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Tuesday Talk: What’s your policy priority?

November 06, 2012 By Rachel Weeks, Communications Specialist

As we head to the polls today and start a new legislative chapter, what issues are your biggest priority?

In the next year, Minnesota policy makers will need to address ongoing economic recovery challenges while creating a budget for the next biennium. Changes in health care, education funding and planning for future energy demands will all need attention.

As you look ahead from election day, what policies should elected leaders prioritize? 

Thanks for participating! Commenting on this conversation is now closed.


  • Bob MacNeal says:

    November 6, 2012 at 8:49 am

    In a word, “infrastructure”.

    For thirty years politicians have hailed the small government mantra. What have we got to show for it? Antiquated power grids, dilapidated bridges, vulnerable water supplies, polution, air & ground transportation grid-lock, and crumbling public institutions.

    If Super-Storm Sandy has demonstrated anything, it is that the era of small government is over.

    The only measurable “smallness” realized from the small government experiment is the part of government that serves the common good.

    It is time to reconsider the possibilities and potential of better government. Government 2.0 should focus on rebuilding domestic infrastructure and fortifying public institutions.

  • joe says:

    November 6, 2012 at 9:36 am

    We need to make a stronger commitment to education funding. What’s needed to educate a 21st century workforce is more costly and complex than the educations we received.
    Universal post-secondary readiness requires much smaller class sizes to ensure that no student slips behind. It also helps teachers customize lessons based on learners’ needs.
    It also requires a bigger investment in technical supplies and other equipment in high schools so that students will be prepared for something other than a traditional college.
    Finally, we need to get serious about addressing students’ basic health and well-being needs by setting up in-school clinics and expanding healthy food offerings.
    The wide array of state cuts and shrinking wages and benefits for middle class workers have taken their toll on parents… and it’s costing kids.

  • Mike Downing says:

    November 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

    For 50 years liberals have hailed large government solutions and what has it gotten us? We have over $16 trillion in debt, >100% debt/GDP and federal spending is 24% of GDP. Out debt may actually be $100 trillion with the IOUs in SS & Medicare. All of this is unsustainable. We will be looking like Spain & Greece in 5-10 years.

    We must look at economic sustainability and the demographic facts to determine what government can and cannot afford.

  • Kykle says:

    November 6, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Yes, trillions of dollars in debt at the federal level.  Also, if you’re going to claim that we ‘may be’ 100 trillion in debt, please source it.

    The debt accrued at the national level (and state) is there due to political agendas, but is also due to excessive spending without a proper budget.  All politicians are in place to put policy on the books, and they often get them passed.  Unfortunately, policies get passed without any means for paying for them. So, yes - you can have your cake and not pay for it too.

    People can gripe that there has been trillions of dollars spent into debt from wasted spended as well, but what actual policies got us to that point?

    My personal take on it, is that it is from the same policies that take from the rich, and give back to the rich. 

    To that end, my priority for policy change is to ensure that funding is available for sustainable infrastructure growth.  Generally, that means taxes.  Yep, I want stuff and am willing to pay for it too.  Policy for grouping together city, county, and state resources to physical utility infrastructure.  Policy for stabilizing our education system and budget.

    Or, we can just go by our current policy (and politics) to borrow against the state budget on the grounds that we’ll just pay our schools next year.  Also, just ignore that crack in the concrete.

  • Christeen Stone says:

    November 6, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I just returned from voting, so I have been reminded of what a thrill it is each time I speak up with my vote for who I believe will return the America I love. It isn’t the one that is sold out to big corporations money buying the legislators vote and support. It is the country where we the people are willing to pay our fair share of taxes to make it the best it can be. We also believe the millionaires who run companies should invest it in our country, not getting richer by sending jobs overseas.

    I enjoyed the freedom of walking into a
    Precinct where the book is open ready for me to sign, because I have voted there for 68 years and I don’t have to prove I am a loyal citizen. We could loose that freedom if the Voter Id bill is passed. I have worked hard to make citizens aware of that because that is our right to be heard. Protecting the right of every vulnerable person to vote is my goal. That is a very valuable Policy.

