Bugle 2020 Voters’ Guide-State Legislature

In Bugle territory, several state legislative races are being held this fall.  Here is a rundown of the candidates. In some cases, candidates did not respond to our request for information. In those instances, we endeavored to learn about them via their websites. 

Senate District 64

Sharon Anderson, Republican

According to www.ballotpedia.org , Anderson advanced to the general election as the Republican candidate for state Senate District 64 after the Republican primary for this office on Aug. 11 was canceled.

       On her website called https://sharonsenate64.blogspot.com/ , Anderson has a series of posts about, among other things, her current race and some pieces of information about past elective offices she has unsuccessfully pursued including Minnesota Attorney General  and the St. Paul mayor in 2005, 2009 and 2013. 

       Anderson was born in Braham, Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota for her real estate license. She said her professional experience includes political activist, self-taught blogger, home grown legal research analyst tracking city hall for more than 40 years, with some of the issues involving real estate matters.

      Anderson said she is concerned for, among others, seniors, the disabled and vulnerable “who cannot speak fight for themselves.”                                                                                                                                                           

Patricia Jirovec McArdell, Legal Marijuana Now Party

The following information about McArdell comes from https://ballotpedia.org/Patricia_Jirovec_McArdell#: McArdell was born in St. Paul and grew up attending Anoka Ramsey Community College to become an emergency medical technician (EMT).

       “McArdell said her career experience includes being self-employed in the communications field. She previously worked as an EMT, and as a unit coordinator in the emergency department, urgent care, ICU, med surg and obstetrics. She also worked at a substance abuse treatment facility in medical intake and prescriptive staffing, as a chaplain and as a manager at a bookstore/coffee shop in Lindstrom, Minnesota.

       “McArdell is the chairman of the board of directors at the Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML) since 2017 and is a volunteer with the Legal Marijuana Now Party since 2016. ​ Having been an emergency medical technician and coordinator, Patti is a veteran of 15 years in the emergency trauma field. Patti has seen people dealing with the worst pain and she has become a strong advocate for patient rights. Candidate McArdell implores legislators to increase access to the medicinal cannabis program for trauma-related injuries ​ Originally from Woodbury, Patti currently lives in St. Paul and is self-employed in the communications field.”

        Asked what she perceives will be the state’s greatest challenges over the next decade, McArdell told Ballotpedia, “The re-evaluation of public policy, with respect to equality. The economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The repair/preservation of the ecological assets of our state.”

Erin Murphy, DFL

Murphy, the DFL endorsed candidate, offered the following statement to the Bugle: “My 12 years serving in the Minnesota House prepared me for the important work of representing us and engaging powerfully in our democracy.

       Our 2018 campaign for governor demonstrated that we can organize and build support for solutions that meet the scale of our problems. The urgency of today demands this of us and calls for new and better politics.
       As a nurse, I understand healthcare and the threat of COVID-19. Our state must choose Minnesota families over corporate profits and put Minnesotans’ care in their own hands. We can start by making MinnesotaCare available to all Minnesotans and ensuring access to mental health, dental, and vision care.

       Our criminal justice system treats BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Minnesotans differently and it is time for substantive reform. I support legalizing recreational marijuana, including record expungement. We must also restore the vote for Minnesotans who have served their time for felony convictions.

       Minnesota’s kids deserve the best education in the world. Our schools are incredibly underfunded. We must urgently and heavily invest in our education system, and we must be willing to ask wealthy Minnesotans to pay more to make it possible.

       I am committed to a bold, just vision that includes all Minnesotans. I will organize with you, work with you, and we will find new ways to care for each other and our communities. We are in this together.” 

Senate District 66

John Marty (DFL-incumbent)

Marty, of Roseville, has been a Minnesota state senator since 1987. The son of a Lutheran theologian, Marty graduated from St. Olaf College and is a freelance writer.  He and his wife Connie have two grown children and one grandchild. He offered this statement to the Bugle:

       “I’m running for reelection because I know we can build a better future. George Floyd’s killing and the COVID pandemic exposed and aggravated many social problems we face. But we can successfully tackle the major challenges of our time, from climate change to poverty.  Long before the recent crises, I have been pushing for bold, courageous responses and fought against the tinkering that is typically done in politics.

