Three candidates are seeking the Minnesota House District 63B seat in the Nov. 3 election. Democratic candidate Emma Greenman, Republican candidate Frank Pafko and Legal Marijuana Now candidate Dennis Schuller are seeking the seat held by Jean Wagenius, who is retiring. The district represents portions of Richfield and Minneapolis.

Emma Greenman

Emma Greenman

Emma Greenman

City of residence: Minneapolis

Education: J.D., University of California, Berkeley

Occupation: Voting rights lawyer

Community involvement: American Constitution Society, Minneapolis-St. Paul Lawyers Chapter; The Moving Company Theatre; Senate District 63 DFL

Contact information: emma@emmagreenman.com

How should the 2021 Legislature handle the budget issues and meet school and societal needs caused by COVID-19?

In this time of uncertainty, we must work together to harness the power of us to build a Minnesota where everyone thrives with no exceptions. The global pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives and further revealed that our systems aren’t working for many people. I will fight for structural changes that put people and communities first and work for a budget that fully funds public education, ensures every family can afford quality health care, child care and housing, addresses the climate crisis and tackles the racial and economic inequality holding our state back. This moment is too urgent for tinkering around the margins: Minnesota kids, families and communities need bold leadership, bold action and long-term investments. We can make that change together.

Will you support the passage of a bonding bill in 2021 or 2022? If so, where should the priorities be?

With Minnesota’s AAA bond rating and interest rates at record lows, the legislature should not wait until 2021 to send the governor a large bonding bill. In the midst of the pandemic and its impact on the economy, health, safety and livelihoods of many, we need a large, balanced statewide bonding bill that invests in Minnesota’s future.

Our bonding priorities should reflect our values and the priorities of local communities, including transit, roads, bridges, clean and safe water, affordable housing options, community assets and retrofitting for our public buildings to reduce energy consumption and provide access for every member of our community. I will fight to use our bonding authority to stimulate our economic recovery, support small businesses and create high-quality, family-supporting jobs. Together, we will build healthy, equitable, inclusive and thriving communities in every part of Minnesota.

Frank Pafko

Frank Pafko

Frank Pafko

City of residence: Richfield

Education: Bachelor of science in fisheries, University of Minnesota, 1975

Occupation: Retired, MnDOT aquatic biologist / manager / chief environmental officer

Community involvement: Volunteer, St. Michaels Lutheran; Transportation activist

Contact information: pafko4house@gmail.com

How should the 2021 Legislature handle the budget issues and meet school and societal needs caused by COVID-19?

Minnesota has gone from a billion dollar surplus to a multi-billion dollar deficit, due solely to the emergency orders of Tim Walz. Massive tax increases to fund the deficit and pay for new spending will further damage our economic recovery. My 36 years of experience in state government prepared me to reduce waste and deliver government services more efficiently. State programs that are merely nice to have need to be cut in order to preserve essential services. Tax increases may be needed, but must be limited, and only implemented after major belt tightening of state expenses. Our public schools were failing many of our students prior to this emergency. E-learning is now leaving even more students behind. We cannot continue to fund failure, we must provide education choice. Use existing state education aid, provided to the student, not the school district, so the parents can choose the correct individual education plan for their child.

Will you support the passage of a bonding bill in 2021 or 2022? If so, where should the priorities be?

Passage of a state bonding bill is important, but must be passed only after the next, balanced, biennial budget is approved. We cannot commit to additional debt service until we know how much revenue is left to pay off these bonds. Project selection should fund only critical infrastructure needs which would directly improve our economic recovery. Cost benefit should be the primary selection criteria. The most critical need is to improve internet and WiFi services to enhance student e-learning. Funding projects which do not provide future economic benefits and/or require continual public operating subsidies, such as the passenger train to Duluth, are not justified in this economic environment.

Dennis Schuller

Dennis Schuller

Dennis Schuller

City of residence: Richfield

Education: Completed certified training in recording at McNally Smith College of Music and additional management training

Occupation: Media producer

Community involvement: I was a planning commissioner in Richfield for six years. I worked in the early stages of the street corridor revitalization plan and did airport noise mitigation for local residents.

Contact information: mn63b@dennisschuller.com

How should the 2021 Legislature handle the budget issues and meet school and societal needs caused by COVID-19?

Through natural disasters, wars, recessions and all sorts of violent crime for the last 100 years the government has imposed a war on the citizens by creating unjust laws about marijuana. COVID is just the latest reason to look past this travesty. The government has to change on a fundamental level and support individual efforts instead of making laws to create criminals out of normal people who use medicinal herbs. Specific to COVID-19, we need to listen to our experts who recommend masks and limiting some social conditions and prioritize contact tracing and testing. In addition we need to work towards a COVID cure, make the facts clear and have public safety communications with people about how to protect yourself and possibly mandate some limitations to curb the spread, but we can’t stop life. People still need to go places like work and do things like shop and generally live their lives but at least we can stop making life more difficult through unjust laws.

Will you support the passage of a bonding bill in 2021 or 2022? If so, where should the priorities be?

Yes, I will support a bonding bill, however we need to change the way we invest to be less reliant on borrowing money and more focused on creating wealth through our people. Access to health care, education and clean water, safe communities and maintained facilities and roads are all key, but an investment plan to create a way to fund projects in the future without borrowing money is key to returning Minnesota to the role of an innovation leader rather than a follower of bad policy. We need to stop selling out future generations and stand up and be visionary. I disagree with the focus on overpriced high-density housing; people need space and high rises should be built with quality in mind, ample floor plans and integrated gardens and better approaches to water management.

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