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Confused About Who You’re Voting For? I Got Your Back.

Besides the pretty leaves and PSL lattes, this fall brings something a little more important than scarves and cute boots: voting day. When talking to my friends and even some family about who they were voting for, they responded with a shrug or “I don’t even know what I’m voting for.”

 

To help those who would respond just like my friends and family, I decided to make a voting cheat sheet to encourage people to vote.

 

First, you have to be registered to vote.

If you haven’t yet, you can either register here, in person at your local election office, or even on election day at the polls.

 

After you have registered to vote, you need to know what the f*ck you are voting for.

It’s not necessarily easy to find out who is running without a biased opinion. Videos that showcase the positives and negatives of each candidate are everywhere, run as ads before YouTube videos, on your TV, and even serve as interruptions during binge seshes of America’s Next Top Model on Hulu.

 

I figured if I compiled all the information from all the different sites and sources into one article, it would clear up the confusion. Grab some popcorn and turn some music on because this is going to be a bit of lengthy article to ensure I don’t leave out anything important to you or anyone who will read this.

 

Here are the positions you are voting to fill and the candidates running to fill it:

 

(Side note: this going to be specific to Minnesota residents, but it can still be helpful because I will go over the positions you will be voting for and what they do).

 

Governor

In short, “governors are responsible for implementing state laws and overseeing the operation of the state executive branch” as said by the National Governors Association. Our current governor is Mark Dayton, a Democrat born in Minneapolis. He is resigning, which leaves an empty spot to be filled. I scoured the web to find out why he is resigning, but I came up empty-handed

 

Here are the candidates fighting for Dayton’s spot:

 

Tim Walz is running for the Democratic Party; he is a previous educator and has served in Congress since 2006. He has a “commitment to the common good and selfless service.” (source 6).

 

Some issues important to him are:

  • Helping farmers in the marketplace

  • Creating policies to benefit Native Americans in Minnesota

  • Affordable quality child care

  • Building a friendly economy

  • Closing the education opportunity gap

  • A good future for our environment

  • Gun violence prevention (he doesn’t accept money from the NRA and if he does, it goes to a charity named the Fallen Heroes Fund, a non-profit organization that supports family members whose loved ones died serving our country)

  • Healthcare options for everyone

  • Transportation funding

  • LGBTQ+ rights

  • Racial equality

  • Increasing the minimum wage and improving other workers’ rights

  • Helping veterans in a variety of ways, such as increasing funding for County Veterans Service Officers (CVSOs), aiding disabled veterans, and renovating state veterans homes

 

Jeff Johnson is running for the Republican party. He has run for governor before in 2014 but lost. His Christian faith plays a big part in his life and will most likely play a big part in his politics.

Some issues important to him are:

  • Reducing government spending and taxes

  • Making Minnesota’s business climate competitive with other states

  • Decreasing the size of government

  • Giving teachers more freedom from government regulation and letting the parents decide what education is best for their child in terms of K-12 education

  • Abiding by the Constitution

  • Returning the power of healthcare to the people

  • Solving transportation issues in a cost-saving manner

  • Pro-life, against abortion

  • Controlling immigration, specifically ending the refugee resettlement program in Minnesota (this program uses federal funding to aid immigrants in Minnesota)

  • Increasing public safety; incarceration rates are low, therefore more dangerous criminals must be incarcerated

  • Making sure the government is not getting in the way of agriculture

  • Protecting the Second Amendment (against gun control)

  • Working on elimination of the Metropolitan Council which is a Twin Cities specific “policy-making body, planning agency, and provider of essential services” (source 8).  

 

Chris Wright is representing the Grassroots Party (a Minnesota party focused on the legalization of marijuana–specifically for recreational use). He has been involved in politics and hemp-activism for quite some time, and if you would like a detailed list of his education and employment, just click the link attached to his name.

