MN House District 6A candidates share views on emergency powers

Updated: October 21, 2020 06:17 PM

Julie Sandstede and Rob Farnsworth agree: COVID-19 overshadows all other issues. 

The two are running for District 6A in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Sandstede is the incumbent. She represents parts of Itasca and St. Louis counties, including Hibbing. 

Farnsworth said he feels Gov. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) has mishandled the pandemic. He does not support the extension of Walz's emergency powers. 

"We have separate branches of government for a reason. And I think the governor should include the legislature rather than making decisions with just him and his friends," Farnsworth said. 

In the last special session, the Minnesota House voted against overturning the rules to even take up discussion about the emergency powers, meaning the powers were extended another month. Sandstede voted against many members of her party, wanting to open the floor for discussion. 

"When the rules were put in place for emergency powers, I don't think a pandemic was in an understanding of people's reality when those laws were being established," Sandstede said. "So I do think it's time that we come back and have a robust conversation and decide is this working, is this not working, is there a better process that we should be using?"

She said she decided to run for re-election because the work is not done. She wants to build out broadband to attract telecommuters to move north. 

"We saw just a tremendous investment with Cliffs when they purchased Arcelor, and I think that there's an opportunity with the Essar site, the Nashwauk site, to do some work there to bring some jobs in," she said. "But we really need to be diversifying, we need to be inviting people. And it isn't going to be big companies all the time. It could be smaller businesses." 

Farnsworth also wants to draw people north and said he's running to make the Iron Range more livable so that his kids and future generations have the opportunity to stay. 

"We need more housing stock. The inventory's very low. We need better Internet. And we need more entertainment: shopping and dining options up here to actually attract people to come up here, people who work from home, that can work from home," he said. 

Both say they are committed to the Iron Range. 

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