Rep. Tim Walz and his Republican opponent Jim Hagedorn squeeze 21 different topics into a lively one hour League of Women Voters debate in Winona.
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Opening Statements | Most Important Challenges |Voting Rights & Money In Politics | Social And Racial Justice | Education | Economy | Obamacare | Climate Change & Energy |Agriculture|Veterans|Government Corruption|Citizenship for Immigrants|Addressing Inequalities For Women|Domestic Terrorism|Social Security|Rising Higher Education Costs|Guns|Pipelines|Middle East|How To Encourage Voting & Fair Elections|Term Limits|Eliminating Gridlock In Congress|Closing Statements
STEPHANIE NUTTALL: Good evening, and welcome to the League of Women Voters Winona Voters Candidates Forum for the 2016 First District congressional candidates. I’m Stephanie Nuttall, your moderator for this event. Our co-sponsors tonight are AAUW Winona chapter, Project FINE, Women’s Resource Center of Winona, the Winona State University Social Work students, the American Democracy Project, Student Senate, and Students United. We are pleased to welcome those of you in our live audience, and citizens who may be watching at home. We also want to thank the city of Winona for allowing us to hold this educational forum in the council chambers.
For those of you watching at home, we have a call-in phone number where you can provide us with questions for the candidates. The call-in phone number is 457-8280.The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan volunteer organization, organized at the local, state and national level to encourage citizens to become educated and participate in government. While we as a league do study and take stands on issues, we do not endorse or support political parties, candidates or tell the voters how to answer the referendum questions.
With both candidates here this evening, to maximize the forum time, and present them with questions from the League of Women Voters, we are limiting the review of the forum rules. We do have copies available for the audience present with us this evening. This forum is intended to provide the voters with information so they can make an educated choice on the ballot. The views expressed in this educational forum are those from the candidates.
Our timekeeper this evening is Mary Borgen. The audience is expected to be courteous to the candidates and good listeners. This is a live cable TV broadcast. The audience is asked not to express support or concern during the forum, and to hold their applause until the end of the forum. We would like to remind everyone to please turn off your cell phones and pagers. During the forum, we ask the audience present, and our TV listeners, to write down their questions or call them in at 457-8280.
The League of Women Voters and co-sponsors will sort the questions for the moderator. The moderator will ask the questions. The League of Women Voters will determine the questions to be asked, and attempts in good faith will be made to cover all areas of interest expressed by the audiences. The candidates will not know the questions in advance. Questions that are hostile, partisan, embarrassing, inappropriate, or of a personal nature will not be asked. Questions on similar topics may be grouped and all questions are properties of the League of Women Voters.
Candidates will strictly observe the time limits on responses. The timekeeper will hold up cards to indicate that time is about to expire, and once the stop card is displayed, candidates will stop at the end of the current sentence. For opening statements, candidates will be given two minutes. To respond to questions, each candidate will have one minute, and for closing statements, each candidate will have one minute.
The candidates with us today are Jim Hagedorn, Republican-endorsed candidate; Tim Walz, Democratic-Farmer-Labor-endorsed candidate. The candidates this evening have agreed to allow me to use their first names. We would like to begin with opening statements and our first speaker will be Jim.
JIM HAGEDORN: Well thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here tonight. I thank the audience for being here, thank the League, Ah I’m really excited about this opportunity; congressman, it’s nice to see you. Two days in a row, we were just in Mankato yesterday for a debate. And I told this story yesterday, and I’m gonna tell it again. On the way up from Blue Earth, which is where I live, that’s where I was born, where I reside today – went up to Mankato, and happened to pop into a merchant, merchant’s store there, and I talked with a young man who was working there. And and he said “Hagedorn, how should I – how should I know that name?” And I said “Well, I happen to be the Republican candidate for Congress here in the First District.” And he said “Well,” he said, “Ah y’know, Tim Walz was my schoolteacher in high school,” but he says, “I’m voting for you this time.” And I said “Ah okay. I don’t understand.” He says “Well, I voted for him twice, but I’m voting for you this time.” And I said “Why? May I ask you why?” And he said “I don’t know how to put it, but he’s become one of them.”
Now lemme tell ya why I’m runnin. I’m runnin because I believe our country faces some serious problems that are not being addressed at the national level, they haven’t been addressed for some time. Our borders are in – are not secure, ah we have too many people flooding into our country from from nations that hate America, we’re in trouble there. Our economy is bogged down with far too much government. And I don’t believe that our God-given rights are being protected properly.
I’ll talk tonight about the solutions on those issues. Forward looking. On the other hand is my opponent. Congressman Walz has been in Washington D.C. for 10 years. He doesn’t have much of a record of solving the big national issues that he went out there ah seeking to solve. In fact, he’s voted with President Obama on the key issues to move the country far to the left and to cause things to make ‘em even worse. Things like Obamacare, things like cap and trade. Things like open borders, things like abortion in the seventh, eighth and ninth month of pregnancy. I look forward to a spirited debate and a discussion of the issues. Thank you so much.
