Debate Night 2018 - MN House District 5A
That advises, the station on programming, and how well the station is meeting the expectations of the public it serves meetings. Of both the Board of Directors and the CAC are open to the public information. About these open meetings including dates times, and locations can be found on our website, lptv.org. In, the governance section, you, can also call 802, 9 - 0 9, - 2 for more information, regarding, Lakeland's, board and the CAC meetings. Lakeland. PBS, thanks, to George W Neilson foundation, for generously supporting, our building for the future campaign. Watch. The Lakeland news update sponsored, in part by cabinet corner one of northern Minnesota's largest cabinet, flooring and fireplace home stores featuring, our award-winning massive, cuisine Center more info on creating your dream kitchen at cabin corners calm. Watch. The Lakeland news update sponsored, in part by your local touch-tone energy cooperatives Beltrami. Electric cooperative clearwater polk electric cooperative Itasca, mantrap cooperative, and Roseau electric cooperative, your trusted, energy providers, that's the co-operative difference. Programming. On Lakeland PBS. Is brought to you in part by in-charge. Fitness Bemidji, offering 24/7. Access a variety of equipment short term contracts, and personalized, space incharge. Fitness, empowering, individuals to be in charge of their own healthy lifestyle, Minnesota. Public Radio, dedicated. To providing in-depth, news to inform you and lively, classical music, to inspire you with, four frequencies serving, the Lakeland area and. The. Members of Lakeland PBS. Thank. You. Debate. Night 2018. Is sponsored, in part by ask me council v a statewide, union, of more than 40,000. Public employees, working together to elect candidates who represent the values of real Minnesotans. Lakeland. PBS, the Bemidji pioneer the, Brainerd Dispatch and northern, community, radio are, proud, to present debate, night 2018. A look, at our area legislative, candidates and now the State, House of Representatives district. 5 a debate your, moderator, tonight is Bethany, Wesley. Good. Evening and welcome back to debate night 2018. We. Are featuring seven state legislative, debates this week over four nights of television, tonight. We're live from our Lakeland PBS, studio in Bemidji, and we are continuing, our debates with, the candidates running for district, 5a John. Purcell to the far right from. The democratic-farmer-labor, party and. Matt bliss from the republican party our, panel tonight features, from my left Dennis Wyman news director, for Lakeland, PBS, Matthew. Lead key government reporter, for the Bemidji pioneer and Heidi Holton, the, news and public affairs director, for northern community, radio ka, XE, and kbxe. Now. The rules for tonight's debate. Each. Candidate, will get three minutes for an opening statement afterwards. Our panelists, will begin asking questions of our candidates some, of these questions will be of the panelists, own choosing others, may come from the public. The order of the candidates responses, will be rotated, beginning, with opening statements and finishing, with their closing statements each, candidate, will have two minutes for each question, each.
Candidate, Will also have the opportunity for, a one-minute, rebuttal, tonight. Each candidate, also will have the option, of a one-minute bonus time to add on to one of their answers, this, can be used during the answer to the initial question or during, the rebuttal but it can only be used once, questions. Will continue, until we are about 50 minutes into the debate at which time we will move on to closing comments, closing. Comments, will be two minutes each okay, we're, ready to begin opening. The debate tonight will be John Purcell John. Your opening statement, please, thank. You and. Greetings. To our viewing audience this, evening. Glad. To be back in front of you here my, name is John Purcell. Some, of you may remember I served, in the state legislature, for eight years. I'm. Resident. Of the Bemidji area I live about halfway between the midget and Cass Lake and I've worked over in Cass Lake for the last 40, years. Twenty-eight, of those years. Being. The director of a small business, for. The tribe over there and, most. Recently, working, on trying, to clean up the st. Regis Superfund. Site if any of you have heard of that debacle. Over, in Cass Lake. So. I'm married. To wife. Teresa. And, between. Us we have eight. Children ten, grandchildren, and, we. Don't get to spend enough time with the grandchildren but. Sure. A number. Of you know how that goes, but. We sure make that effort, I'm, just. Happy. To be running again as, a Democrat. Farmer, Labor Party member. And. Looking, forward to using my legislative. Experience. To. Do good for all of Minnesotans. Back, in the state legislature. There's. A lot of work to be done we. All know. The. Needs, in health care and, tax reform. Mental, Health Education, the list goes on and on of things that we need to do and address for, all of our communities, and we. Can do that there's there's. Plenty of plenty. Of funding, to to, go around if we if, we just use it wisely and. Push. Forward with what. We need to do to take, care of all Minnesotans so, I look, forward to being. With you this evening and. Addressing. The questions. That are posed to us so thank, you for watching, thank. You John, Matt. Hi. I'm state, representative Matt, bliss two. Years ago I sat in this very chair and asked for you to put your trust in me and elect. Me as your state representative, and I want to thank you for granting me that privilege. Representing. The great people. Of district, 5a and st. Paul it's truly been an honor, over. The past two, years I've, strived to be worthy of that honor I've. Worked on legislation, that impacts not only northern, Minnesota but the entire state as well in. 2017. In my first term in the legislature, we, provided, tax cuts to nearly two hundred and eighty four thousand, senior citizens, who pay taxes, in Minnesota, we. Ended the crippling cycle of double-digit, premium increases, in the in stopped, surprise, billing we. Worked we. Provided, additional twelve hundred dollars in child care assistance to, working families making less than 25, 50. Thousand a year we. Provided more than three hundred million dollars in roads and bridges funding, without raising, the gas tax. Our. Local schools and Bemidji Walker and Cass Lake have. Nearly. Four million dollars, in increased, funding this biennium over, last. And. That's not, including the assistance, we've given Bemidji, school district to address their busing shortfall, my. Provision, to eliminate tax on fiber and conduit has increased, the funding available to provide broadband, to our rural areas we. Provided twenty two point five million dollars, to Bemidji State University to, replace the. Out-of-date, and failing, heggs our building, and, we're. Finally able to secure 12 point four million. In state, funding for the northern Minnesota Veterans Home and Bemidji as. Someone, who served in the US Navy and. Have a very rich family history of combat and non-combat veterans. From. My seven uncles who served in World War one only.
