Residents of Senate District 36 (which includes Champlin, Brooklyn Park and a portion of Coon Rapids) will vote Tuesday, Nov. 3, in the general election.

Those candidates appearing on the ballot include Karen Attia incumbent John Hoffman.

The candidates were asked to include their thoughts in statements. Each were asked to include a short biography of themselves and their backgrounds as well as their personal and professional experiences. They were also asked to comment on two questions that were asked. (See questions belows in each statement).

The responses received include:

Karen Attia

Biographical info:

Address:  ​11917 Louisiana Circle, Champlin, Mn 55316

Education:  ​Nursing Diploma Occupation:​ Critical Care Registered Nurse & small business owner

Community involvement:  Volunteered by overseeing high school players’ safety during sporting events.  Church - positions held -  Council Secretary and Deacon of the Congregational Care, Organized blood drives, taught training in AED, ensured the well-being of vulnerable members. Legal guardian of a brother with handicaps.

1. What is your assessment of state government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including the governor’s use of executive orders and the Legislature’s actions.

I would give MN an initial B. In an effort to slow the spread and give hospitals time to build up supplies, the whole state was shut down by executive order. Since then, it became clear most vulnerable are those over age 70 with co-morbidities. Later, F as we discover that while knowing the danger, protecting nursing homes was not a priority, when instead those recovering from Covid were placed in them. Continuing the Peacetime Emergency Orders yet, using ever-changing goals, has been devastating to our economy and with rules put in place unfairly impacting small businesses resulting in many closures and our state faces an increasing debt. The legislature has the power to stop the Governor’s use of these emergency powers mandates/orders and as a senator, one of my first actions will be to vote to end the emergency powers. This extended use of them long after necessary has shut out the voice of the people and limited the effectiveness of our government.

2. How can state government assist in improving police relations with diverse communities in Minnesota and address the larger issue of systemic racism?                     

 Each city or community can and is already working on ways to improve police relations and that is where it starts. In our district, the city of Brooklyn Park has many innovative initiatives in place now.  Concerning systemic racism, first of all what is the definition?  If it involves equal opportunity in employment, housing and criminal justice, we already have laws that require equal opportunity in each of these areas. Criminal justice laws have been addressed by our lawmakers in Washington most recently with the passage of the 2nd Chance Legislation. Penalties certainly need to be reviewed and I look forward to that work as a senator. In Minnesota, the Police Accountability legislation has passed. I would have voted for that. To move toward a better life for all, this discussion needs to start with calm, respectful communication in our communities to hear the voices from all sides. ​Rioting and looting or defunding police departments is absolutely the wrong action to take.

John Hoffman

Biographical info:

Address: 8224 109Th Place N, Champlin MN 55316

Education: BA University of St. Mary’s. Advanced Certificate Energy Policy University of Idaho

Employment: Director of Business Development; State Senator representing Coon Rapids, Champlin and Brooklyn Park; Minnesota’s Workforce Development task force and Chair of the Governor’s Developmental Disabilities Council; and served as Vice Chair of the Anoka Hennepin School Board

Contact information:

1. What is your assessment of state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the governor’s use of executive orders and the Legislature’s actions?

The COVID-19 peacetime emergency allowed Minnesota to take swift action to protect the health and well-being of our communities, businesses, and families. This pandemic is not over, given the fact all around us we see an increase in the virus, and we must continue to work together to put public health first. Moreover, during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, important orders that would end include waived program requirements to conform with an enhanced federal match for public programs. This ensured access creating enhancements for services such as nursing homes, mental health, and childcare centers and to allow some critical services to be delivered through telemedicine, providing flexibilities in licensing requirements that otherwise make these services impossible to access. Eligible laid off workers were able to access Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits and businesses’ “experience ratings” would not be impacted when former workers were provided UI benefits during the pandemic.

2. How can state government assist in improving police relations with diverse communities in Minnesota and address the larger issue of systemic racism?

We need to assure the Human Rights Commissions that operate in Cities have the direct access to the City Manager as this is not consistent throughout the State. We need to be able to give our law enforcement personnel more tools in their tool belt as the amount of calls and complexity of calls have changed.  Over 50% of all Police involved constituent deaths are people with disabilities. There is an increased need to get Peace Officers the support as well as increasing the training with and partnership of Mental Health professionals and social workers with law enforcement and first responders.  Our recruitment efforts should mirror our communities and those efforts need to be supported by State Government. There are cities right here in Minnesota that have taken that proactive approach not only in recruitment but also in how they operate through a transparent council and accountability.

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