TIM WALZ: Well thank you. Thank you to Jim for being here again. That kid did, must not have gotten an “A” in my class, I don’t know. (laughter) To the League and to all of you, thank you ah for engaging in our democracy. To all of the folks, especially the Winona State students who are here, giving up your time tonight, ah it’s admirable and to all of you, you’re here for one very clear reason: you love your country. Ah you understand that democracy takes more than just voting or having an opinion, it takes being engaged in in what’s going on.
Ah this is an appropriate room to do this in, because I’ve watched democracy work in this room. It’s in this room that I’ve set with you as we planned, figured out, and recovered from the floods of 2007 and 2010. It’s in this room that we set and convened the first in the nation forum dealing with rail safety, especially with the movement of Bakken oil, that threatens our communities and threatens our rivers and our resources. Ah without the false choices, we can move our resources and do so safely. And it was in this room ah that we started the talk with a coalition that was so broad, and a special thank you to Della and the Chamber ah where we got the new bridge that goes across the river. These are the things we can do together. These are the things where we work to solve problems, not to point out faults or not to find partisan differences.
I spent my career as a high school teacher, I was the football coach at Mankato West, who by the way it looks like may win State again this year, for the fifth tIme. Ah I spent 24 years serving in our armed forces, retiring out of the National Guard after 24 years. I have the privilege and the responsibility of being the highest ranking enlisted member of our military to ever serve in the United States Congress. And from all those experiences, what I’ve learned from this is, we’re in this together. It’s not about me, it’s not about my idea, it’s not about what I’m going to do, it’s about what we can do together to preserve and move towards a more perfect nation, to ensure that our citizens have the basic rights and the basic access to things like healthcare, clean water, good jobs, and a good education.
Ah I’ve served you for the last 10 years doing that with dignity and have distinguished myself as being one of the top four in the entire Congress, House and Senate, most bipartisan members. Thank you.
NUTTALL: Thank you candidates for your opening statements. We’re now ready for our first question. We will start with Jim. How do you propose to address the most important challenges facing our country?
HAGEDORN: Well, I think that we have to identify them. And that would be a big disagreement between the congressman and myself. I believe our country is in trouble. The first responsibility of anyone who serves in the United States House of Representatives is to defend the United States and protect the American people. That isn’t being done, our borders are not secured. We’re bringing in, we brought in over 800,000 people during the Obama administration alone. From countries that hate America. We’ve ended up with a terrorist recruiting problem in Minnesota. I’ve called for a refugee resettlement program timeout, because the current system isn’t working. We need to make, we need to make good on that.
And so, first and foremost, we have to defend the country. I believe there’s been too much political correctness in those issues, I believe people like Congressman Walz, when he says about my approach for a refugee program timeout, that’s unMinnesotan, he said. Islamophobic, racist, bigoted, on it goes. And I think we have to stand up, stand for principle, and identify the problem and solve the problem.
WALZ: I think by recognizing what James Madison and the founders understood in Philadelphia in 1789. They came out of that contentious constitutional convention and they asked Madison, the author of the Constitution, “Tell us three things about this new Constitution.” And he said “Compromise, compromise, compromise.” We understand what gridlock gets us. We understand that when people freeze and will not improve upon anything. We see the bickering, we see government shutdowns, we see the inability to move on issues that should not be that difficult to solve, because everything is filtered through a partisan political lens.
So what I would say is the first thing, I would do this term and what I’ve been doing all along: is building the strongest bipartisan record in Congress, being able to move things. In the most ineffective, logjammed Congress there’s been, I’ve been able to move more bills than anyone else in the Congress. The last one I was able to do, right before we came back, was the Trails Bill with Cynthia Loomis in Wyoming, to make sure that the beauty of our national parks is being kept up, and we’re able to make sure access to those natural wonders, those God-given gifts that we have, are kept up. We did that in a bipartisan manner at a time when they said nobody passes bills before you go to vote. We did.
NUTTALL: For our next question we’ll start with Tim. What measures do you support to improve elections and voting in our country? Do you think it is important to reduce the role of money in American election process?
WALZ: First of all, restrengthening the Voting Rights Act and reauthorizing it, it’s been stuck and stymied, again on partisan political ah bickering, the access to the ballot is the most important thing, barriers to voting should be taken down, we want to encourage as many people to vote and I would applaud ah the people of Minnesota for making early access voting. Many people have already voted in this election by the time we’re here tonight. That’s a positive step.
Yes, and the issue on this is two things: if you want to fix the political system and the gridlock, two things you can do. Nonpartisan judicial redistricting to make sure the congressional districts are fair, so compromise is part of it, and you can make sure you get money, the black money, out of this so you know who’s funding these campaigns, who’s behind ‘em, simply disclosing them, and going back and refining what happened with Citizens United. You do those two things, you have many more people running for Congress, you have much more openness, you have the ability then to force compromise, there are members of Congress in that are in congressional districts that get 97% of the vote. If they even take a picture with someone from the other party, they get primaried from the further left or the further right. It makes sense to try and find common solutions that improve people’s lives.