Six Of which returned, to my father who enlisted here in Bemidji shortly. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor and. Served. In the Pacific Theater and my brother who served in Vietnam I'll. Always fight to ensure our veterans are taken care of and get the care that they deserve as the. Vice-chair, of the Veterans Affairs Committee in st. Paul I have, authored several veterans related bills that. Have been signed into law from Elena eliminating, predatory, lending to our vulnerable, veterans and spouses to. Providing funding for homeless vets when. I took office in 2017. Health insurance costs and the individual market were spiraling out of control with. Double-digit increases, every year including as much as 67, percent in 2017. We're. Able to pass an emergency. Premium. Relief one-time premium relief that. Had, a positive effect and, it slowed the increase. In, premiums. And. In, 2019. The projections, are that we're gonna see decreases, maybe even double-digit, decreases, in premiums we. Eliminated, surprise billing that impacted, thousands of Minnesotans, who are working within their plan, network. Only to receive billing from out of network services. More. Work remains but we'll continue to strive to, reduce health care costs overall. I look. Forward to tonight's debate to. Highlight the differences between myself and my opponent thank. You, thank. You Matt our, first question will come from Dennis, Wyman. All. Right well thank you very much Bethany. I'd like to thank both of you for joining. Us tonight it's always great to hear your views on, a variety of topics which we hope to address here. Tonight now. The, question, I'm going to ask is in regards to the economy, how. Do, you feel the economy is doing in general for the state of Minnesota, and more, specifically, for, your district, and what. Would you do to help, improve. Or spur a stronger, economy in, the future. Matt. Your answer first. Well. This, the economy, of Minnesota has improved over. The past few, years we are growing at a slower rate than our neighbors I. Think. The tax bill, that was passed at, the federal level has certainly, assisted. The, economy, in our area unfortunately. We. Were unable to pass a, conformity. Bill this past year so, we were not able to fully appreciate. The tax benefits, that the, state has. At. The federal level. Regulations. On. Our businesses, are burdensome, and and definitely. Slowing, the economic. Growth and the rebound. We, need to remove, regulations, in a responsible. Manner to make sure that that are our. Natural. Resources are protected our environment, is protected but we do need to ensure that that. The businesses. Can grow when they need to. Thank. You Man John. Thank. You I. Believe, our economy is chugging. Along pretty good excuse. Me. And. It's. Been going on since we came out of the, Great, Recession as, it were which. Was going. On when I. First. Came into office in. 2009. So. And, you know one of the one of the things that that helped spur. The economy and. And is. Certainly. The good. Work of all, Minnesotans, and, and we've. Endeavored to keep our roads. And bridge infrastructure. What. It needs to be we have a lot of work to do there but with. A tourism. Economy. Pushing. I think 14 15 billion dollars in Minnesota, now that's, very dependent, as as much of our economic growth, in Minnesota, on, having. Good roads and bridges so. We need to keep keep, pushing things forward. I'm. Not, aware that there's over, burdensome. Regulations. At, this point I'm. Certainly, willing to address those if they are brought forward and.
