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Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (left) and Holly Link

In the race for Minnesota House District 48B, incumbent DFL Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn will face GOP challenger Holly Link. The General Election is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

House District 48B includes portions of Eden Prairie.

The two candidates were asked to provide biographical information and answer two questions. Their answers were edited for length and clarity.

 

Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn

Address: Eden Prairie

Education: Bachelor of arts, entrepreneurship, University of St. Thomas

Occupation: State representative, mom of four

Community involvement: Little Eagles Parental Advisory Council, Community Outreach Committee - St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

Contact information: carlie@carlieforhouse.com

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

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Minnesota, the Legislature urgently reprioritized to make the health and safety of each Minnesotan our primary focus and will continue to do so. We worked with Gov. Tim Walz to provide critical funds for supplies to our frontline workers. I authored a small-business relief grant program to allocate $60 million in federal CARES Act funding and championed $30 million of relief funding to our local childcare providers. As a parent of four children who attend Eden Prairie Public Schools, supporting our students and educators is one of my top priorities.

While our budgetary outlook is uncertain, I will continue to advocate for the needs of our community, including access to PPE, mental health services and early care and learning. This has been a difficult year, but as your state representative, I remain focused on the future of Eden Prairie.

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

Along with my DFL colleagues, I have voted twice in support of the 2020 bonding bill and will continue to support robust investments in our state infrastructure. Because a bonding bill requires a 3/5 majority vote, I hope my GOP colleagues will support passage prior to the end of this year. If consensus is not yet reached in 2020, I will advocate for a jobs and local projects bill again in 2021 and 2022 because the future of our state depends on it. The current bonding proposal includes critical projects like improvements to the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State buildings, affordable housing grants and funding for the south metro public safety training facility. Updating our aging infrastructure, safe drinking water and utility systems will help our neighbors and businesses make it through this crisis while providing family- and community-supporting wages and benefits, and we will come through stronger on the other side.

 

Holly Link

Address: Eden Prairie

Education: Ph.D. candidate in educational administration, University of Minnesota

Occupation: Experienced educator

Community involvement: Two-term Eden Prairie School Board director, board director and volunteer with the Eden Prairie AM Rotary Club.

Contact information: hollylinkmn.com

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

Facing a projected budget deficit of nearly $5 billion, a diligent Legislature will comb through all programs looking for waste, fraud and opportunities for efficiency, such as those previously identified in Health and Human Services. Nonetheless, ever-growing critical needs such as affordable housing, food and health care must be priorities.

State and federal monies have temporarily shored up business shortfalls, but the long-term solution is to safely reopen businesses as soon as possible to restore a thriving economy and provide employment, goods and services for our communities.

School districts are facing declining revenue and increasing expenses only partially covered by CARES monies. Strength-based and personalized education for each student which closes opportunity gaps is a priority for our schools, parents and students. The Legislature must examine the urgent and long-term needs of our students, the benefit and cost of current educational mandates and school districts’ ability to implement those mandates within their budget constraints.

Finally, everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy neighborhood. To that end, police and peace officers must be well-vetted, trained to meet the needs of each person in our community, build relationships within the community and be funded so they can serve well when needed.

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

The primary focus of the Legislature in 2021 will be to put forth a balanced budget to address the state’s top priorities despite a looming projected $5 billion deficit. A future bonding bill must first consider concerns of the unpassed 2020 capital budget bonding bill, which includes roads, bridges, transportation, public safety and corrections, employment and economic development, human services, natural resources and education. Bonding priorities may have shifted due to the economic and societal concerns that have surfaced during the protracted state shutdown of 2020.

 

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