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2020 Election Profile: Cynthia Ansbacher, Dist. 1B

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

Tell us about yourself, your family, education, career and political experience.

    I am Cindy Ansbacher, candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives District 1B. I have a Bachelor's of Science degree in Nursing and now I am a retired nurse who now is a DSP worker with Lutheran Social Services of MInnesota in Crookston. I was born and raised in Minneapolis. My son Benjamin (now 25yrs of age) was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. While in Florida, I continued to study and practiced nursing, with my focus on Critical Care Nursing. When my son Benjamin was young, I volunteered as a La Leche League Leader (breastfeeding counselor) and I was a Cub Scout leader for my son's Den.

    In 2006 I moved to my family's home in Crookston. Since then I have become active with the Prairie Skyline Foundation to restore the Old Cathedral on South Ash. I have also been active in local groups like: the Sons of Norway, the Collectors Club, the Polk County Historical Society, and the Polk County DFL. I am endorsed by Afscme, the AFL-CIO and the Boundary Waters Action Fund. I have pledged my support to #Vote4 Mental Health, YIPA (youth intervention programs) and the NDRC and their Fair Districting Pledge.

    I have always sought to volunteer and give back to my communities. As Representative for District 1B, I will continue to reach out, represent, and remain connected with all individuals in District 1B.

What would you like to accomplish on day one if you are elected?

    Day one will be challenging. The budget deficit will be significant in the face of Covid-19, unemployment will be high, and teachers and students will still be struggling to find a way through the school year.

     Residents in nursing homes live in fear of contracting Covid, and continue to live each day without being able to see loved ones. With the financial crisis, people are at risk of losing their homes, the possibility of becoming homeless has never been more real.

    On day one I would address getting the bonding bill passed along with taking measures to ensure that our teachers and students have the tools they need to succeed during the Covid-19 pandemic. I would move forward with fully funding public education. During Covid-19 teachers are working at least twice as many hours on the same salary. We need to support our teachers and our youth. Our youth are our future, and we need to be there for them- fully.

What policy area interests you the most and why?

    ● Discrimination/ERA- We need to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. I am only able to be a candidate/ homeowner/ voter because of those who came before me.. The ERA - Equal Rights Amendment has not been ratified by our state. I feel strongly about making sure this is accomplished. I understand so many freedoms I take for granted today are because of decisions made by people like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    ● Single Payers Health Care- affordable and accessible for all. Our residents in nursing homes, students, families, and workers all deserve to manage their health without the stress of having to choose, insulin or food, supporting their family or paying medical bills. We need to simplify the healthcare system so that it is available to all Minnesotans.

    ● Rural Broadband. Students, teachers, businesses and farmers need reliable internet. Covid-19 has brought the need to the forefront. Many people and students are working and learning from home, without rural broadband they experience challenges that rural broadband would help resolve.

    ● No Prisons for Profit. This would include Ice Detention Centers. We need to make sure the laws we are passing to protect people. That these laws are not designed to punish individuals based on their race, sex, religion, or socii-economic status. That these laws are not used to fill our prisons, punish these groups, or to use these groups as an economic resource..

    ● Agriculture and Farms to have the support they need to thrive. One way is through the adoption and management of sustainability practices, environmental protections, and enhanced animal care and supporting diversity through alternative and organic farms. Thanks to our local farmers markets we get to experience this diversity every summer.

In regards to the handling of the CoronaVirus Covid-19 pandemic, name one thing you agree with that Governor Waltz has done for the State of Minnesota and why?

    The one thing that I agree with is how from the beginning Governor Waltz took Covid-19 seriously. He has worked tirelessly to educate and protect the state of Minnesota during this crisis. He brought together Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota to work together to create and produce Covid-19 tests. They accomplished this, and announced their breakthrough on April 22,2020. Covid-19 testing has made it possible for people to know if they have it, and if they do to quarantine, thereby saving lives by preventing passing Covid-19 along to family, friends and coworkers. We know there will be a new normal. I feel that thanks to his quick actions so many of us will have a chance to see what that new normal will be.