We, Can learn. To understand, them but. We. Just need to keep, moving forward in a, way that we promote good economic, development small. Business, development, renewable. Energy development. I think, renewable, energy is definitely. Part, of our future we know it is we're making, solar. Panels, up on the Iron Range now that can be expanded so, we just if we keep moving in a good deliberate, fashion. Minnesota. Is gonna be fine I believe we, just have to keep being. Count. Using our common sense for the common good as it were all. Right thank you John. One. Thing I did want to add is one. Of the things that we saw in the bonding bill this past year was, some, construction projects. Here locally. Once. We, get the federal match and, the. BSU, building, and the federal match for the Bemidji. Veterans home that's going to be sixty million dollars, in bonding. Construction, jobs for, the Bemidji area Bemidji. And surrounding areas that's, incredible, growth, opportunity, and and we, need to really, make, sure that we're training people. In the trades to take, part of the of, the. Growing opportunities. The construction, trades. Were. Really really short-staffed on this construction, trades so that. I'd like to see more of that okay, thank. You man John rebuttal I would, just add that and I represent. Bliss, brought. Up the Veterans Home and I'm. Proud of the 10 years that I put in and getting that veterans home off. On. The rails and, and. I'm happy that Matt, West Was was. Able. With the, rest of the legislature. And our government, to bring that forward we. Have work to do and. We and we have to keep that communication going, with our federal government to make that Veterans, Home a reality, so that's. All thank. You our. Next question will come from Matthew, lucky. Vultureman. County is already. A financially. Stressed. County. And, recently. Officials, have been bringing up the fact that it is approaching a fiscal, if this is partially, because of a major foster, care crisis, I was wondering if what can be done in st., Paul to. Assist. Beltrami, County as it goes through this. Troubling, financial, situation. John. Your response, thank. You I, certainly. That. Is an issue for Beltrami, County the.
The Out, of home placement, and. With. The low tax base that we have in, Beltrami County and, other counties are are. Facing, similar. Circumstances. I. Think. That just. To sum it up in in one item. That the. Legislature. Could have done there was a 19. Million. Dollar bill, presented. For local government aid and. However. It happened that in that 19 million dollars, this, is information, from from, our local, Beltrami. County Administrator. That. 19. Million dollars would, have funded, the shortfalls that. Counties. Are seeing across. Minnesota, that, whatever. Happened, that 19, million got cut down to 5 million. Dollars so. Fully. Funding, LGA, is. Very, important, very important. They've always been a an, ardent supporter of local government aid particularly. Our. Way we see it front. And center because of a little chat space in the, county and it just helps support our basic, services, police. The fire and and, the. Out-of-home placement, that works in we, have to take care of children we know that we have to take care of elders we know that we. Just need to find, the funding to do it and we do have that funding available, to us we, just need to get, it to where it needs to be. This, is a very serious problem for Beltrami County the. Out. Of home child placement has. Drained. The county's reserves, to almost nothing if. We continue down this road the county will be probably, the first County in the state to have to declare bankruptcy I. Have. Met. The party, leadership in st. Paul to. Discuss this issue with them it's on their radar we'll, be addressing it right, away when we get back into session. We, need to really, look at this in the long term there's. A three pronged approach that we have to take one. Is. The. The vast, majority of the, out-of-home. Placements, are for. Red. Lake children, and, Red, Lake really, wants to take this this, on. Themselves. And, the. Leech Lake reservation. And the White Earth reservation are, both pilot, programs to to address this on within. Their own government, agencies, and within, their borders. Currently. Right now the Beltrami County is, getting three million dollars a year in aid and they would be happy to transfer, that up to the tribe and and, again the Red Lake band is is willing to do this and wanting to do this that's, the first step the second step is. Even. If we were to fund this. 100%. Today. The. The problem is being exacerbated, by, opioid, abuse the. The. Problems before. The opioid abuse became, this prevalent, we. Could we could get, the child put back that's the ultimate, goal is to put the child back in the home with, the opioid epidemic it, takes more than a year to get, these people these children back, with the families and remove the danger so. That's that's a problem we have to fix that we have to fix the opioid abuse opioid. Epidemic and, that's that's a bigger problem on the whole and we need to address that and st. Paul the, third part is we need to make Beltrami. County whole, we need to restore. Some of the money that they've expended, on this and get, their their reserves back into shape they're in so. Again it's a three pronged approach just. Funding it financially, would would not fix, the problem appreciate.
