Senate, House Candidates Debate in Duluth Forum
Posted at: 09/20/2012 11:18 PM
By: Dayna Landgrebe
November elections are less than two months away, and candidates in several local races tried to give a clearer picture of what they stand for during a forum on Thursday night.
The forum was held by the Duluth's League of Women Voters at the College of St. Scholastica. Candidates in four different, local senate and house races weighed in.
Candidates answered a variety of questions, including their views on the upcoming constitutional amendment, which could possibly require citizens to have identification to vote. Senator Tom Bakk of Cook represents District 3 and said, for starters, the amendment would disenfranchise the elderly.
He said that of all the residents he spoke to at a nursing home in Cook, only one resident had a photo identification.
"That's what our nursing homes across the state look like. And it's downright shameful if those people are capable of following current events and want to vote, and they're were going to disenfranchise them. That's shameful," Bakk said.
Bakk also said the amendment has problems for absentee voters, and for college students whose drivers licenses show their parent's home address, but don't reflect their current, on-campus address.
However, his Republican challenger, Jennifer Havlick, said that she absolutely supports the amendment. Havlick said protecting our election process is pivotal in this country, and she said she's got faith in the next legislature to find the answers.
"I think that all the suggestions here... with the exception of my opponent who doesn't want it...I think we can do it. I think it's important that we do it. I think that any voter fraud is unacceptable. And I'm just going to leave it at that because I think we can work out the details. I think we're all smart and adults enough to do that," Havlick said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) gave a few statements about his accomplishments during his first term. His opponent, Tyler Verry, didn't participate in the forum.
Reinert said he's proud of the work he's done, which includes efforts against the synthetic drug problem in Duluth, and work this summer on a special session to guarantee flood relief monies for Duluth flood victims. But he said there's still work he'd like to tackle on the state, especially in areas of the budget.
"I think the most important issue coming ahead in the next legislative session is balanced budget. A budget that's balanced for years, not just months. And a budget that's balanced based on priorities. But it's going to require real honest conversations by us Minnesotans about what we want and how we're going to pay for it," Reinert said.
Other candidates in attendance included Rep. Mary Murphy (DFL-Hermantown) and Republican challenger Keith MacDonald in the race for House Dist. 3B, along with Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth) and Republican challenger Theresa Bower in the race by House Dist. 7A.
Eyewitness News will continue coverage of these additional races and this forum on Friday during Eyewitness News at Five, Six and Ten.