Brainerd Hosts 8th Congressional District Democratic Debate
The Minnesota Primaries are less than a month away, and today marked the first debate among democratic candidates for Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District seat.
Five Democratic Candidates for Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District seat piled into Chalberg Theater at Central Lakes College in Brainerd for the first debate in the primary season. The race for the seat is considered a toss-up, and with Trump winning the district in the presidential race, Democrats fear the house seat could also turn red this election season. Before the debate, each candidate had a different issue that they were most passionate about.
“I think we need a fundamental restructuring of our economy, and I believe that that can happen with political will and working across the isles,” Kirsten Hagen Kennedy, Mayor of North Branch, said. “I think our first step is to reverse the one trillion in tax breaks we just gave.”
“If we can bring broadband and high speed internet throughout the rural areas of not just the Eighth District, but throughout this country, we will help to stimulate the economy by creating small businesses,” former television news anchor Michelle Lee said. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy.”
“Reversing climate change is my number one issue,” Soren Christian Sorensen, a former Campaign Manager, said. “We really have to address the fact that our climate is changing rapidly, that we are seeing warming in a lot of our local lakes. If you grew up as I did spending your summers on lakes in Northern Minnesota fishing for walleye or a current mix of sport fish, that’s going to change.”
“I think what we need to do is find a way to make sure that more of our health care dollars are devoted to care,” Joe Radinovich, a former State Representative, said. “Right now too many dollars are devoted to administration, CEO bonuses, lobbyists, and advertising”
“I think what we have heard from the district collectively is that families can’t keep up with the rising cost of health care,” State Representative Jason Metsa said. “We had a woman in Baxter who said, “people in this community are rationing their insulin medication” – that’s just wrong.”
The Supreme Court recently ruled against American unions in the Janus v. AFSCME case, and the candidates were asked how that will affect the future of unions.
“It’s time we make collective bargaining the law of the land,” Metsa said. “When our country’s middle class was strongest, union membership was at its highest percentage.”
“What I’m hoping this represents is a renaissance in the union movement in this country,” Radinovich said. “That we fight back, and we fight back harder than we ever have because our future depends on it. Our middle class was a lot stronger when we had a lot higher union membership in this country.”
“We need to go after the Kochs, we need to think about boycotting their products,” Sorensen said. “We need to figure out who’s behind these attacks and make their pocketbooks pay, and to take the fight to the streets again.”
“Let me say, number one, “Right to Work” is wrong for Minnesota,” Lee said. “I will be an ally for unions because I know unions have given us that forty hour work week, they’ve given us our weekends off.”
“We can’t go back and change this decision, but what we can do is make sure that the judges appointed to the highest courts believe in people,” Kennedy said.
The candidates shared the same stances on a lot of issues since they were all members of the Democratic party, but the public got a sense of who the candidates were, and how they plan on making a difference in Washington.
Primary election day in Minnesota is set for Tuesday August 14th.