  • KJC says:

    November 6, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I maintain that we MUST grow revenues to get out way out of our debt problems.  You can’t “shrink” the country, like you can a company.  As for the debt?  Let’s be clear: $12 Trillion of the $16 Trillion we have is from the Reagan and Bush years… so please, let’s not try “trickle down” economics anymore!
    Most of the debt of the last four years is the result of dealing with the Financial Crash.  If you dodn’t want people hungry in the streets and riots, you’ll take the pragmatic course of action that we did.  The debt math:

    Initial Run-Up of Debt

      Budget End Debt Increase  

      Year Date $ Billions $ Billions Whose Debt?

      1981 9/30/1981 $998  

      1993 9/30/1993 $4,411 $3,414 Reagan-Bush 1993



      Oct.1 1993—Sept. 30, 2001 $2,212 Interest on their

        debt during the

        Clinton years.

      2001 9/30/2001 $5,807  

      2009 9/30/2009 $11,910 $6,102 G. W. Bush 1993

      Subtract: -$36 Obama stimulus

      As of: 9/30/2009 $11,692 Sub-total



      Oct.1 2009—Sept. 30, 2010 $357 Interest on Total


      $12 Trillion = $12,049 Total Reagan-Bush Debt on 9/30/2010

  • Graycrab says:

    November 6, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I want to see us with a fair tax policy where we all pay our way. I believe if you have more pay more.
    I want to see education a first priorty as well as Health Care. I truly want religion out of our government and no discrimination ( a dream) toward those who are different from what is considered straight and narrow.
    If only we could remember, “We are our brothers keepers.” But at the same time I do not believe in free rides for anyone.

  • Ginny says:

    November 6, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I’m with all of you who think we need to invest more in infrastructure, schools, and the environment. As one of you said, Sandy proves we face devastating global warming and we need infrastructure. I’ve said it before: Pawlenty and his gang have blood on their hands from the I-35 bridge.
    We need education, desperately. It is time to quit short-changing our young people. We need intelligent, educated, knowledgeable CITIZENS, not just job seekers, to help us face the difficult, complicated questions and dilemmas. We do not need people who fall for lies, exaggerations, slogans, and hate.
    I don’t know how we are ever going to get back to “We’re all in this together.”
    Nothing has harmed us more than the selfishness and greed of our corporate leaders who have no interest in making this a good society.
    We probably need something like a Marshall plan for our environmental issues.
    And we need revenue. This no new taxes crap has got to be reversed, and the rich and the corporations can do much more—and guess what, higher tax rates help the economy.

  • Sue B says:

    November 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Please don’t tell me this has happened again!  I wrote a long, involved comment and submitted it at least three hours ago.  I then left to vote and run some errands.  When I returned to see if there had been any response just now, it still hadn’t been posted.  This happened to me several weeks ago.  I don’t have time to keep writing comments only to have them disappear.

  • Rachel says:

    November 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    If anyone else experiences missing comments PLEASE let me know. A one-person problem is probably on the user end, but if there are more, I want to know!

    - your faithful moderator

    PS - feel free to keep posting through the evening, I promise to keep checking in.

  • Lyelle Palmer, Ph.D. says:

    November 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Americans think short-term.  Chinese think long-term.  Education is key, and especially at the early childhood level (Birth - 8).  Having all children master basics by the end of fourth grade will change the world.  UNICEF has the universal millennium goal of completion of primary education for all children world-wide.  By completion the indication is mastery of basic skills.  We do not have this standard in the USA or in Minnesota.  Early mastery of basic skills would affect all higher grades, so it is a cornerstone of our future success.  We already know the effects of lacking basic skills—we live with the effects every day.  We can do this:

    Contact the Minnesota Learning Resource Center for the research on readiness and early achievement that was funded
    by the legislature for so many years.
    Contact at:

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    November 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Education -  With every student from early childhood through college learning music, the visual arts and literature as well as the other necessary subjects (math, reading and writing, geography and other cultures, American and world history and civics).  Refuse to allow the continuing attack on public school teachers and their unions, which is just one of the tactics involved in efforts to privatize the public schools in order to make big bucks for corporate “educators.”

