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Tina Smith: 2018 Election Guide

WCCO Campaign 2018 Election Guide

Welcome to'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 Tina Smith 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 Tina Smith, DFL candidate for U.S Senate:

Do you support legalization of the recreational use of marijuana?

This is a conversation that we need to have for a couple of reasons. First, attitudes are changing across the country and there is an opportunity to learn from the experiences of states that have moved forward with taking marijuana off the controlled substance list. Second, we need research to find out if this will result in eliminating some of the deeply rooted injustices in our laws, particularly for low level drug offenses, and move toward a fairer and more just society.

Do you believe that there should be a cap on how much money a candidate can spend on campaigning? If so, how much?

We need to prioritize ending the influence of corporate special interests and secret money on politicians by limiting the amount of money they can spend on political campaigns. It's time that we work to amplify the voices of Minnesotans. That's why I support a Constitutional Amendment that reverses the Citizens United decision. I'm working to make organizations that buy ads online disclose who they are and who funds their efforts. I'm also working to enact a small donor matching program to help amplify the impact of working families who want to support a candidate and restore the Voter Rights Act to improve voter registration and engagement.

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?

I support the 2nd Amendment – and our sportsmen and sportswomen throughout Minnesota—and I also believe that we need to pass common sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. In the Senate, I support bills that expand background checks on all gun sales, ban the sale of bump stocks, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. I'm also supporting Sen. Klobuchar's measure that would ban convicted stalkers from purchasing firearms, and I would support similar measures that keep weapons out of the hands of people who are dangerous to themselves and others. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their schools, communities, and places of worship, and it is time to take action on this issue because the livelihoods of Minnesotans are at stake.

Should Immigration Customs Enforcement -- ICE -- be abolished, and replaced with a different agency to control immigration crimes?

We need to create a fair immigration process that ensures the wellbeing of all families and prevents the wrong people from coming to this country, that includes reforming ICE and immigration enforcement.  Since joining the Senate, I've voted to improve border security with an additional $25 billion in funding. We also need a tough but fair path to citizenship for people who have lived and worked here – and we need to implement a commonsense solution for children who are brought to this country. I've introduced a bill called the HELP Separated Children Act which would create a fair process that respects all families and makes sure that children can communicate with their parents if their parents are involved in immigration enforcement action.

When politicians refer to negative stories as "fake news", do you believe it?

No. Our democracy depends on a free and independent press.  When politicians call reporting they don't like "fake news," they undermine trust in our civic organizations for their own political gain. We need to find ways to disagree with each other but also stick to the facts.

Should the President be permitted to unilaterally raise tariffs on US imports, or should Congress be required to vote before tariffs are imposed?

Trade is vital to Minnesota's businesses and farmers.  But trade needs to be fair, and all parties need to play by the rules.  When other countries cheat, we enforce the rules and stand up for ourselves.  Congress has an important role to make sure that our trade policy works for Minnesota's workers, small businesses, farmers, and the environment. I have voted in favor of supporting the role of Congress in trade policy, and imposing tariffs. Congress has an important role to play overseeing trade policy advanced by President Trump. As U.S. Senator, I have pushed the Trump Administration to explain the strategy around tariffs, and how we can move forward toward fair trade.

Should able-bodied Medicaid recipients be required to work?

Most people who receive Medicaid are seniors, children or people living with disabilities. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, most people who receive Medicaid and can work do work. The problem is that people can't afford health care. Health care is a basic human right, and no one should have to choose between paying for health care and buying groceries or paying rent. Of those who aren't working, the vast majority are in school or are unable to work because of illness, disability, or caregiving responsibilities. I do not support proposals that create new bureaucracies that will cost taxpayer money, and create more red tape. I don't support proposals that cost Minnesota more to cover fewer people. The Republicans included a proposal like this in their bill to Repeal and Replace the Affordable Care Act. While I was not in the Senate at the time, I would have voted against that bill.

Do you believe North Korea will "denuclearize," as President Trump says it will?

Our goal should be to secure lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, and a North Korea without nuclear weapons is good. President Trump was incorrect when he said in June that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat. We need to engage in diplomacy to resolve this challenge, and achieve our goals.

Do you believe in climate change, and should the U.S. rejoin the Paris climate accords?

Climate change is real and poses a threat to our economy and our health. The question before us is what will we do to move our state and country toward a clean energy future. I support keeping the U.S. in the Paris Climate Agreement and I strongly oppose President Trump's proposed cuts to energy efficiency and renewable energy. As Senator, I am working to keep auto efficiency standards and support for clean energy like wind, solar and biofuels.  We need to lead the way towards clean, affordable, reliable energy, which will create jobs and make us more competitive. As Lt. Gov., I led the fight to raise Minnesota's Renewable Energy Standard to fifty percent by 2030, and I continue to work on this goal in Congress.

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