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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Candidates discuss issues at forum before election

<om climate change to the economy, local and state candidates weighed in on the issues during a candidate forum hosted at Carleton College last Thursday. The forum, which was attended by both Carleton students and community members, began with the state candidates for Minnesota State House District 25B and Senate District 25.

Debate was jumpstarted by a question about health care reform, although candidates stayed on party lines. DFL party member MN State Senator Kevin Dahle, as a co-sponsor of the Minnesota Health Plan, is a proponent of the new reforms, while Republican candidate Al DeKruif said that it is in part unconstitutional because “they are forcing everyone to have [healthcare].” Instead, DeKruif encouraged more competition to bring down prices of health insurance.

John Grimm, the Independent candidate, focused on the mentally handicapped as “mentally handicapped people have no limits in how often they go to see a physician.” In order to save money, Grimm advocated for a system that regulates the office visits of the mentally handicapped.

Republican State House candidate Kelby Woodward, praising Minnesota’s healthcare, encouraged “releasing market forces on healthcare while maintaining a safety net for folks.” DFL State Representative David Bly clarified that he felt everyone should have access to healthcare, although that is not necessarily the same as health insurance.

The debate continued with the Republican and Independent candidates supporting a ballot measure to decide the legality of same-sex marriage. Both DFL incumbents feel that same-sex marriage is an equality issue. Representative Bly said that he supports same-sex marriage while Senator Dahle focused on Project 515, which advocates for domestic partnerships having the same rights as married couples.

Immigration reform was also a hot topic. Dahle and Bly both supported the DREAM Act, which would make citizenship a possibility for minors who are illegal immigrants provided that they graduate from high school and then continue on into the armed services or higher learning. The DFL members and Grimm all supported the creation of a system for those who are already here to become a part of the state. Bly also criticized NAFTA as one of the causes of illegal immigration, sparking his opponent, Woodward, to voice his support of NAFTA.

DeKruif advocated for immigration to be a federal issue as opposed to a state issue, but did say that he felt it is important not to reward illegal activity. Woodward didn’t take a stand on what should happen to current illegal immigrants, simply saying that legal immigration should be rewarded.

The local candidates took the floor next with Ward 1 and At-large Northfield City Council candidates and one of two of the District 2 Rice County Commissioner candidates. Rhonda Pownell and Norman Butler, the two At-large City Council candidates butted heads about climate change. While Butler said that he feels it “is arrogant to think that we can do a lot about it,” Pownell advocated for taking care of the water shed, encouraging the construction of more eco-friendly facilities and suggesting a partnership with Lakeville and Apple Valley.

For results from last Tuesday’s election local and national elections, “2010 Election Results.”

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