    Climate change -  Whatever it may cost to move from oil, coal and nuclear to renewables will be less expensive than continuing to spend billions every year to treat respiratory and other illnesses caused by the pollution of our air and water. 

    Inequality - Return to progressive levels of taxation.  We know by now that trickle down does not work and never will, so why not give it up and collect the revenue we need to support an equitable society? 

  • Mike Downing says:

    November 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I read a very interesting email earlier today. It was a question “What would America look like..” with liberal progressive policies implemented on 1/1/2013?

    “What would America look like on January 1, 2013 if the following (were all legislated between the election and the new year) : gay marriage, immigration amnesty and open borders, free healthcare, state financed abortion and birth control, mandatory union membership, workplace pay equality, free college education for everybody, 50% reduction in defense spending, 75% capital gains tax, outlawing fossil fuel use by 2025, instituting carbon taxes, repealing the Second Amendment, Palestinian Statehood and splitting Jerusalem in half, eliminating all nuclear power and weapons by 2025, and allowing international law to play a controlling role in our governing process? What would Progressive America look like once all these demands are met?”

    It would scare the heck out of this center right country and would destroy America.

  • KJC says:

    November 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Mike:  Thanks for confirming that you tune into “scare tactics” media.  I suggest you stick to your “me and Mitt Romney” stuff, as you obviously know absolutely nothing about actually being a progressive.  If you think ANYBODY could pass that much legislation by Jan. 1, you need a reality check. You may have found that drivel “interesting” I think it was a ludicrous waste of time.  To each his own.  KJC

  • Ginny says:

    November 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Sounds good to me.

  • Ginny says:

    November 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    What we need to fix the inequality issue is excellent public education that continues through college. One reason the poor are falling behind is that the poor and middle class don’t have the money to go to college or university. People in this country are less able to move from lower class to upper class than just about any other country, partly because of the lack of free, good education.

  • Ginny says:

    November 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Mike, what’s not to like?

  • Mike Downing says:

    November 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    KJC: Transparency is the best disinfectant!

    Is it really ludicrous or is this the master plan for liberal progressives?

  • KJC says:

    November 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    And that “disinfectant” author… who I agree with is?  Supreme Court Justice Brandeis who also said?  “We can have democracy, we can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, we can not have both.”  This was after having to clean up the messes of the Gilded Age… which we seem to be sliding, and suffering, from again.  The lessons of our own history…

  • Bob MacNeal says:

    November 7, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Mike—You seem like you might be qualified to answer one of my most pressing questions:

    Why is it that when conservatives cite liberals for being culpable of deficit spending, they rarely mention the approximately
    $1,390,654,196,266 (and counting) Congress has spent since 2001 on two elective wars that have not yielded tangible benefits?

  • David Culver says:

    November 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    The top policy priority in this country has to be, must be campaign reform (how we conduct these things) and campaign finance reform (how we finance these things).

    There is no legitimate opposition to what others have said about this subject. “What we need,” Molly Ivins points out in her book, Bushwhacked,  “is to end the legalized bribery that has rotted the democratic political system.” She continues: “We need “public campaign financing. It’s this incestuous relationship with big money and failure to identify with the common people that has weakened our political process.”

    As Senator Russ Feingold wrote in The Progressive: “It has become clear that meaningful campaign finance reform is a necessary precondition for the Congress to be able to do the people’s work in Washington.”

  • Ginny says:

    November 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    There is no better time than now to tackle money in politics, while the visions of ugly, distorted, lying ads are still in our minds and the whole system awash in dollars. Molly Ivins wrote that before things got really bad with Citizens United. The movement to amend that is well under way and I think that’s the best place to put our energy.
    I don’t think anyone likes it—and probably not even the big money, since it didn’t buy them all they wanted.