House District 4A is an open seat. DFL incumbent, Frank Moe, is not seeking a third term. The district includes parts of Beltrami, northern Cass, and western Itasca counties, including Bemidji, Cass Lake, Remer, and Deer River.
DFL John Persell
Republican John Carlson
Independence Sharatin Blake
Report on 4A race: Bemidji Pioneer article
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District 4B includes southern Cass County, half of Hubbard County and the northern part of Crow Wing County. Cities in the district include Akeley, Pillager, Longville, Walker, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore, Breezy Point and Cuyuna.
Republican incumbent, Larry Howes from Walker, is seeking his sixth term. He's opposed by DFLer Meg Bye from Pequot Lakes.
Republican Larry Howes
DFLer Meg Bye
Brainerd Dispatch article by Renee Richardson
Meg Bye, DFL candidate from rural Pequot Lakes, is challenging incumbent Larry Howes, Republican from Walker, for the District 4B seat in the Minnesota House. Howes, who was first elected in 1998, is seeking his sixth term. Bye, a former mathematics teacher, is a 12-year veteran of the Duluth City Council.
Looking at a predicted state deficit of $1 billion to $2 billion, candidates were asked what they would list as a priority and what they would cut. Howes said the state has to do what families do - live within its means. With today's financial uncertainty, Howes said: "This is simply not the time to raise taxes." Bye said to be fair people with incomes more than $400,000 should pay an additional one percent in taxes.
Bye and Howes differed on support of the JOBZone program, with tax breaks to attract businesses to specific locations. Bye said the program was a gimmick and was more about moving jobs around the state than increasing the economic base. Howes said the JOBZone program was not a gimmick and he said the biggest reason for job loss in the region coming from cuts in the forest industry and from the housing market.
Both Bye and Howes support the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment on the ballot this Nov. 4.
In regard to K-12 school funding, Howes said getting school levies off the property taxes would create a better economic system and he is impressed with plans coming forward. Bye said school funding should come through the state and not property taxes.
"We should stop pretending we can have good schools and not pay for them," Bye said.
Regarding a statewide single-payer universal health system, Bye said one was needed and people are ahead of the politicians on this issue. Howes said he somewhat supports a single-payer policy but not a universal one, saying health management systems have been the biggest curses for health care in the state. Bye agreed HMOs haven't worked and said health care needs to get away from being a commodity.
Candidates may have been the most animated when they asked questions of each other. Bye asked Howes why he voted against an energy bill that favored items like solar panels. Howes suggested it was a "gotcha" moment and he didn't remember the specifics of a particular bill. Bye said Howes voted against ever improvement to the energy policy. Howes countered asking Bye about her tax increase and questioned how that would affect small business. Bye said she didn't think many people in the district would be affected.
Bemidji Pioneer profile of House 4B race
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District 12A includes most of Crow Wing County including Brainerd, Baxter and Crosby. DFL incumbent John Ward is opposed by Republican, David Allan Pundt.
David Allan Pundt
Brainerd Dispatch article by Matt Erickson
Ward, Pundt weigh in on issues facing Legislature
CAMPAIGN 2008 DEBATES
By MATT ERICKSON
When the Legislature convenes in 2009, whoever is representing Minnesota House District 12A will have a lot of work to do.
A $1-$2 billion state deficit, education funding reform and health care reform are just the tip of the iceberg of issues facing candidates Republican David Allan Pundt of Baxter and Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd.
On Thursday, the two used a debate sponsored by Lakeland Television as a job interview of sorts, and both offered their ideas on what they would do in St. Paul.
On the deficit, Pundt suggested cutting legislators per diems, overhauling the state's welfare system concerning travel and requiring every state department to start each year with a zero based budget.
"As far as any other cuts, they're all on the table," Pundt said.
Ward agreed with all possible cuts being considered. He said reforming health care may add additional revenue and advocated a study of the state's tax system.
On education, Ward noted the writer's of Minnesota's constitution stipulated education must be adequately provided for, while Minnesota currently is 20 percent behind in its funding formula.
"We have to have funding in Minnesota that's fair, adequate, equitable and timely," Ward said.
Pundt said the state is using a 1940s system for 21st century students. He proposed merit pay for teachers and students going to school for more days of the year, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., five days a week.
"Let them treat it like the job it is," Pundt said.
On health care, Pundt said state mandates should be reduced and competition encouraged. Ward said costs could be cut by up to 80 percent through health programs.
"Health care should be right for all, not just the few, the rich, whomever," Ward said. "We need a health care system that's universal, comprehensive (and) affordable ..."The two issues most separating the two candidates Thursday were the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Dedicated Funding Amendment voters will decide on the Nov. 4 ballot and the possibility of raising minimum wage.
Ward was in favor of both issues, Pundt was against.
On the amendment, Ward said he was supportive of it because it gave people the choice to decide. He said the environment was critical to District 12A and needed to be preserved to pass on to future generations.
While not against clean water, air or restoring habitat, Pundt said he was against the amendment because dedicated funding for 25 years. He said things should be done with recurrent money.
On raising the state's minimum wage, Pundt said he was opposed because it would force businesses to raise prices or cut employees.
Ward said he was in favor of raising it to meet the federal minimum wage standard.
"It would put people closer to an actual living wage," Ward said.
In a twist from most debates, Pundt and Ward were able to ask each other one question.
Ward asked Pundt what he would do if the Republican party leaders demanded he vote the party line. Ward referenced last session's vote on a transportation bill in which six Republicans voted with Democrats and were punished by their party. Pundt responded that he would vote according to his conscience and constituents wishes.
Pundt asked Ward how he could say he was a pro-life candidate when he voted to elect pro-choice Rep. Margaret Kelliher as Speaker of the House. Ward defended his pro-life declaration, saying he's been so since he was a child and will remain so to the grave.
Dreaming Life Cereal
11 months ago