 

Some issues important to him are:

  • Legalizing marijuana for recreational use

  • A single-payer healthcare system

  • Repeal prohibition, or in other words, not criminalizing drugs (he talks about how it has a racial bias and nicknames it “The New Jim Crow”)

  • Campaign Finance Reform–control lobbyists and special interest groups’ interference with politics and elections

  • Tuition-free college

  • Resisting global warming by reducing greenhouse gases gradually (he aims to have zero by 2050)

  • Aiding local businesses while being cost aware

  • No change to Minnesota’s gun control

  • Changing income and wealth inequality

  • Controlling waste, fraud, and abuse in the healthcare system

 

Josh Welter is representing the Libertarian Party, which focuses on little government with lots of freedom. He is a father and active in the aviation community volunteering. His website is still being created, so there may be more stances on issues listed soon.

 

Some issues important to him are:

  • Legalizing recreational cannabis use

  • Cutting taxes and spending

  • Like Jeff Johnson, he wants to get rid of the Met Council along with other “wasteful and non-representative government entities.”

 

Are you still reading? I sure hope so, because this is just the beginning.

 

Attorney General

The Attorney General is “the main legal advisor to the government” as said by the Wikipedia for Attorney General (this was the most credible source I could find that didn’t simultaneously cause my computer to spazz out while researching). The previous Attorney General, Lori Swanson, was running for a second term but withdrew from the race when her popularity decreased.

 

Here are the possible fillers of Lori’s spot:

 

Keith Ellison is representing the Democratic Party. Here’s the sort of sketchy thing about Ellison. There are domestic assault allegations that he denies, but there is no true verdict yet. There a lot of articles that say many different things, so it’s hard to get a clear grasp on the situation especially because it’s still being worked through. If you agree with his key issues and/or are part of the Democratic Party, I would keep up to date with the current situation and keep these allegations in mind.

 

He has three main important issues that branch out into smaller things. These issues and the subcategories within them are:

 

AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE

  • Defending the Affordable Care Act, as well as Medicaid

  • Stopping pharmacies from taking advantage of customers

  • Making sure massive healthcare companies are following the rules and not cutting corners

  • Cracking down on the opioid epidemic

  • Protecting women’s access to safe health care choices

 

FAIR ECONOMY

  • Protecting workers paychecks

  • Stopping mortgage fraud and abuse

  • Fair treatment of students paying off loans

  • Distributing power in the business world by monitoring unfair competitive practices.

  • Safe working places

  • Stopping predatory loaning and financial scams

 

OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL

  • Women’s rights, such as pay discrimination

  • Protecting seniors from fraud and abuse

  • Defending LGBTQ+ rights, such as marriage and fair healthcare

  • Standing with immigrants

  • Local government support and leadership

  • Rehabilitation and community engagement for recently released inmates

  • Increased gun control

  • Protecting the environment

  • Criminal justice and drug policy reform, address racial discrimination within the two

 

Doug Wardlow is representing the Republican Party. He values “faith, family and hard work” and is experienced in law. These are taken directly from Wardlow’s website because there is no additional information other than these phrases. Some issues important to him are:

 

  • Protecting Minnesota families

  • Standing with law enforcement

  • Putting Minnesota first

  • Standing up for laborers, farmers, and job creators

  • Stopping financial scammers

  • Cracking down on sanctuary cities

  • Defending vulnerable adults and the elderly

 

Noah Johnson is representing the Grassroots Party. He is an attorney and does not have a website, so there is minimal information I could gather; the man doesn’t even have a TWITTER. Because of his party, we can assume he is for legalizing cannabis recreationally.

 

Secretary of State

The Secretary of State is the “President’s chief foreign affairs adviser.” The current secretary of state is running for a second term and is the Democratic candidate named Steve Simon.

Steve Simon finds it important to find a common ground between parties and communicate to work together.

 

Some issues important to him are:

  • Making voting easy and accessible to all Minnesotans

  • Helping local business

  • Safe at Home: a program helping and protecting domestic abuse survivors

 

Here are Simon’s opponents:

 

John Howe is representing the Republican Party. He was businessman, the mayor of Red Wing in 2008, and a state senator in 2010.

