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Incumbent Republican Roger Chamberlain, of Lino Lakes, faces DFL challenger Justin Stofferahn, of White Bear Township, in Senate District 38. Chamberlain was elected in 2010, then reelected in 2012 and 2016. The district includes all or parts of Blaine, Circle Pines, Lino Lakes, Centerville, North Oaks, White Bear Lake, Hugo, Dellwood and Mahtomedi.

Roger Chamberlain

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Roger Chamberlain

Age: 57

Residence: Lino Lakes

Family: My wife Annette and I live in Lino Lakes. We have two children.

Education: B.S. in accounting from Metropolitan State University.

Occupation: I worked in tax compliance for Buca Restaurants and Ameriprise Financial before becoming a financial advisor for Thrivent Financial. I’m a veteran of the Navy and Army National Guard. I chair the Minnesota Senate Tax Committee and serve on the committees on Education and Commerce.

Years lived in district: 16 years in Lino Lakes

Community involvement (top 3): Board member, Life Prep Academy, a non-profit serving homeless youth; Community/park clean up in White Bear Lake; Volunteered at homeless shelter in Hugo

Assess state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the governor’s use of executive orders and the Legislature’s actions:

When we became aware of COVID-19, there were a lot of unknowns and uncertainty. The early response by Minnesota was correct, i.e. put things on hold and learn what we can; flatten the curve and provide support to allow the health care system to prepare. All of that was accomplished. However, sadly, 80% of the deaths were in long-term care facilities. What we know now gives us confidence that emergency powers can end, the governor should again work with the legislature to stay prepared while allowing people to move back to normalizing their lives and living.

What is the best way for state government to support the economy going forward?

Before COVID-19 and riots, our economy was strong and the state finances were good. That has changed dramatically. We need to give people hope and confidence we will be OK, get businesses open again, slow state spending, no tax increases. Mid to long term, continue workforce development.

What, if anything, should the state do to assist in improving police relations with diverse communities in Minnesota and address the larger issue of systemic racism?

The men and women in law enforcement are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, our friends and neighbors. The vast majority of Minnesotans trust their local law enforcement and the safety they provide. The overwhelming majority of officers work hard and do the right thing. Local communities govern a great deal of officer conduct. That said, I supported the accountability and training reforms we passed in July 2020. Education is vital to success and opportunity. Parents need more control, more choice, self-determination for their child’s education. Over 75% of Black and Hispanic families support more choice and control. In the end, government can do things to address the societal issues we face, but government cannot solve all problems or guarantee happiness. However, we can provide the framework allowing people to safely live, make their own choices and pursue their dreams.

What other priorities would you like to address if elected?

Public safety: ensure we have and maintain safe communities; criminal justice reform, human trafficking. Education: education is the great equalizer. I want to improve opportunities for all children by ensuring equal funding for schools (equalization) by continuing to address dyslexia and improve literacy, get to 90% proficiency; empowering parents and educators to drive innovation and improve results. Health care: continue our successful work on reducing health care costs, similar to reforms we passed for Pharmacy Benefit Managers that are reducing prescription drug prices. Economy: work to restore confidence and pre-COVID-19 economy. Mental health of our children and impact of social media on kids.

Justin Stofferahn

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Justin Stofferahn

Age: 32

Residence: White Bear Township

Family: Wife, Marissa and two children, Freddy (5 years) and Verity (10 months)

Education: Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Humphrey School of Public Affairs, BA in Political Science

Occupation: Research Analyst, BlueGreen Alliance

Years lived in district: 3

Community involvement (top 3): Member of MN Main Street Alliance Advisory Board; member of White Bear Township Economic Development Advisory Board; Board Member, Giving Gardens

Contact information: 612-594-1252; info@justinstofferahn.com

Assess state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the governor’s use of executive orders and the Legislature’s actions:

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been measured and grounded in the advice of public health experts, which has kept Minnesota from experiencing the spike in cases seen in other parts of the country that have caused further economic damage. Unfortunately, the state’s response to helping small businesses weather this crisis was too little, too late. It wasn’t until this summer that state grant funds were made available to impacted businesses and it was just recently that local governments received a distribution of federal dollars for small business relief, which could have happened months ago. The Governor’s executive actions increased access to unemployment insurance, enabled the procurement of needed testing supplies and PPE, allowed for development of school safety standards and more. The legislature retains all powers to pass legislation related to the crisis. If the Senate were to take this public health crisis seriously and put forth an actual plan for how Minnesota would handle the pandemic absent the Governor’s emergency powers, I would support such an approach.

What is the best way for state government to support the economy going forward?

We must continue to manage the pandemic. What is good for public health is good for the economy moving forward. Rebuilding our economy in a way that provides opportunity to every Minnesotan will require strengthening our small businesses and workers. COVID-19 has revealed and made impossible to ignore the systemic vulnerabilities our workers and small businesses are navigating. The share of workers employed by small businesses and the rate of new business formation (startups are the primary job creators in the economy) were at record lows prior to COVID-19, leaving Minnesota with an economy dominated by ever larger corporations. In order to increase competition and give small businesses a chance to thrive, we must expand technical assistance, increase access to capital, invest in innovation and create a fairer regulatory environment. For years, workers in Minnesota have seen wages stagnate, benefits get pared back and instability increase. Workers need expanded access to paid leave, targeted tax relief and basic workplace protections.

What, if anything, should the state do to assist in improving police relations with diverse communities in Minnesota and address the larger issue of systemic racism?

Minnesota should continue to work on the long list of criminal justice reforms proposed by the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus in the Legislature that will increase accountability, enhance citizen oversight and raise standards of conduct and support officer excellence. The state must also pursue criminal justice reforms that can help reduce officers’ caseloads and prioritize and address community mental health needs that are best addressed outside the criminal justice system. The solutions to our state’s chronic racial inequities cannot be properly discussed in less than 150 words, but it will require making equity a key piece of designing policy as these inequities impact every issue from education to health care to the economy.

What other priorities would you like to address if elected?

In the State Senate I would work to fix our broken health care system in Minnesota. That starts by continuing to support efforts that leverage the unique resources we have in Minnesota such as the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. I will also advocate for expanding access to affordable coverage by allowing every Minnesotan to purchase into the MinnesotaCARE program. I will also pursue reforms that can help drive down the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs and curb the abusive market power of pharmacy benefit managers. Finally, I will pursue the use of reforms that states like Connecticut and Maryland have implemented to curb the market power of hospital systems, create greater transparency in hospital pricing and help drive down the cost of hospital care.

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