Lindsey Port, Kevin Shea and Richard Tucker, all of Burnsville, are seeking the DFL nomination for the District 56 Senate seat in the Aug. 11 primary election. The winner will face Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville.

District 56 includes most of central and southern Burnsville, all of Savage and part of northwest Lakeville.

Lindsey Port

Address: 912 Crystal Lake Road W., Burnsville

Age: 38

Family: Husband Steve Port, two young daughters

Endorsements: DFL, Minnesota Young DFL, Stonewall DFL, DFL Environmental Caucus, Latino DFL Caucus, current Senate District 56 Reps. Hunter Cantrell and Dr. Alice Mann, current Sens. Matt Little and Scott Dibble, former Reps. Will Morgan and Erin Murphy, SD56 Rep. candidates Jess Hanson and Kaela Berg, Minnesota AFL-CIO, Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), Council 5 AFSCME, Sierra Club, MN 350 Action, Moms Demand Action, Protect Minnesota Orange Star Candidate, Take Action MN, Outfront Minnesota Action, Women Winning, Emily’s List

Experience and qualifications: Active in the district as a volunteer since 2012, I’ve been listening to voters for nearly a decade. Served as a leader on former Rep. Will Morgan’s 2014 campaign. Ran in 2016, building critical infrastructure and widening the scope of people engaged in electoral politics. After recruiting Reps. Alice Mann and Hunter Cantrell, I was an active volunteer on their campaigns. In 2017, I founded and currently serve as executive director of a nonprofit whose focus is training and coaching community leaders around the state to help increase diversity in elected office, volunteer leaders, and political staff.

Why should voters choose you in this intraparty primary election?

I’m proud to be the DFL-endorsed candidate, and to be endorsed by the others listed above.

I’m running for state senator for District 56 because our community has become more diverse since our current senator was first elected 10 years ago. It’s time we have representation that listens to the entire community and will take our voices to the Capitol and fight for us. This is a time of big challenges, and we need legislators who can make the bold choices needed. As the mother of two school-age children, and also a business owner and executive in a nonprofit I founded, I’ve experienced the difficulties facing families and businesses. I know what’s at stake, I’m ready, and I’m asking for your vote.

Assess state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the governor’s use of executive orders and the Legislature’s actions. How can state government can support the economy during the pandemic?

Gov. Walz has orchestrated a collaboration among state, public, private, and nonprofit groups. These players include experts at the Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota, as well as our state’s distinguished Department of Health. Based on emerging data and evolving models, the governor has judiciously used his peacetime emergency powers. On a bipartisan basis, some legislation has been passed to provide emergency relief to various businesses and services. As a result of these multiple efforts, Minnesota has avoided the kinds of outcomes seen in some other states. Effective management of the pandemic is the key to restoring the economy.

What is the role for state government in police relations with diverse communities in Minnesota and in addressing the larger issue of systemic racism?

The passage of the Minnesota Police Accountability Act was a good first step. It bans chokeholds, neck restraints, and warrior training; includes money for crisis intervention training; and improves data collection on deadly-force encounters. But we must do more to address systemic racism generally. In Minnesota, minorities are disadvantaged in health, health care access, educational achievement, housing, employment (with effects on income), and in the criminal justice system. State government is uniquely positioned to make the changes that will address such problems. With the late Paul Wellstone, I believe that we all do better when we all do better.

What other priorities do you hope to address if elected?

Education: Funding for education has been pushed onto local communities in ways that create opportunity gaps based on a child’s ZIP code. I call for the state to fully fund public education and universal pre-K.

Health care: COVID-19 taught us the cost of linking insurance to employment, as Minnesotans lost their jobs and their insurance as well. Let’s provide an option to buy into MinnesotaCare and create a path to MinnesotaCare for all. Health care is a human right.

Common-sense gun legislation: Background checks on all gun sales and red flag laws are effective measures that will address the problem of gun violence.

Protecting our environment: Minnesota is blessed with great natural beauty. Action is needed now to protect our soil, air, and waters.

Kevin Shea

Address: 15101 Wildwood Road, Burnsville

Age: 64

Family: Wife of 35 years Jane LaLonde Shea; five children — RJ, Kelsey, Meghan, Corrigan and Nolan

Experience and qualifications: My wife, Jane LaLonde Shea, and I have made Burnsville our home for over 35 years; we raised our five children in Burnsville. I am a lifelong DFLer. Our family has been active in our community and church including serving on our school’s education board, volunteering, coaching multiple Burnsville-Savage athletic teams, and religious ed teacher. Additionally, I am an attorney, who founded and grew my own small business — I am the only candidate (DFL or GOP) with both legal and business experience. Throughout my career I have built a reputation of finding solutions to intricate problems, in sometimes adversarial environments. I believe this makes me well suited to deal with the back-and-forth inherent to the legislative process.

Why should voters choose you in this intraparty primary election?

