St Cloud Times Endorses Tarryl Clark and Larry Haws
Our view: District's best bets on special election ballot: Clark, Haws
Times editorial board
With full awareness that the Minnesota Supreme Court could shake things up in the next few days, the Times Editorial Board today endorses Larry Haws for House District 15B and Tarryl Clark for Senate District 15 in the Dec. 27 special elections.
Party-line voters either can shake their heads in agreement or run screaming from the room, but we believe these two DFL candidates are best qualified to represent their respective districts.
Clark for Senate
We like Clark for her many strengths. Having spent 18 years in St. Cloud, she knows the needs of a regional center. Working as a lobbyist in St. Paul, she has a solid grasp on how the Capitol operates. While her enemies are trying to paint her as fiscally liberal, there is nothing to indicate that's true.
She shows strong support for and a good understanding of how to improve public education. She also wants to make sure the most vulnerable Minnesotans are treated fairly. But she is equally aware that unchecked spending is not a realistic option, especially in the current legislative environment.
Her main counterpart, Dan "Ox" Ochsner, is a staunch fiscal conservative working hard to portray himself as a reformer in the mold of former seat-holder Dave Kleis.
He makes a good point about ending partisanship by having lawmakers represent their districts, not their parties. But he backslides quite a bit in praising the success of "no new taxes" in resolving the state's deficits and advocating the state's school year be based on what the tourism industry wants. Such positions are more about party lines than regional representation.
This board also has reservations about Ochsner's leadership given his job is to lead a partisan radio show that includes segments perceived by many as minimizing minority groups. Ochsner says his bits only promote equality. However, if he's really as in touch with "regular people" as he claims, he would know a good portion of them don't see it that way.
Dan Becker is running as the Independence Party candidate in this race. He has a reasonable message about eliminating special-interest money from the Legislature, but he also suggests the state raise its revenues in part by only allowing some businesses to operate if they share profits with the state. That's unreasonable.
Haws in the House
The legal battle about the residency of Republican candidate Sue Ek is dominating this race.
Regardless of what the courts decide, Haws is the better candidate. Of all the candidates interviewed in both races, he has the best perspective on how local, county and state governments are connected.
For example, in the wake of the recent news that the state has a budget surplus, he aptly pointed out how counties are now struggling with higher bills for jails because the Legislature shifted its costs to counties a few years ago.
Overall, Haws has a wealth of ideas on how to help everything from regional transportation projects to health care access.
As for Ek, the question rages about whether she is a St. Cloud or St. Paul resident. Regardless of the courts, just know this:
When asked by the board about recent education issues, she said she had not heard of the plan to extend the school year five weeks, she did not know that an education group with strong local ties recently asked for $1 billion more in statewide funding, and she said, "St. Cloud should look into joining Q-Comp."
St. Cloud did. The governor was just here presenting the district with a check for $2.52 million.
From the comments on Dan Ochsner:
Hawkeye from St. Cloud
"This board also has reservations about Ochsner's leadership given his job is to lead a partisan radio show that includes segments perceived by many as minimizing minority groups. Ochsner says his bits only promote equality. However, if he's really as in touch with "regular people" as he claims, he would know a good portion of them don't see it that way." This is the problem I have with Ochsner. I listened to his show for one 30 minute segment about 18 months ago and was repulsed by his disparaging remarks about minorities. IMO, Ochsner will only get votes from "straight-ticket" Republicans who know nothing about him other than the radio sound bite ads and the mailers arriving daily from the GOP. They probably have not recognized his featherbrained KNSI billboard ads and associated that goofball image with the sanitized coat-and-tie portrait on his flyers.
Dan Becker (IP candidate) isn't happy with MCCL:
Dan Becker from St. Cloud
Mark. I see the MCCL as a special interest group. I wouldn't take a penny from them. However, I am anti-abortion and agree with them on their pro-life positions. In their mailing with questions, they had a deadline for it to be in. I received the mailing the day after that deadline. This is a fraction of the behavior that troubles me about the political process relating to the special interest groups. This statement helps expose the behavior. If I were not in this race, people can only assume what is going on.
More comments here.