John. Rebuttal. Just. Add. Mr.. Bliss brought up the. Opioid crisis, and indeed. We do have to address that and we need to take it on. Full-bore. Unfortunately. The Republican, legislature, really. Really. Fell on their Duff on this one because we had the opportunity, they had the opportunity, to. Fund. That penny a pill that. Would have helped you if we opioid, crisis, and would have would have helped out all of the counties, across, the state of Minnesota that are dealing, with with. Opioid, crisis, so. I, certainly, support that penny a pill and if elected I'm gonna be back down there pushing for that penny a pill on the opioids. Thank. You John. Just, real, quick one just we did have money in the in the Supplemental. Bonding or supplemental. Operating. Bill that, would have addressed some opioid, issues. Again. It wasn't, nearly enough we do need to address it fully and this, year we will be that'll be probably one of the number-one priorities, we take take-up okay. Thank You Heidi. We. Asked, our listeners, kxe. Kbxe, for questions, and we had a post on our Facebook page, Charlie. From Pope asked II wanted to ask both of you about recent, federal, and EPA roll backs and how you think, Minnesota. Should proceed, to, either support them or substitute. State statutes. To, maintain, the former standards. Matt. You're up first. Minnesota's. Always been a, leader. In the, in the EPA. Most. Of our standards, are more. Stringent than the federal government's to, begin with. I. Think. That's a, it's. A double-edged sword I think we need to definitely protect, our natural resources, and our freshwater but. At the same time we need to really. Take. Stock of what what. The true cost, not. Only environmental, but also economical. Economic. Costs, of these regulations. I'd, like to see more, stakeholders. At the table when, these rules are being developed, and. You, know we really need to get. Everybody involved and to make sure that that the rules that we come up with work, for everybody. Thank. You ma'am John. Thank. You you. Know as a, as. A chemist, and environmental, policy, person, over, the, last number of decades. I'd. Have to say and, I've done, quite a bit of research on, our natural, resources, in Minnesota, I'm. Not aware of any. Any. Natural. Resource, standards. Or regulations, that need to, be rolled back. And. So. I'm perplexed. By what the, federal government has proposed, to do and, particularly. With with regard, to some, of the air emissions. We. Know for. Instance that, the. Mercury. And our fish tissue has been increasing. Now for a couple. Of decades, and. That's. Just, unfortunate. That. That. That's allowed to go on and, we, have to increase. Our diligence, I believe, in. Environmental. Policy to, overcome, that I think. All the audience likely. Knows that. Women. Of childbearing age in, Minnesota, can't eat a walleye that's, over 20 inches long safely. That's. A travesty. We know that the travesty, for Minnesota. To be in that state I, know, a regulation. That the that. The Republican. Legislature, endeavored, to overturn, of the. Water. Quality it, was a sulphate.
Standard, For water that protects wild rice in Minnesota, why. They wanted to overturn that and do away with it I have no idea but that was one of the silliest things to come out of the legislature. Fortunately. Governor. Dayton vetoed, that law. Thank. You John Matthew everybody yeah, John brought up the water sulfate, standards. And, the. The sulfate standard that's currently in place right now has been in place since the mid 70s and, has never been enforced never, been enforced, the. The, DNR. And the, Minnesota, Pollution Control Agency had, been working in a partnership to, develop standards. That could be implemented. The. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency moved, away from that and, they they went out and started. To develop their own, standards which in their own literature. In their own studies said that it could take up to ten years to come up with a permit, for. Plants. For water discharge Minnesota. Businesses. Need regulatory, certainty. What. We had done was we said and and by, the way those those new. Standards were not only rejected, by a an, administrative, law judge but, it was also. The. Administrative, law judge, review. Appreciate. That all. Right John rebuttal, well, it's certainly a, not. An easy issue to try and talk about on on. The television, I will tell you. There's. There's a lot to this issue. Suffice, to say that, the. Science, does support, that we need to protect wild, rice from sulphate. Pollutants. And, there is a. Entity. On the Iron Range, that. Discharges. That is being brought under that. Sulphate, water. Quality standards, so it's. Not accurate to say that it's never been enforced, there is a permit, in place, and. We're. Looking into that across, the state but, I can tell you as one whose research, to work wild rice beds around. Northern Minnesota, we, never found sulphate, above. About, five, milligram. Per liter with a ten standard, all, right we're going to go back to Dennis Wyman for our fourth question, okay. School, vouchers, are state or School District funded scholarships, that allow students. To attend a private school of the family's choice rather. Than sending the child, the public school most. States don't have them DC, and 13 states have offered school vouchers, would. You be in favor of school vouchers for, Minnesota. Jon. Europe. I'll. Tell you that the school voucher issue, is. Certainly. One, that has concerns. For, our school, districts. And, we. The, taxpayers. And. For. Instance if, too. Many students, were pulled out of a school district. Through. The voucher, system. What, would be the viability, of that district. And how, many students, would be in class would they still need the school size we, just built a new school out here in. Bemidji a new elementary. School would we still need that so I believe. That the, voucher. System for. Education. Is, is one, that has to be very, carefully. Considered, our. Constitution. Our, Minnesota, Constitution, contains. Language. That says we will educate our, children and. We. Need to provide funding, to do that but. To have that in, a system, where we're going to have vouchers, and who's, keeping track of the credibility, of the schools we've. Had, problems. Across. The state. With some charter. Schools and, are they up to the par some, are some. Aren't, and. So, we really, need to take that on carefully, I want, to see the language of. Any. Bill, to. Know specifically, how we're gonna handle vouchers. Not. School. Vouchers, I, can't. Support school vouchers. I. Would, rather see school tax, credits going to the parents if they chose to put their their.
