6 thoughts on “Election 2008: MN House District 25B race, Bly vs. Rud – candidates, campaigns, issues”

  1. There is a lot of talk about high fuel and food prices.
    A lot of this is driven by deciding to burn corn for fuel, a devaluation of the dollar and a miss guided policy of not wanting to use our “Homegrown” fuel, like natural gas, coal and oil.

    I am wondering if any of those two would have enough guts to stand up against the farm lobby and say “No more corn for ethanol”?

    On the surface we have to very different candidates to chose from. One is being supported heavily by the local academia and intellectuals and the other is making a play for the farm vote.

    None of them has a clear plan to support their campaign phrases. Are we going to see more specifics soon?
    Especially on the issues of fiscal spending?
    How are we going to pay for the MN health plan?
    How are we going to bring “green” jobs here? (whatever that means)
    How are they going to address the loss of home values versus an increase in property taxes?

    I will think of a few more.

  2. CapX 2020 high voltage transmission lines are proposed across Minnesota and across the length of 25B. Comments are due to the ALJ tomorrow by 4:30.
    1) Have the candidates submitted Comments on the need for the line?
    2) What are the candidates’ positions on CapX 2020?
    3) What are the candidates’ positions on need for transmission and new generation in Minnesota?
    3) What are the candidates’ positions on energy, specifically carbon tax, conservation, load shifting, distributed siting of generation?

  3. Peter,
    I hope you don’t hold it against me as I pursue the farm vote. I really do want to appeal to a broad base of support. I believe the new DFL majority in the house has gone a long way in setting us on the right course with in the confines of an administration at both the State and Federal levels that does not agree with our direction.

    I heard a very interesting comment this morning by Robert Reich former Clinton Administration cabinet member. He said that the next president must invest in things that matter for our future, explaining that there is a difference between spending and investing. The Bush administration has spent us into deep debt but not invested in our future. Investments in education, infrastructure, economic security are all things we need to invest in if we want our children to have a better future.

    You allude to the debate about energy and claim the problem is a reluctance to invest in ‘home grown’ fuels. The fuels you mention are not grown here though they may be harvested here, though a lot is imported. In Minnesota we import oil and gas from Canada and coal from the Dakotas, so none of it is ‘home harvested’. We grow and harvest corn, soybeans and have hope for other bio-fuels but as you say their is anxiety about using those fuels for energy when some are needed for food production. There are also concerns about water use and environmental protection.

    In Minnesota we also harvest the wind and very limited solar energy for power. I think there is room to develop these latter two energy resources that don’t require continued investment in fuel. I am working on that.

    You have not mentioned the problem of ‘global warming’ so may I assume you do not see it as a problem. I do. So I think that not only do we need to look at the type of energy we use we also need to think about conservation and more efficient use of energy. I don’t believe anything is lost by our learning better use of the energy we consume.

    In addition, I have written about my concern for our middle class society and how we need to put in place provisions to protect it. I believe it is the cornerstone of our democracy and also our true economic driver. This is proven I believe by looking at what happens when administrations are in office that put in place policies that benefit the middle class. This in part relates to the comments Robert Reich made about investments. For instance making sure we have a safe and efficient transportation system, making sure a college education is affordable, making sure our public education system is funded properly, making sure the middle class is not unfairly burdened by taxation needed to provide for the middle class society.

    Our economy has flourished under these administrations and it has faltered with administrations like the current one that makes the mistake of believing that tax cuts to the wealthy can stimulate the economy. We have seen that the reverse is true. The wealthy tend to use the extra cash to secure greater benefit for themselves and don’t buy consumer goods or start new companies.

    Recently in Minnesota we have raised taxes on the middle class by pushing the cost of government on to local governments, which causes property taxes to go up. We have refused to raise taxes on the wealthy when it is clear that is what we need to do to create tax fairness and to stop the up and down roller coaster of our state budget. For further information on this topic I would encourage you to visit the website of Growth and Justice (http://www.growthandjustice.org/Policy_Areas.html).

    You asked about the Minnesota Health Plan: Here is a blog post I am about to put up on my web site.