 

Some issues important to him are:

  • A secure, fair, and open election system

  • Improving the process of making business registrations and licensing procedures

 

William Denney is representing the Independence Partya party whose core values are “direct service and accountability to the people.” He is a compliance officer for a manufacturing company.

 

Some issues important to him are:

  • Independence from the influence of Democratic and Republican politics

  • Expanding the House of Representatives

  • Running a “clean” campaign

  • Election reform

 

State Auditor

The State Auditor is meant to oversee local government finances. The current State Auditor is Rebecca Otto who has held this position since 2006. Because of the manner of their role, there is less talk about major issues and more on the technical aspects that will help them execute their job better.

 

Here are the candidates fighting for Otto’s place:

 

Julie Blaha is representing the Democratic Party and was a former middle school math teacher. She was also the secretary-treasurer of AFL-CIO and the president of Anoka-Hennipen Education Minnesota.

 

With Blaha’s website, she takes a different approach by listing the priorities of her approach to State Auditor which are:

 

  • Quality: Protecting standards of honesting and transparency in the government of Minnesota

  • Clarity: Staying connected to the citizens and listening carefully to their demands

  • Focus: Working to make values real

 

Pam Myhra is representing the Republican Party as an accountant and former two-term Minnesota State Representative. Myhra states she would provide accountability and transparency of tax dollars.

 

Michael Ford is representing the Legal Marijuana Now Party (whose title explains their whole deal).

 

Some issues important to him are:

  • Legalizing home grown cannabis

  • Erasing past cannabis convictions

  • Banning employment drug testing for cannabis

 

Chris Dock is representing the Libertarian Party and has his own accounting firm. He wants to bring independence to the State Auditor position.

 

Senate Classes

Senate writes and votes on new bills. The difference of the Senate classes are the time rotations of when they are being voted on. This election, class one and two are being voted on.

 

Senate Class 1

 

Amy Klobuchar is the current Senate for Class 1 and is running for her third term in the Senate. She is representing the Democratic Party, and she is also said to be the most effective member of Congress.

 

Some issues important to her are:

  • Rural America

  • Getting dark money out of politics

  • Broadening trade relations

  • Stopping medical care prices from getting too high

  • Veterans healthcare

  • Cracking down on domestic violence, ensuring people convicted of domestic violence cannot purchase guns

  • Replacing outdated voting machines

 

Here are the people running against Klobuchar:

 

Jim Newburger is representing the Republican Party and was a legislative leader as well as a paramedic. Like most Republicans, Newburger emphasizes desire to reduce taxes and the size of government.

 

Some issues important to him are:

  • Protecting Social Security

  • Getting rid of Obama Care

  • Reducing national debt

  • Keeping the military fully funded

  • Reform Refugee Resettlement (explained above)

  • Pro-life

  • Protecting the second amendment

  • Reducing government interfering with energy

  • Supporting mining and stop oppressive government interference with this field

  • Reducing government interference with farming

 

Paula Overby is representing the Green Party, a variation of the Grassroots Party which I explained earlier in the article. She is part of the working class which makes her passionate about the working class’ issues.

 

Some issues important to her are:

  • Diversifying voices in the government

  • Universal Healthcare

  • Student debt forgiveness

  • Protecting workers

  • Renewable energy

  • Bringing fairness back into the financial system

  • Social equality

  • Increasing efficiency in the war on drugs

  • Increasing citizen privacy

  • Protecting immigrants

  • Decreasing violence

  • Addressing culture of violence as well as some gun control

  • Against war and more for peace

 

Dennis Schuller is representing the Green Party. There isn’t a lot of information on his background and such.

 

Some issues that are important to him:

  • Abolishing controlled substance act

  • Stopping workplace discrimination

  • Ending systematic racism

  • Changing unreasonable search and seizure laws

  • Being honest to the people

  • Providing “healing plant” seeds to everyone, which I assume he is referring to weed.