Students. Into private schools the problem with school vouchers, is it becomes. Government. Money and once the school takes government, money they become under government control, so. The. School vouchers per say I wouldn't support I would support tax credits, I do agree, with John that we need to be careful and. Make sure that these schools are up to standards, but. I don't, want the the voucher being, considered government money. As. Far as the, schools failing. And taking our public, money you, know that's where the market forces come in if your. Student. Or your child is going to a private school and it's not up to stuff you. Pull them out of that school and you put them in another one or you put them back to a good public school my. Wife is a public. Schoolteacher and I don't take, this issue lightly I understand, the need for the public schools and and. I support our public's we've increased funding for public schools, it's. Just again. I would, not support vouchers, I would support a tax credit system. I. Would. Have to review the language of the bill as well Thank. You Donna. Rebuttal no, okay, all. Right question five we'll go to Matthew lidtke. Matthew. Yes. I. Wanted. To talk. A little bit about workforce. Issues. In. Terms of. Providing. Workforce, housing, and. Child. Daycare. It's. Something that is an issue especially in rural communities like, blocked up Blackduck, just north fear was, worrying what can be done at the state, level and in st. Paul to, help. With the workforce, issues of not, enough housing and not enough daycare. Well. The the first. The housing issue. We. Need to really. Take a look at the. The. Affordable housing market. In Minnesota. When. You get the funding through the Minnesota, Housing. Project. I'm not sure the exact agency, they, put, all these requirements on the homes that really. Really jack up the cost and, affordable. Housing if you build through them really, doesn't become, affordable housing it's much more expensive to build through that so we really need to look at those regulations, and pare them down so that we we're, not putting overdue. Over. Burdensome, regulations. On building these homes to make them affordable for people to move into as. Far as daycare, goes we've, lost in. The last eight years we've, lost more than 25%, of our daycare providers in Minnesota that's, that's horrible the, problem, is is that we are over over.
Regulating. These agencies, we, want our children to be safe in these daycare facilities, but if. We're, over. Regulating, them to the point where more than 25, percent are getting out of the business and more are talking about getting out of the business we're. Not going to have daycare in rural Minnesota and that we can't have that so we need to really review, the regulations, that are on these facilities, and causing. Them to get out of the business. Man done. Thank. You I certainly. Believe that. With. Regard, to the housing, and affordable housing, that. In, many instances. The. State, can. Form a partnership and, perhaps. Along. With the federal, government. And. And. With the employer, and, and. Ensure. That that. Good housing, is provided that. It's. Been. An issue for some time and, likely. Will continue, it's a hard one to solve. Especially. When businesses, are growing. And. In need of additional, housing. You. Know, every. Month or every six months. It's, a good thing for. Our economy it's. A tough thing to meet. Those needs and, so. I do believe that we can we. Can work, together as, federal. State local governments. And meet those needs it, certainly takes that partnership, I think. Similarly, with with. Childcare. In in. Quality, childcare I mean that that's a very. Important, for, these, these. Young. Children to. Have. Opportunities. For. Learning wherever, they are in childcare and they're, likely in many instances, and there is now and they're likely will continue, to be a need, for some. Subsidy. Certainly, in some areas of the state this, childcare is very expensive, good. Quality, childcare is very, expensive, but, we need to do that we talked, about closing the loop and how do we solve problems, down. The road with. Mental, health issues or education. Issues it, all begins, when they're children so we need to be able to to. Have good. Opportunities. For those youngsters. Thank, you Matt, a rebuttal real. Quick just a, quick example there.
Was A business in northern Minnesota that was, was adding, a product line to their there, they, have a lot of employees the. Problem was that they didn't have housing. For the new employees for this new product line and they had to move that production out of state so we lost those. Employees, because, of the lack of housing so that we, need to really, focus on that and, also back. To the the childcare subsidies. Recent. Headlines down in Minneapolis, we've seen some. Multiple. Multiple examples, of, abuse, of the system we, really need to crack down on that I've heard numbers as high as 150, million dollars, a year, being, taken. Out of the system by people that, don't need it and that they're just gaming, the system we, could really use that 150, million dollars to help offset some of the costs up here. Thank. You map done I. Definitely. Agree with what, mr. Bush just said anybody, that's game in the system needs, to be held accountable we, have, don't. Have enough money the way it is so we need to use it wisely thank. You our. Next question comes from Heidi, we. Have heard from people that they're getting weary, of politics. And partisanship, sometimes. It makes them not want to go to the polls or get involved in their communities, and they, often feel like their elected officials follow, their party's politics, and don't always serve all the constituents. That they represent, we're. I'm wondering, your thoughts on this and perhaps examples. Of how you've worked with people outside, your parties and how, you would, do this if you're the next. Representative. Of district, 5 a, done. Well. Certainly, you. Don't have to walk. Very far very fast, to find folks that are disenchanted with our current. Political system, and. You. Know what you see going on it it's. At your own trepidation. That you start talking about national politics. Now. Because. It. Is so polarized as, everyone, knows doesn't. Need to be that way you, know, if, if. Folks would, would. Just use, their common sense and, agree. As many. Of us do that we're going to work for in, our instance. As a state. Representative. For, all of Minnesota that the best of our ability, and, so. Certainly, the. The. Fear, of, of. The political, system is is something that can be overcome, giving. Example, when I was a Majority. Whip in, 2013-2014. I, made, every. Effort to work, across the aisle with my Republican, colleagues.
