Residents of District 36A (which includes Champlin and a portion of Coon Rapids) will vote Tuesday, Nov. 3, in the general election to fill the Minnesota House of Representative seat for District 36A.

Bill Maresh and incumbent Zack Stephenson are on the ballot.

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:

Bill Maresh

Biographical info:

Address: Champlin, Minnesota

Family: Wife, Julie; Four Children – Tony, Michael, Danielle and Sam

Education: Master’s Degree

Employment: Teacher and coach

Community involvement: High School Teacher, Coach (wrestling, football), Sunday School Teacher

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 Walz Administration made mistakes in returning COVID infected patients to nursing homes to infect others and was slow to alter this plan. My biggest critic of the Walz response has been their unilateral decision making and slow response to new information. We can do better by hearing from more voices and involving the legislature.

2. How can state government assist in improving police relations with diverse communities in Minnesota and address the larger issue of systemic racism? (Maximum 150 words)

First and foremost, we need to stop demonizing police and should reject radical proposals embraced by Democrats that call for defunding or disarming law enforcement. Improving police relations with the communities they serve should start at the local level. The state should play a role in training standards for law enforcement.

Zack Stephenson

Biographical info:

Address: Champlin, Minnesota

Family: Father of two

Education: J.D.

Employment: Prosecutor

Community involvement: Lifelong resident of the northern suburbs, father of two, member of First Congregational UCC Church in Anoka.

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 pandemic has caused an unprecedented combination of public health and  economic crises. These crises have demanded decisive action from the Governor and  Legislature, and we have responded. Governor Walz has a talented team of public health, infectious disease, and economic experts directing the state’s COVID response. This team  has let science and our best understanding of infectious diseases guide their response. They  recognize that we cannot get back to business as usual in this state until we get COVID under  control, and the measures they have implemented have helped us reduce transmission and  save lives. These included providing support to first-line responders who are temporarily  unable to work and providing extended unemployment benefits for workers who are laid off.   

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

It should not have taken the murder of George Floyd for us to have started addressing this issue. But his death makes it essential that we make real progress. There are many police officers who do great work in our community, but the actions of others who abuse their power have caused large segments of the public to lose trust with the police.  

All Minnesotans deserve to feel safe when they interact with law enforcement, but that isn’t the case for many Minnesotans of color. As a starting point, my colleagues and I in the Legislature passed broad policing reforms.  

Long term, we cannot repair relationships between police and the community if officers who have demonstrated they don’t follow rules can’t be held accountable. That is why I co-authored legislation making it easier to fire officers who break the rules.

Copyright © 2020 at Sun Newspapers/ APG Media of East Central Minnesota. Digital dissemination of this content without prior written consent is a violation of federal law and may be subject to legal action.

Load comments