  • Ending homework for challenge

 

Senate Class 2

 

Al Franken was originally in this spot, but he stepped down after sexual assault allegations. Tina Smith was appointed to fill his seat and is running to hold his seat.

 

Tina Smith is representing the Democratic Party and was a small business owner until she left to expand health care options for women working as an executive for Planned Parenthood.

Some important issues to her are:

  • Raising minimum wage

  • Closing gender pay gap

  • Affordable quality healthcare

  • Better education access

  • Gun control

  • Supporting rural communities and farmers

  • Protecting and preserving Social Security

  • Supporting veterans

  • Supporting LGBTQ+ citizens

  • Supporting tribal communities

  • Protecting the environment

  • Protection for dreamers and immigrants

  • Strengthening Unions

 

Here are the candidates running against Smith:

 

Karin Housley is representing the Republican Party. She is in the real-estate business and is a former television news producer.

 

Some issues important to her are:

  • Protecting the environment while still supporting mining

  • Advocating for elder care

  • Free and fair trade

  • Decreasing taxes

  • Equal opportunity in education

  • Securing immigration borders

  • Protecting social security

  • Patient-center, market-driven healthcare

  • Sound agriculture policy

  • Protecting life (I’m assuming she is talking about being pro-life)

  • Protecting the second amendment

  • Keeping a strong military presence

 

Jerry Trooien is representing the Independence Party and was involved in real estate.

 

Some issues important to him are:

  • Improving healthcare with transparent prices and smarter investments

  • Focusing on emotional intelligence in schools

  • Improving gun control laws (specifically background checks) but also more investment in mental health care

  • A focus on lifelong learning

  • Making sure money spent on the military is necessary

  • Protecting rural communities

  • More border security but also reasonable visa programs

  • Term limits in the Senate

  • Protecting the environment

  • Revising Social Security to ensure it’s more effective

 

Sarah Wellington is representing the Legal Marijuana Now Party. She does not have a Twitter or a campaign website, so I could not get much information on her other than she is a retired teacher.

 

Congressional Districts

Because of the amount of Congressional Districts, I will only be covering Congressional District 1 which Winona is part of. If you are part of a different Congressional District or don’t know what Congressional District you are a part of, this article is a helpful source to research that.

 

For Congressional Districts, you are basically electing a member of Congress to represent your area.

 

Congressional District 1

Tim Walz used to be the representative for Congressional District 1 but is running for governor now, as you read earlier.

 

Here are the people fighting for his spot:

 

Dan Feehan is representing the Democratic Party and has served in the military.  

 

Some issues important to him are:

  • Immigration reform

  • Universal healthcare

  • Caring for veterans

  • Not discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions

  • Address opioid crisis

  • Decreasing military spending

  • Supporting agriculture

  • Low cost and accessibility for early childhood education

  • Supporting K-12 teachers

  • Making college more affordable

 

Jim Hagedorn is representing the Republican Party and has been involved in politics for some time.

Some issues important to him are:

  • Tax reforms

  • Regulating Agriculture

  • Pro-life

  • Religious freedom

  • Protecting the second amendment

  • Suspending participation in U.N. and U.S. sponsored asylum and refugee programs until proper screening for Islamic extremists can be conducted.

 

Now you are loaded with all the information on most of the candidates, the last step is voting on November 6. In order to do this, you need to know where to vote. If you are voting in Minnesota, you can use this poll finder website to see the closest location near you to vote.

 

And with that, you are hopefully more educated on who to vote for based on your own personal values. Happy voting!

 

Sources:

Grace Jacobs

Winona '22

Grace Jacobs is a freshman at Winona State majoring in Elementary Education with an emphasis on Early Childhood. She has worked with kids since she was a kid herself and loves every moment of it. She is from Elk River (which many people haven’t heard of) and was on the speech team there for a couple years and was very excited when she made it to State. This is her first year in Her Campus, and she is very excited to pour her heart into articles on such a great platform. She enjoys painting, writing, hammocking, and hanging out with her friends.
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