(Welcome to WCCO.com's 2018 political guide!
We reached out to all Minnesota candidates running for U.S Senate, Governor, U.S Congress, Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Auditor this fall. Candidates were asked to provide a two-minute video discussing their platform as well as answer a set of our viewer's questions.
Above is the video and below are the answers Karin Housley provided. This is not a paid advertisement nor does WCCO endorse any candidate.
(Editor's Note: Some responses were revised after original submission)
Responses from Karin Housley, Republican candidate for U.S Senate:
Do you support legalization of the recreational use of marijuana?
I believe individual states are the best decision-makers when it comes to legalizing any form of marijuana and the states whose voters or legislatures have approved legalization should be able to do so without interference from the federal government. However, it is also important to be mindful of balancing legalization with safeguards to keep our communities safe and to keep our kids away from illicit drugs. As a state senator, I voted to legalize limited forms of medical marijuana and recognize its benefits for individuals with debilitating illnesses who cannot find effective treatment elsewhere. As we move forward, there needs to be additional information and research into marijuana's efficacy, so we can better consider both the drug's short- and long-term effects on individuals, our communities, and our schools.
Do you believe that there should be a cap on how much money a candidate can spend on campaigning? If so, how much?
I think it's unfortunate how big of a role money plays in politics, particularly when it comes to the time it takes for candidates to raise enough money to compete in major elections. There needs to be adequate regulations in place to ensure candidates are fundraising in an ethical, transparent manner and it's important to ensure – as much as possible – a level playing field for all candidates to compete in elections.
Should Minnesota approve restrictions on gun purchases and/or ownership?
Bump stock ban? "Red flag" law to allow police to confiscate weapons from a person who is a danger to himself or others? Universal background check? Assault weapon ban?
The rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is a fundamental guarantee of our Constitution. I believe we can protect the rights and freedoms of law-abiding gun owners while also addressing the growing issue of gun violence, but only if we work together. Gun violence needs to be addressed, but that begins with enforcing our existing gun laws and preventing violent criminals and known terrorists from gaining instant access to firearms. We must also address the issue of mental health – particularly making sure our kids have access to mental health treatment in our public schools and elsewhere. I do support a reasonable ban on bump stocks and am open to a discussion on how else we can work together to end the violence in our communities while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners, hunters, sportsmen and women, and collectors.
Should Immigration Customs Enforcement -- ICE -- be abolished, and replaced with a different agency to control immigration crimes?
No. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) is critical for securing our borders and carrying out the laws of the United States along our borders and at our ports of entry. For the safety and security of those we represent, we must have a robust, dedicated agency responsible for protecting our borders and supporting a strong, dignified, and safe immigration system. The brave men and women of ICE are performing this essential public safety service to the best of their abilities. Abolishing the agency could have extremely dangerous consequences in our nation's ability to combat drug and human trafficking and the enforcement of our laws.
When politicians refer to negative stories as "fake news", do you believe it?
It is important we do not dilute the outstanding job done by many in the media – and the many talented journalists right here in Minnesota – but in an age of 24/7, ratings-driven cable news media coverage, it is also essential we work together to protect journalistic integrity. An independent, fair, and free press is critical to a functioning democracy.
Should the President be permitted to unilaterally raise tariffs on US imports, or should Congress be required to vote before tariffs are imposed?
I believe we must afford the president flexibility and trust in negotiating trade deals that benefit the American worker, and it is the role of Congress to make sure those deals are being carried out appropriately. I'm a believer in free trade, but it also has to be fair; American workers can compete with anyone around the globe as long as we are playing by the same sets of rules. The president has shown he is able to get major players like Mexico to the table, and I'm hopeful he can follow through in attaining an equitable trade agreement with our important trade partners like Mexico, Canada, and China.
Should able-bodied Medicaid recipients be required to work?
It is important we make sure taxpayer-funded social welfare programs are being used responsibly and by those who truly need the assistance. However, the reality is these types of programs are ripe for abuse. We must do all we can to prevent fraud and waste and imposing a work requirement for able-bodied adults is one option that deserves serious consideration. We must afford states the ability to decide whether or not to implement a work requirement, but exceptions for the elderly, children, pregnant women, and those with disabilities must always remain in place.
Do you believe North Korea will "denuclearize," as President Trump says it will?
President Trump's meeting with the North Korean leader was an historic moment that signaled a breakthrough in our pursuit of security and prosperity abroad, but the North Korean government needs to follow through on its commitment to work with us on full denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The North Korean government is a brutal regime responsible for depriving its citizens of even the most basic human rights – and significant changes will have to take place before any lasting peace between our two nations is possible.
Do you believe in climate change, and should the U.S. rejoin the Paris climate accords?
The ineffective Paris Agreement would have cost the American people trillions of dollars, killed jobs, and hindered the oil, gas, coal and manufacturing industries. It is a global deal with potentially-profound negative consequences for American workers – and a deal in which other major countries have no interest in abiding by in good faith. Instead, I believe in a balanced approach to climate policy that lowers emissions, promotes economic growth, and ensures energy security.
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