And. And. You. Know it it paid off I, was. Probably. The thing that I'm most proud of as, that majority would for those two years is the, fact that 93%, of the bills that. Went through the house that were signed into law were, bipartisan, and, that. Took some work to do that so. Bipartisanship. Can be done just have, to leave the the polarizing. Aspects. Behind and you. Know be. Good citizens be, good neighbors we. All strive to do that and that's. What it takes that. There. Was a bill that. Was introduced, by a, representative. Knecht Bodeen she's, a DFL, legislators. Out of Minneapolis, I'm, not sure where northern, suburbs I believe it. Was for the indigenous. Women's missing. In an abused. Indigenous, women's task force when. She, showed me that bill I I jumped, on this. Was a bill that was good it was it was it, was good for our area was good for the native. Women throughout. The state we. Were. When. We signed that when we got that bill into, the committee I proudly. Pushed. That bill, to get heard in committees. Every. Committee it went through it picked up more and more signatures, they were one, of our committee chairs said that there's Republican, bills and there's Democrat, bills and then there's good bills and, this one was a good bill and it we had to actually write we. Representative. Kinetico Dean had to actually create a clone bill because there were so many people that wanted to sign onto that bill that, was a good, example of how I, signed. On to a bill early and. Pushed it through our caucus, and got a lot of extra support on that I. Co-sponsored. A, bill that increase the education. Funding in the state of Minnesota to a 2%, 2% when, our party was was much lower than that, so. That was an unpopular position. At the time that's where we eventually got to and, I'm proud that that was my provision. One. Of the things that you don't see a lot on the news is that most bills are, bipartisan. Unfortunately. The media will show you the ones that aren't and, nobody, wants to hear good news bad news sells in the media, and. And John can attest to this it's, it's a collegial atmosphere down, there after. The after the floor debates we walk back as a group and and talk, about our grandchildren. And fishing, and it's it's it's. Unfortunate. That that's, what you see in the media. Thank. You Man. No, thank you okay, question. 7 is back, to Dennis Wyman, question. From one of our viewers sent, to us despite. Assurances about, pipeline, safety we. Know leaks do happen, considering. The abundance, of lakes rivers wetlands. And groundwater in northern and central Minnesota is it, ever an acceptable, risk to, run a pipeline through the area. That's. - Matt first. Leaks. Do happen in pipelines trains. Do derail. Trucks. Do crash. The. Oil is coming out of the ground we're an oil based Society and until that changes we. Have to pick the the, route. That has the most safety, features, with, it and by. Far the the, pipelines, are the safest way, and most economical, way to transport. Oil, having. Having, trains, carrying, miles, of rail. Cars full of oil, through. Through communities. Of Minneapolis, through across the. Lakes and rivers in Minnesota, and. The rail system is. You. Could have accident, at any point any given point so, yes, pipelines, do leak and there's, so many safeguards built into those pipelines and the sensors that that alert. The the. Companies to the leaks and the, the. Companies will go out and fix them you know the beauty. Of our system is that we have, people. That oppose something, and they and they express, their opinions and. That'll, help the process and and that helps improve the safety of the of the project so I'm happy, with the way it's going and and I do support the pipeline, Thank. You Man John. Thank. You yeah. I certainly, do. Believe that, the, pipelines, can safely, transport. Oil or. Natural. Gas or. Other. Commodities. And. We certainly have our share of them, going. Through Minnesota, it. Is my preference, that. If. And when new pipelines, are, constructed.
And They. Likely need to be the ones that are in the ground now several of them are aging, and and. The. Viability of them is very, questionable. But. Any new pipeline, the, route needs to be carefully, considered. Water. Is our. Primary. Resource, and we. Have an abundance, of it let's don't mess. It up, so, let's avoid crossing. In going, under water wherever. We can so, the route is very is, very. Important. In in. Pipeline. Construction. But. Certainly. If. You look at the alternatives. And and, petroleum. Products, are going, to be moved petroleum, is going to be moved through, the United States and. Pipelines. Are much, more, safe than, rail. Or. For. Trucks. The. Other two. Primary. Methods. Where we would move petroleum. Products so. Yes. Let's. Be safe about it and. Let's support, to. The best of our ability, and with all of our with all of our might, the. Production. Of electric, vehicles, that, is when we will see petroleum. Products, not. Needed, anymore when, we have more electric vehicles on the road. Thank. You John Matt everybody, I'm. Right. Question, eight from Matthew lidtke. Yes. I would like to talk just a little bit about infrastructure. Seems. Like, every. Year it's brought up and I wanted to get feedback, on. If. Minnesota, needs a massive infrastructure, haul now not, just with roads, and bridges but also with things like pipelines. Storm. Sewer water. Things like that. John. I. Think. The. Question. As well what. Do. We need, infrastructure. Renewal. As, it were. Constantly. And, and. We. Have not shown. A. Viable. Method. For that in Minnesota, just. Just. The Seward water infrastructure, is one that one. That I recall. M'as, in the legislature. The. Last two years 15, 16 the. Number that I'm remembering is, on sewer and water infrastructure, needs in Minnesota. Was. That we could bond for a billion, dollars a year and have most of that be in sewer, and water infrastructure. And not catch up for ten years so, we're really behind, really. Behind in in sewer, and water infrastructure, in Minnesota, the, same is is. True. For roads and bridges and. By. Golly if we didn't learn anything else about. August, 1st 2007. It's, let not, ever let that happen again the 35w. Bridge falling, down and. That was, totally, avoidable totally, avoidable but, there. Was just wasn't. Enough funding, to, go toward all of the needs all the bridge inspections, that, needed to be done let's, don't do that again we need to look at.