In regards to the handling of the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, name one thing you agree with that Governor Waltz has done for the state of Minnesota. Explain why?

    I feel he and our President should have reacted sooner. I feel we provided the leadership necessary to face Covid-19, at a state level, but the conflicting messages coming from the White House truly undermined the work that some many in Minnesota were and are doing to recover from Covid-19.

    If both entities had worked in unison, bringing people together to help each other to prevent the spread of Covid-19, our businesses would have opened earlier, less lives would likely have been lost and we would be more unified as a people. Minnesotans pride themselves in stepping up in times of crisis. I am proud of the people who are on the front lines each day. That includes people like me, healthcare workers.

If you had $1 million at your disposal to give to one area in the state right now, whether that be to education, small businesses, healthcare, ect., where would give the money and what?

    I recognize that $1 million is very little when talking about state budgets, but it is a lot to those struggling in our communities. Recently, at a public forum with City Council, there was a discussion over what to do with $1 million that was part of a proposal concerning a potential local development. This meeting was an opportunity for me to listen to what Crookston residents would prefer to do with their money. Their focus was the Arts and the local markets, and/or perhaps not spending the money at all during our current economic crisis. Others showed support for the project. It was wonderful to see and listen to so many people come and voice their concerns.

    Given the opportunity as a state legislator to use $1 million dollars wisely, I would make the money available to public education.To feed our children. To support our educators. To give our youth a way and a place to grow in the presence of their peers.

Why are you the best person to represent District 1B in St. Paul?

    I was born and raised in South Minneapolis. While attending their public schools, I had the honor of being selected for the Legislative Page Program by my high school principal. Working with State Representative Ken Nelson, I developed familiarity with the Capitol itself and, more importantly, the legislative process. When I am in St. Paul, I will be representing all of District 1B. As a retired Nurse and working now as a DSP worker with Lutheran Social Services, I will work with our community with care and respect it deserves. As a retired Critical Care Nurse, I was trained to think critically. That means listening, gathering information, finding answers then making sure the work gets done properly.

What do you like to do for fun? Hobbies?

    Short answer: Watercolor painting, photography, volunteering, thrifting, cooking, the outdoors and traveling.

    Long Answer:I do have many things that I enjoy. As a long time consumer of North West Mental Health Services, I have honed my watercolor painting skills, and used art as a way to relax and interact with others in an enjoyable atmosphere. Being an active volunteer is very important to me. I enjoy hanging out with the Collectors Club in Crookston, my collections are not really collections. I collect rocks, old books, tea cups ( hoping to have old fashioned high tea with friends), the people are awesome and spending time with friends at these meetings means so much.

    Recently I was the presenter at the Sons of Norway September meeting. I shared something from my year as an exchange student in Finland during 1981-82. I presented Karjarlanpiirakka. It is rye bread and rice with egg butter on top. I value that the Sons of Norway accepts people of all races and cultures to be members and visitors of their meetings. I feel strongly that being a foreign exchange student has made me a better person.

Where is your favorite place in Minnesota?

    My favorite place in Minnesota is the Headwaters of the Mississippi. I like to take friends and family from out of State to the Headwaters. It is beautiful, meaningful and fun. I love to jump or walk over the headwaters. Minnesota is a truly beautiful place. When I drive in my district, just taking in the vast expanses of the farms and getting a feel for the crops really warms my heart. These are people and places worth fighting for!

What is your favorite restaurant and where is it located?

    It is a toss up between, R.B.J.s. Irishman's Shanty and China Moon. All in Crookston.

I grew up visiting my Grandparents in Crookston over the summers. We would go to R.B.Js and to the Northland Inn. We would often stay at the Northland Inn and enjoy its pool. As a resident since 2006, I still love R.B.J.s,, but I have added the Irishman's Shanty and China Moon to places I like to visit. They are just very comfortable hang outs with good food. One place I often used to go to with my family, was the American Legion, especially for the Prime Rib night. It is closed now, butI have learned that the Eagles Club- which my Grandpa was a member of -also serves prime rib. Something for me to look forward to.

Cynthia "Cindy" Ansbacher