       Healthcare is a right, and it’s outrageous that many Minnesotans cannot afford the care they need. I am fighting for the Minnesota Health Plan to replace our dysfunctional health insurance system with healthcare for all – including dental, vision, hearing, long-term care and mental health. It would cover everyone for all their medical needs and cost far less than we currently pay.

       I will continue to push for a sustainable economy to protect the environment and the planet for future generations. Climate change is the most urgent challenge, so I am working to speed our transition to a fossil-fuel-free future. I’m working for a sustainable agriculture system, sustainable housing and transportation and sustainable resource consumption policies.

       Also, I work to address our economic and racial disparities, with a fair economy that works for everyone. I will continue pushing my worker justice legislation so that all people can afford the basic necessities.

Greg Copeland, Republican   

Information about Greg Copeland was taken from his websitegregcopeland911.wordpress.com:

       Copeland is a 65-year-old widower with one adult stepson who is a carpenter living independently.  He has been a St. Paul resident (living in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood) for nearly 30 years.

       During his career, Copeland has been, among other things: a newspaper reporter, deputy director of a multi-county Community Action Agency,  an administrator of Head Start and Meals-on-Wheels programs, recruiter for a private industry-public partnership on-the-job training program and former Maplewood city manager.

       Copeland added, “I am a former chairman of the Saint Paul Charter Commission and member for 12 years. I was on the Saint Paul CIB, Capital Improvement Bond for six years and served part that time asvice chairmanI have been active with the Payne-Phalen District Council elected president twice and to multiple terms to the board of directors.  I am now only on the Community Planning Economic Development Committee.

      During his time as Maplewood city manager, Copeland said he reorganized city departments, “eliminating administrative positions and “internally promoting a record number of longtime city personnel to more responsible positions.”  Those savings, plus the help of grant funds, enabled the city to hire more police officers and EMS personnel, he said.

       Copeland’s endorsements include the Minnesota Independent-Republican Party and the Political Action Committee of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus.

       For more information on Copeland, go to Facebook at:  www.facebook.com/Greg-Copeland-For-Saint-Paul

House District 64A (includes southern St. Anthony Park)

Kaohly Her, DFL-incumbent

In a statement to the Bugle, Her said:  

       “I’m a product of public schools. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Madison with a bachelor’s degree of business administration in finance. I have a master of business administration from Northeastern University and am currently pursuing my doctorate from the University of St. Thomas in Education Leadership. I have held leadership positions in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

        Born in Laos, I spent a year in a Thai refugee camp before immigrating to America. Within one year, my parents purchased a home on my father’s manufacturing income. I saw the impact of what a living wage could provide and how it broke the cycle of poverty in one generation. That’s why affordable housing and economic justice matters.

       When manufacturing jobs started to decline, my father left to seek new opportunities. This left our family to rely on public assistance until my father completed his associate degree in business. My father’s determination showed me that education is the key to success which is why I fight to fully fund education.  

        Another passion of mine is healthcare.  A decade ago, my mother developed an auto-immune disease. Understanding the operations of healthcare systems, their pricing structures and the cost breakdown of procedures became my responsibility. That is why I support a single-payer system that makes healthcare easier to navigate.

       Then, there came a point when we were told my mother would not survive.  We switched her diet to natural/organic, we bought food locally sourced and sustainably grown, and we removed all chemical products from our homes. My mother beat the odds. This taught me that a healthy environment is fundamental to health. As such, advocating for policies that protect the earth is a top priority.

       I have spent my life serving others and lifting up the voices of people who are invisible and marginalized.  I vow to continue doing this work.”

Sherry Schack, Republican challenger

       No information was available from the candidate.

House District 66A (includes Falcon Heights and parts of Roseville and St. Paul)

Alice Hausman, DFL incumbent

Hausman has a bachelor of science degree in education from Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska and a master of arts degree in education from Concordia University in River Hill, Nebraska. She formerly was an elementary school teacher and a department manager at United and Children’s Hospitals in St. Paul.