What Funding is needed we, have a triple-a. Bond rating in Minnesota let's, bond for transportation. Dollars as we need to and and, if we need to find other means of, of. Funding. For transportation, for roads and bridges let's. Do it let's don't let people die over not making. Our roads and bridges safe. Okay. Matt. When. We. Look at the bonding bill every year there's always always, sewage. Treatment plants, and they get a high priority, and. And. We've been building them not, at the rate we should be building them admitted. As. Far as transportation. Infrastructure. When. I sat here two years ago I I stated. That we needed to look, at other forms, of revenue. For roads, and bridges and one of one of the areas I said was the taxes that we pay on auto parts and car rentals and we. We did that in 2017. We've, found, another 300 million dollars out, of the taxes, that we'd already we're already paying on vehicles. The, problem that we're having with the gas tax is that as we're, pushing cars, for more and more fuel efficiency. We're losing revenue on the gas tax so we need to move that in a different way so the. What we come up with was funding. It through the, taxes, that were already being paid and I do support, the referendum. To put this on the for. A state constitution. Where we dedicate, the. Sales. Tax is the 100, percent sales taxes on auto. Parts and car rentals and in, that sort and that would bring in roughly 600, million dollars additional, revenue, okay. Thank, you man John, a rebuttal, just. Did add. That the. 300, million dollars, from auto, parts, that. Matt. Mentioned I. Don't. Dispute that that funding. Can. Be used for, roads, and bridges but. What happened, was there was no replacement. In. The general, fund for that 300, million dollars, so the general fund came, up short and, so something didn't, get funded whether it's housing, or. Mental. Health or. I, mean go down the list of things that we need in. Minnesota, we, don't, have enough to fund all of our programs. But then to lose, that 300 million dollars that. Came, up short somewhere, else in the budget, thank. You Matt, everybody. Real. Quickly we had an 800, million dollar to a billion dollar surplus that year. Nothing. Was shorted the. The taxes, were taken out of the. Surplus the, state still, we increased spending on, the schools 1.3. Billion dollars I believe that year we, increased. Spending. And Health, and Human Services. Again, it was there was a budget, surplus a very large budget surplus that year that we were able to fund these projects, and, and make sure that we got the, roads and bridges funded the way they should, thank. You Matt. It's. Probably our last question, from Heidi I would suspect, we. Have a growing, aging population and. Many issues come, with that including. Health care transportation. Housing, elder abuse what's. Working right now and what isn't working, Matt. Well. Elder abuse was a. Popular. Topic last. Year. We. Certainly, got a lot of testimony, on it the. Housing. Aspect. Of it, we. Need to really to, help, find. Seniors, to downsize. In their, homes which will really help also in the. Workforce housing and, affordable housing shortages, because that'll, free up some some lower income housing that the seniors will be moving out of I'm. Sorry I forgot what the rest of it was, um. Health care transportation, housing. Transportation. We need to focus, more on the, like. The Paul, Bunyan transit, that, type especially. In the rural areas, where we don't have a bus. Service, that. That can go out and pick up the elderly, and bring them to their doctor's. Appointments we need a transfer, to fund the local, transport services. Thank, You Man John. Well. Certainly, the elder, abuse, issues. Catch. Everybody's, attention and, rightfully so. What, did not happen that. Needs to happen is, the fully fund, Health Human Services, so they can address, those issues. Straight, away and not, have to. With. Fewer, staff than they then. They need, they. Have to ration, how they address those elder abuse issues, so, so. That's one, instance, where, I was talking about funding. That didn't happen because 300 million dollars was pulled. From the general fund. By. The Republican, legislature. That's. Something, that didn't get funded fully was. For. Addressing. Elder abuse in, Minnesota. So, those. Those. Issues and, other funding, issues we. Know what we need and and oftentimes. We cannot my. Time, in the legislature. The. Decisions, are tough and you don't always have the funding you need to, address, the issues, all. Of them but, you have to work to. Try to, address the issues and I'll. Tell you when in. 2013. When we raise. Taxes, on the wealthiest we the Democrat. Legislature. Raise, taxes, on the wealthiest two percent of, Minnesotans, if.
