Four-term District 1B Minnesota House Rep. Deb Kiel, a rural Crookston Republican, is being challenged in the 2018 Election by DFLer Brent Lindstrom of East Grand Forks. At Monday’s Meet the Candidates Forum at UMC, they laid out differing paths for what they see as a successful future for the state. What follows is a summary of their comments, then one notable quote for each.
Deb Kiel: Kiel says she has gained experience and earned clout via various leadership and committee positions in St. Paul. She says she’s one of only four farmers in the Minnesota Legislature. She said the legislature has made strides lately when it comes to repairing roads and bridges throughout the state. Affordable healthcare for Minnesotan’s is a “huge” challenge, she said, and the challenge was made more daunting when “Obamacare” came into existence. As for a single-payer system, Kiel said there’s no way to “finance that.” Other ways to support healthcare need to be looked at. She’s not a big fan of omnibus bills several hundred pages thick that cover numerous legislative priorities, but said sometimes the circumstances of a given legislature and governor climate dictate what transpires during a session, and at the end. But, yes, she prefers “single subject” bills. One bill containing both transportation and healthcare is probably something to avoid, Kiel said. Her priorities are mental health issues, senior care and senior and vulnerable adult safety, education, careers and technology. Notable quote: “I am so proud to so that this is home.”
Brent Lindstrom: He’s an Air Force veteran, UND graduate and he works at New Flyer in Crookston. He believes in “service before self.” He’s been heavily involved in youth hockey, lacrosse and other recreation in East Grand Forks. He thinks MinnesotaCare should be expanded to grow the insurance pool and decrease costs. Nationwide, a single-payer system should be looked at, which Lindstrsom said would actually save money overall because preventative care would increase, instead of waiting to go to the emergency room. He thinks “single-subject” bills should definitely replace massive omnibus spending bills in St. Paul. He says health care facilities and nursing homes in small towns need to be supported more with better Medicare reimbursements, because they’re “drying up.” Notable quote: “I’m at the point in my life where I want to give back. I want to meet people and hear their stories.”