Theme 4 - Rural and Small Town Minnesota - The Mini-Debate
With the post-primary debates in “the cities” and one in Rochester, consider this theme the mini-debate for the hearts and minds of rural Minnesota. Imagine that you are simultaneously present in the public halls of our 770 cities or 1790 townships with fewer than 10,000 in population. From your grey metal folding chair along side the other candidates, address this gathering of proud citizens.
From agriculture and rural transportation to telecommunications and economic development, move beyond your core campaign themes to what you will specifically do for rural and small town Minnesota? What vision, values, and initiatives will you pursue as Governor?
Response from Peter Hutchinson:
Over the past several months, I have had the pleasure of visiting with thousands of Minnesotans who live in small towns and rural areas in our state. They want their leaders to deliver straight talk about what is going on in our state, demonstrate a willingness to listen to their concerns, and offer a clear plan for making the state better. Here are four priorities my administration will focus on to improve rural Minnesota.
* Health care costs are the single greatest economic threat to rural Minnesota. Many rural Minnesotans are forced to carry insurance with $10,000 deductibles, which puts them at great risk of financial ruin in the event of a major illness or injury. That is why my top priority will be to reform health care – through strategies such as insurance pools for farmers and small businesses; otherwise we won’t have any new money to invest in things like an improved telecommunications infrastructure and education system that rural Minnesota needs to remain competitive.
* Minnesota’s transportation system is critical to moving agricultural and manufacturing goods around the world to the markets where they are needed. It is in deplorable shape right now and in dire need of investment. I will resurrect the bi-partisan transportation bill that was passed by the Minnesota legislature last year, but vetoed by the governor. This will help fix the roads and transit systems in Greater Minnesota.
* The state must invest in research – primarily at our public colleges and universities – to identify those innovations that will improve opportunities and profits for farming and other industries. In particular, I want the U of M to focus on developing the technology necessary to produce ethanol from perennial crops and to enhance renewable options for producing electricity. Most of this research will be implemented in rural communities, enhancing markets for Minnesota’s crops and providing jobs in rural communities.
* Governor Rudy Perpich taught me that you don’t change things at the Capitol from inside the Capitol. As your Governor, I will be on the road, in your towns, assuring that the government never forgets who it works for - YOU. I am the only candidate who is not tied to the partisanship, the negative campaigning and the special interest money that carves regular Minnesotans out of the decision-making process. In my administration, rural Minnesota will be able to trust that their voices will be heard.
Candidate Website - www.teamMN.com
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