Friday, August 29, 2008

Stenersen’s response to Hillsider Questionnaire

1. Affordable health care
First of all, I would support Sen. John Marty’s bill at the legislature. Beyond that however, I believe we must move towards a single payer system in the State of Minnesota. I am hopeful that our health insurance crisis will finally be addressed at the Federal level. However, I am unwilling to place a bet on success in Washington D.C. We can begin in Minnesota. At one point, not too long ago, Minnesota was an innovator. We can be bold and innovative once again, and begin the movement towards single payer.
2. Livable wage
As a general rule, I oppose corporate welfare of any sort. However, since that is the way jobs are generated these days, I would support incenting business to provide living wage jobs. However, living wage needs to mean something more than providing for wages just over the poverty level. If business is to be rewarded for bringing jobs to Duluth, they must be of the $15 and up variety, not $9 and $10 jobs as is the case with JobZ.
3. Federal and state aid to cities, and taxes
We can and must re-establish the foundation of the “Minnesota miracle” of the early and mid-70’s, when the State of Minnesota was truly a partner with local governments and school districts. That entails increasing local government aids, and more reliance on a truly progressive income tax and less reliance on the regressive property tax. Today cities and counties have few options other than increasing property taxes to intolerable levels or cutting much needed services.
4. Closing unfair racial inequities.
A concrete example is to work to provide universal and affordable health insurance for all Minnesotans. In order to address other inequities, I would offer the following: as a white male, I will never know what it is like to walk in the shoes of a Native American, or in the shoes of an African American. I do know that the only way to break down stereotypes and to begin to understand each other is to engage in an ongoing and constructive dialogue. Whatever growth that has occurred in my life in this area has occurred because I have listened to others.