As an attorney, I built a successful career in negotiating complex issues with opposing parties, to find consensus without compromising core values. People are tired of partisanship from a no-results Legislature, but because I am not a career politician tied to special interests, I will be a senator who can reach across the aisle to find common ground to accomplish the goals of the residents of District 56. The people of the district have told me about their priorities for top-notch education, accessible and affordable healthcare, reversing climate change, and racial justice/police reform among other issues. I know the issues, I understand our community, have tested judgment and real-world experience in getting the job done. I will work diligently to move our district forward.

Assess state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the governor’s use of executive orders and the Legislature’s actions. How can state government can support the economy during the pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has sunk us into the greatest recession since the Great Depression. With Gov. Walz’s leadership, Minnesota has succeeded in lowering the curve, thus minimizing COVID cases and deaths. Today, we are one of a few states that has managed the pandemic effectively (although not without pain to our economy and Minnesotans). The state government can support the economy with a robust bonding bill, (which failed in the Senate during the second special session), since the best way out of a recession is to build our way out of it, by creating good jobs and enhancing our infrastructure.

What is the role for state government in police relations with diverse communities in Minnesota and in addressing the larger issue of systemic racism?

“This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or the tranquilizing drug of gradualism” — Martin Luther King during the 1960s civil rights movement. However, these words still ring true today. We must take clear and decisive action to remedy systemic racial injustices, including: police training on racial bias and use of force; recruitment of police officers of color; emphasis on “community policing;” police misconduct investigations and prosecution by the BCA and attorney general. Even though the Legislature did not pass all these measures, as DFL Rep. Rena Moran said, “This is a beginning, this is not an end.”

What other priorities do you hope to address if elected?

The onset of the coronavirus and the killing of George Floyd have changed the legislative agenda; thus, pulling Minnesota out of the “corona-recession” plus racial justice reforms will be a priority for me as your senator. However, we must not lose sight of needed progress on accessible and affordable universal health care, reducing prescription drug costs, increased education funding, reversing climate change, family leave and other pressing issues. Sadly, in the last four years many important initiatives have died in the GOP Senate. We need to restore a platform that makes Minnesota the true North Star State again, so that all can thrive. Together, let’s keep Minnesota moving forward.

Richard Tucker

Address: 14522 Hunters Lane, Savage

Age: 64

Family: Married to Donna Nesbitt-Tucker, we have a blended family of six children and seven grandchildren

Experience and qualifications: As a Realtor and a managing broker, I have worked in and with the communities south of the river for the past 20 years. I have been actively involved in community development, working with programs such as the Burnsville Convening Project which promoted the advantages of building and growing businesses in Burnsville. My primary focus has been around education, promoting Burnsville and ISD191. I was honored to be awarded the Starfish Award by Burnsville’s Mayor Kautz for that work. That effort continued with Burnsville Promise, an organization that worked with the community and ISD 191 to help students understand what job and career opportunities are open to them and the pathways they can follow to achieve their goals. A past president of the St. Paul Association of Realtors. I have a B.A. in economics from Bates College in Lewiston Maine.

Endorsements: No response

Why should voters choose you in this intraparty primary election?

I am the best candidate to represent District 56 and I will tell you why. As a lifelong Democrat I have deeply held core beliefs that all people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, regardless of race or ethnicity, creed or religion are entitled to dignity and equality. Our society has a duty and responsibility to protect the most vulnerable. A responsibility to provide a quality public education, and access to health care. We must protect the environment and preserve the climate for future generations.

I bring a background of listening and learning, of being a change leader, a negotiator and a coalition builder. We are at a time where we can bring about significant change if we are willing to work together. That is why I am the best candidate to represent District 56 in the general election.

Assess state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the governor’s use of executive orders and the Legislature’s actions. How can the state government support the economy during the pandemic?

It is unfortunate that the efforts to contain the virus became politicized both nationally and locally. The governor took prudent action based on scientific understanding at the time. A united voice calling for masks and respect for the science would have been enormously helpful in saving lives, allowing us to open sooner and to begin planning for students to go back to school. The loss of work and health care has been greatest on those who could least afford it. Unemployment insurance must continue and must get to those who need it most. Food and shelter should be our priority. Putting money in the hands of those who will spend it also stimulates our consumer-driven economy.

What is the role for state government in police relations with diverse communities in Minnesota and in addressing the larger issue of systemic racism?

Systemic racism is real and manifests itself in employment, education, housing, health care and police policy. The state has a responsibility to establish not just policy but the legal framework to make the changes required. The recent bill passed by the legislature was a good first step. Changes to the cash bail system and other accountability measures are still needed. There is, however, no one piece of legislation that will change the deeply rooted system that we see today. It will take a broad coalition of the community to decide that change is needed. The time has come. State government has the bully pulpit to lead the way.

What other priorities do you hope to address if elected?

Education is the foundational framework that our society is built on. All children deserve a quality education. It levels the field and creates opportunity across all backgrounds. While that may be the promise, it is not the reality here in Minnesota. My priority will be to work on ways to change the significant disparities that exist in our educational system. While the state has failed to appropriately fund the mandates it requires, it has also allowed the economic disparity to erode the foundational principal of equity within our schools. The Federal Reserve report and Page-Kashkari Amendment bring much-needed focus to a problem that will be my priority to work on.

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