Each in turn, the four leading contenders for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in the Aug. 12 primary have paid a call on the Star Tribune Editorial Board. Here are excerpts of what we heard.
On how he differs from other GOP candidates for governor:
I am the person running who has the most experience. I have been in a role of leading organizations and figuring out how to get the best results.
I come from a business background. One of the things I learned in business is that if you see something going the wrong way, change it as quickly as you can. There are things I see our state doing that are causing us to not fulfill our potential as Minnesotans. The other candidates are a nice group of guys — I like them — but they are career politicians. I don’t think they would have what it takes to take on the scale of government to really achieve our collective agenda as Minnesotans.
We’ve underinvested in places where we have critical needs that Minnesotans deserve to be met better by government, roads and bridge safety in particular. It’s so obvious driving around that our roads aren’t wide enough. Right around 10 percent of our bridges are deemed unsafe today. Gosh, that ought to be a high priority for the state.
Light rail isn’t the answer. It doesn’t allow any flexibility. It’s static, from point A to point B, and you’ve set it there for 100 years. Buses are dynamic. Watch our light rail. Lots of times, no one is on it. It’s not the best way to use our resources.
On how to constrain government:
We’ve misprioritized how to spend. We’ve let government get into its own little silo thinking of spending in buckets, taxing in buckets. No one is minding the store, watching the big picture.
We have too much going on in government. We have too many state employees, especially in the administrative function. Our total comp paid to many of those employees is off-market. I would reduce head count. I would restructure employment compensation, particularly the fully burdened side of it. We have a pension and health care plan that’s off-market. We have to move from a defined-benefit to a defined-contribution plan.
On health care:
I want government less involved. Our state has gone overboard in how we’ve offered [medical care for the poor]. We have the loosest eligibility standards in the country. I would tighten those. When we embraced Obamacare, we took it to another level, which I would reverse. I would undo MNsure and the expansion of Medicaid, and take us back to the MinnesotaCare system that we had, but with tighter eligibility levels.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.