    A recent Kaiser foundation study found that the U.S. Spends More Than Twice as Much on Health Care Per Person Than Most Other Industrialized Nations, Ranks Last in Preventable Mortality.
    (KAISER DAILY HEALTH POLICY REPORT for Thursday, July 17, 2008)

    A former legislator once summed our current health care system up as a Gordian knot of paper trails trying to determine who pays. If you have insurance and you or your employer pay for health insurance paycheck to paycheck you may feel confident you know who is going to pay. But the reality is you don’t. That is once you get sick or injured you don’t. As soon as the insurance company receives the bill they may start looking to see how they can avoid being stuck with the payment. They may choose to identify if the injury is work related and should be paid by workmen’s comp. They may try to determine if the health care provider is over charging or did not follow the strict rules on prescribing treatment or went out of network.

    Vast amounts of time and money are spent sorting this out and in most cases it is paid for by money that should have gone to provide you access to health care. The same process happens for those who don’t have insurance and don’t have the assets to pay.

    A year ago I formed a legislative caucus to educate myself and others on this issue and to come up with some solutions to the problem. The primary focus of our group is to promote something called the Minnesota Health Plan. You can read about the plan on a website by clicking here or on the name.

    The plan is supported by research done by the Lewin Group, a subsidiary of United Health (so a group not necessarily friendly to the plan). They did a study of various Universal coverage health proposals in Colorado and the only one that saved money, and a substantial amount was a plan very similar to the Minnesota Health Plan.

    What does the plan do? First of all it says that all Minnesotans should have access to health care. Because one never knows when tragedy, disease, an accident can strike and we believe that no one should go bankrupt because of an unforeseen illness or injury.

    Secondly, it says that all Minnesotans should pay in based on their ability to pay and for that buy in all should have the same comprehensive coverage (including, mental health, dental and eye exams). We would have one plan, one insurer and the freedom to choose your provider without co-pays or deductibles. These payments or premiums would go to the Minnesota Health Fund, which would be shielded from the State budget and could not be raided to pay for other things. The fund and the system would be over seen by a board of regional stake holders in the system.

    Finally, we believe every Minnesotan should be able to choose the health care provider of their choice. Contrary to statements by the opposition this plan is not socialized medicine or government run health care. All the health care providers continue to function much the way they do now accept that the regional board would have some regulatory power to prevent some duplication, fraud and greed in the system.

    How does it save money? Savings come from eliminating expensive bureaucracy caused by the use of private insurance plans. Doctors and clinics will deal with one simple form and one provider. We will eliminate worry and expense over who pays. There would be no need for workers compensation, or the medical part of auto insurance because there is no dispute about who pays. This is a system similar to Medicare and reports show that the administrative costs of Medicare are from 2% to 4% of total cost where private insurers admit that their administrative costs are anywhere from 18% to 40%.

    Now some folks worry because Medicare does not fully reimburse so we would need to assure providers that the Minnesota Health Plan could reimburse at a reasonable rate.

    I am sure I have not answered all of your questions about this important plan but you can visit the website and contact me, Sen. John Marty, Sen. Sharon Ropes, Rep. Shelley Madore, Rep. Carolyn Laine, Rep. Ken Tschumper, Rep. Tina Liebling for more details.

  4. Carol,

    You ask,
    “1) Have the candidates submitted Comments on the need for the line?
    2) What are the candidates’ positions on CapX 2020?
    3) What are the candidates’ positions on need for transmission and new generation in Minnesota?
    4) What are the candidates’ positions on energy, specifically carbon tax, conservation, load shifting, distributed siting of generation?”

    1) I did join several other legislators in signing a letter composed by Rep. Ken Tschumper expressing concerns about the line.
    2) I have concerns about this proposed line and whether or not we truly need it. I have heard from a number of my constituents who are likely to see the line cross their property if it goes though. They are concerned about many issues involved with their rights as land owners and their health as the lines in some cases pass very near their homes. A number of them are already distressed about how they were treated by pipeline project, MNCan has already effected them. As their representative I want to make sure their concerns are answered.
    3) I am not convinced that the lines are needed we are able to do a lot with conservation to reduce the need for this kind of bulk power transfer and I would like to see more effort given to distributed generation so that energy is produced closer to where it is needed. I think this can be accomplished by committing to investment in small wind and solar energy development across the state.
    4) As I said above I support efforts to promote a different kind of energy development and conservation so that we can better control our energy use, reduce dependency on foreign fuels and stimulate our local economies with energy production.

  5. Did our US congress pass something related to renewable energy tax incentives? The only thing I could find is here. The US Congress has got a lot on it’s plate right now, and I’m worried we won’t get to it or that now it isn’t a priority.

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