       “Education and health care work experience helped to shape my early legislative interests,” Hausman, who has been a state representative since 1990, said in her statement to the Bugle.  

       I am grateful to have been representing residents of 66A. This election completes a 10-year cycle for this legislative district. After the census is complete, lines will be redrawn for each district to reflect new population numbers.  

       My legislative work has been focused on environmental and energy issues, transportation alternatives including public transit and inter-city passenger rail and housing. I serve on the Legacy Committee, Ways and Means, Transportation and as chair of the Housing Finance and Policy Committee.  

       Because of the housing crisis, I spend huge effort on that. Nothing else in life goes well if you don’t have a safe place to sleep at night. Coincidentally, climate change is somewhat like housing. Nothing else is going to go well if we don’t turn climate issues around.  

       I am increasingly aware of the connections between the challenges we face. Income inequality has led to food insecurity and housing instability. Both affect the health of families and the education of children.  

       University of Minnesota research found that by the time a child reaches fifth grade, if they have been homeless or highly mobile, they are achieving at the level of a second grader who has had stable housing.  Our goal should be an economy that doesn’t leave anyone behind.

Brett Rose, Republican

       In his statement to the Bugle, Rose said, “I am not a politician. But I am unhappy with the path our politicians have taken our state. I have not been happy with our state’s leadership over the past several years. I realized I had two options: sit around hoping someone better would come along or get involved and help create a better community for my family and the residents.

       “I am running because we need fresh ideas, creative solutions and bold vision. A vision that will take a hard look at our wants and needs and do what’s best for our residents and neighbors without continually raising taxes to pay for our wants over our needs.

       “We also need to revitalize our economy. I intend to review our options and find ways to create a rejuvenated atmosphere surrounding our small business structure. I also want to make sure we take care of our seniors and other residents living on a fixed income because people on fixed incomes can’t afford ever-increasing taxes. I want to make sure our residents are able to age in place.

       “I believe now more than ever we need officials who care about our residents.”

       In his website, Rose said he is committed to, among other things, the principles of limited government and individual responsibility and accountability. He also supports Second Amendment rights, a strong educational system, and a free enterprise system that is not hindered by over regulation”

       For Rose’s views on affordable housing, criminal justice, fiscal responsibility, education and many more issues, visit his website at https://roseforhouse.com/.

State House 66B (includes part of the Como neighborhood)

Athena Hollins, DFL .

       Hollins defeated nine-term incumbent John Lesch this past summer to gain the DFL endorsement for House 66B. She offered this candidate statement to the Bugle:  

       “I grew up in rural Hawaii. I moved to Minnesota 12 years ago to attend the University of St. Thomas School of Law. I currently serve as the director of diversity and foundations at the Minnesota State Bar Association. I live in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood with my husband and two children.”

       (Previously, Hollins worked in community relations for Thomson Reuters and practiced family law in St. Paul).

       “I decided to run because we need a leader who is willing to take on the big challenges that we face. We need someone that is a broad coalition builder and an organizer to make sure that all voices, regardless of their background, are heard at the legislature. 

       We face a number of significant challenges in the next legislative term. Housing, healthcare, and childcare have all reached crisis levels for too many of our neighbors. We also need to take immediate action on climate change because it is an existential threat to humanity. All of these problems have been magnified since the advent of COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd. We need to make sure that none of our neighbors, particularly our neighbors of color, are left behind.

       Currently, she is board president of the Payne-Phalen Community Council Board. For more information about Hollins’ campaign, go to www.athenahollins.com

Mikki Murray, Republican

From her website, Murray said, “I am running to be your Representative for Minnesota House 66B because I firmly believe we are slowly losing our state to those that do not cherish our constitutional values.  

       “We are at a crossroads and now is a critical time to fight for our constitutional rights starting with our own state. I want to limit government by enacting legislation that will cut spending, lower healthcare costs, give control back to the parents and teachers from overbearing administrators and legislators, and protect our First and Second Amendment rights.  Last, but certainly not least, I’m running to ensure lawlessness is not tolerated in this state.  

       Murray added that her platform includes: Support first responders, advocating for school choice, supporting free market healthcare and fighting for all human rights.”

       To learn more about Murray, go to her website

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