo-in-house-district-13b/

 

Senator, District 13

Jeff Howe and Michelle Willemsen

Neither candidate filled out our survey. They also did not communicate with us at all.

 

To learn more about the candidates, view the link to local media below:

Election 2020: Howe, Willemsen in Senate District 13

https://wjon.com/election-2020-howe-willemsen-in-senate-district-13/

 

Senator, District 14

Aric Putnam and Jerry Relph

Neither candidate filled out our survey. They also did not communicate with us at all.

 

To learn more about the candidates, view the link to local media below:

Election 2020: Relph, Putnam in Senate District 14

https://wjon.com/election-2020-relph-putnam-in-senate-district-14/

 

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