You Didn't make more than $250,000. A year. After. Deductions. Then, you weren't paying a dime more in taxes, with. That brought. Forward. Funding. That we could use to address many, of these issues and we did our best to do that we, have to consider all of our options here, otherwise folks, are gonna fall through the cracks we're, going to keep hearing these elder abuse stories. We're going to keep hearing the stories about suicide. Opieop, opiate, abuse etc, that's it thank you Matt. A rebuttal. Yeah. The. There's. There's all sorts, of waste fraud and abuse that we need to really crack down on the. In, in the Health and Human Services alone, just. And, this was something I brought up in the last campaign as well there, was over 150 million dollars estimated. That. That is going to subsidize. Healthcare, insurance for people that don't need it. The the, abuse. Again in the childcare. Assistance. That's. Another 150, million dollars we have. That's 300 million dollars and I've just named - we. Really, need to crackdown on that and and we can use it for the Elder Abuse and yes we need to fund, these we need to pay these people more that are taking care of our elderly citizens, and we need to do it now thank. You man John. No, thank, you thank. You we finished, up with our question period of the of the debate now we are going to move to closing, statements so, closing statements. First will go to John. Thank. You. Just. A couple. Of things that I would would like to say I. Ran. For, the legislature, a. Decade. Ago. With. Issues. In mind that. My. Public, service, is. Driven by what, I see in our communities, and, the, needs that we have we've, talked about a lot of those needs this this evening. And. I mean the. Roads where we're, going to drive home on tonight and and as. We go across bridges, are they safe well we know they are up here at. Least we believe so but. Now we have, funding, to, address. More, of those issues and. Sustainable. Economic, development. We. Need to keep working on that that that's always. Part. Of our. Community. Here in in northern Minnesota, his small business development, and, I always, had a, meeting. A couple, of evenings ago at the Northwest. Minnesota initiative. Fund, downtown. Bemidji and we were talking, about a specific. Project. Or, initiative. If, you will called. Thriving, by design, and. What. A good group of folks that showed. Up the talk about that. And if you think about it it's it's. Kind of like common sense for the common good which is one of my favorite. Phrases that, if we do, work, together we're, capable of, doing many things for our communities, and they, will thrive will have the Economic, Development will have the affordable, housing will. Have good environmental, quality, standards. Renewable. Energy development, we, can do. Those, those. Tasks, we can take them on and and. Manage our natural resources, so that we have those natural, resources for. Future generations. In the, tourism industry that.
We. Would be lost without that, here in northern, Minnesota so. We need to keep good. Management of, natural. Resources, and. And, above. All else let's let's, look, at our education system. And make, sure we have funded, all of our needs for education and I want to put a plug in for. Making. Sure that we have counselors in. Our k-12, education. System for, those children that do have issues. And. And need to talk to someone, we've been lagging behind the, rest of the states and how many counselors, we have for children who need to, have someone to talk to about mental, health issues and let's, let's, make sure we have the funding to do all of that then. We can do it Minnesota. Is a very, wealthy state, in in. Good people and in, our natural. Resources, and we, have funding, to address most all of these issues in a prudent way thank. You thank. You John Matt, final thoughts I. Want. To thank Lakeland. Public TV and our moderators, for their time and allowing us to present our views our vision. For the future for the residents. Of district 5a over. The past hour you've heard two different visions for our area I think I've demonstrated my, ability to work across party lines and the, ability to bring important, legislation, over the finish line I'm. Extremely, proud to have delivered two major bonding, projects for Bemidji in my first term we. Cut taxes, for small businesses. Senior, citizens, working. Families and young people struggling, with college debt we. Provided relief for. People who are being crushed by out of control healthcare costs. We. Increased funding to our local schools by. Nearly 4 million and, we made changes to a lot of the schools to keep the. Most qualified, teachers, in front of our children. Last. Year we, provided 25, million dollars to school district to apply for grants to improve school safety and, I'm extremely proud to have the cast like being a school district, received three hundred and forty three thousand, dollars in grants announced today to. Improve the safety for the middle school this. Is an area we'll continue to invest in as we move forward if. Elected again I'll continue to put northern Minnesota first and I'm asking once again for. Your confidence and trust in November I'm. State representative Matt. Bliss and I'm asking for your vote on November 6th, thank you I. Want. To thank both Matt and John, for agreeing to and taking part in debate night 2018. If you, missed any portion of tonight's that debates either this one or the one that preceded it the. Full broadcast will, be posted online on the Lakeland PBS, website within the next 24, hours that, site is. Lptv.org. Additionally. The Bemidji pioneer will, have a write-up on the debates both in print and online in, the days to come please. Visit Bemidji, pioneer com4. Recaps, I want. To thank you again for tuning in tonight I invite you to consider joining us, again Wednesday evening, at 7, o'clock we'll, have Steve green from the Republican, Party and Karen, Branden from the DFL, party as, they, campaign campaign, campaign, for. District, to be then. At 8 p.m. will feature the candidates, vying for district, 2 a Matt, grassle from the Republican, Party and Michael, North bird from the DFL, party we. Look forward to seeing you then from all of us here at Lakeland PBS we think our candidates, we thank our panelists, and we, thank you the viewers for tuning in have a great night. Programming. On Lakeland PBS, is brought to you in part by Frisell, Furniture Gallery your authorized dealer at the.