HAGEDORN: Well, I would like to see, if you took an amendment to the Constitution, something along the lines that members of Congress, for instance, should raise money in their own district. If that were the case, I’d be raising more money than my opponent in this race! He gets most of his money from outside the district and Washington, from the interest groups.
Ah I do believe that our election system though, it’s very important that we make sure that the only people that vote are U.S. citizens. Just recently in Washington state, an Islamic terrorist who was not a citizen of the United States, it was found that he had voted on a couple of occasions. That’s not right. In the state of Virginia, it sounds like there could be as many as a thousand people who have registered that shouldn’t be voting. So the ah, every time that happens, a U.S citizen’s constitutional right is nullified, and so I’m very concerned about that.
I do understand that the states run the elections, and I hope in this election, we won’t have any of that.
HAGEDORN: Well, that’s an interesting question. And I think it ah it lends us to move in this direction. We want everyone to have a fair chance, a colorblind society. We’d like to see people, to be able to because of the content of their character and their ability, to be able to move up and succeed. I don’t necessarily believe that government has to be there every step of the way, trying to make sure that it’s all – that there’s affirmative action and things of that nature.
What’s been going on though, in our country, with the racial divide, some of the problems associated with ah the police and everything else. I I’m very concerned about that. The Black Lives Matter movement, I believe, is extreme. I think that all lives matter, I believe that we should support our police, and I also believe it’s every citizen’s duty to obey the law and respect our police.
WALZ: I think it starts with education, ah making sure that access to education, especially early childhood education, where we don’t get an achievement gap, that leads to longterm problems where we see economic ah gaps stem from that. Ah I think criminal justice reform is something everyone can support, the state of Pennsylvania now spends more on incarceration than they do on higher education. We can do better than that, we can figure out with an understanding that 95% of people who are convicted of crimes end up becoming our neighbors at some point or another. So I think those two things start to address the issue.
And then I think it’s bringing people together. Not finding the divide. And this is one thing that I’m very proud of. I have a wide spectrum of people who support and endorse me. From social justice groups, who are concerned what’s happening in some of our cities, but also the Minnesota Police Officers Association who endorsed me. You have to find someone who can bring people together, and we can come and solve these things, this is not an insurmountable problem. It is the challenge of a diverse society, but the diversity gives us our strength. So ah it starts with getting that education, getting people on equal footing, getting opportunities, especially economic opportunities.
WALZ: Yeah well the research shows, and I’ve spent my entire career doing this, the last year I was teaching at Mankato West, I taught geography to 11th grade. And in that classroom I had a 16-year reading spread: from about second grade to postgraduate. And what the issue then was, was it was so difficult that the content knowledge was government and the content knowledge was geography, we had a very difficult time. I think one of the solutions to this is, is making sure that we’re smartly targeting early childhood education. Making sure that pre-K, because that education gap and that reading gap – if you don’t close it by about age seven – this is a terrifying statistic. We can look at reading scores for our second graders, and predict with 90% accuracy, who’s going to graduate from high school and who’s not. That leads to a lifetime of problems, a lifetime of social problems, and what we should be targeting is smart, how we get that in the community. And I am open for the idea that that is going to be a public/private partnership to try and target that, and I think that’s where ah you start to shrink that gap, you start to shrink the the differences, and you start to improve people’s lives across the spectrum.
HAGEDORN: This is where I have an advantage of not being captive to the education unions and others, the big union bosses. I think we have to think out of the box, you brought it up. The people in the inner cities, many of ‘em are not receiving a quality education, and that’s been going on for decades. We have to think out of the box.
How do we limit our federal government? Take the power, send it back to the states and the people. I believe in school choice. I think the dollar should follow the kids, not the kids following the dollars. Make the parents in charge. Make the children and the students more in charge. And then have competition, whether it’s home schools, public schools, military schools, parochial schools – once we do that type of thing, you’re going to see an explosion of opportunity, and the parents will be in a very strong position to make sure that their children are being properly educated.
HAGEDORN: Well, southeastern Minnesota’s the same as the rest of this district. Our district goes from South Dakota all the way over here, Iowa, up about 80 miles. It’s an agricultural-based district in many ways, there’s a lot of manufacturing I know here in Winona. Our our ag economy, and our overall economy, are in trouble. And it’s in trouble because we have too much government in the economy. The regulatory process, the regulations comin out of Washington are bogging down the economy. We need regulatory reform; I hope we get into that a little bit later.
We also need to eliminate some of these big government programs that are stifling growth and taking a lot of capital out of the economy. One of those would be Obamacare. That is a big drain on the economy, it’s a big problem, I’ve talked to local merchants here who tell me that. And we’ll hopefully talk more about that. We need welfare reform, so we have work for welfare. And then U.S. energy independence. When we pay more for our energy, our electricity, our transportation, our prices for everything, that takes money out of your back pocket, that takes money that could be going to other purposes, if we place downward pressure on that, we’re going to bring back our manufacturing jobs, have high-wage jobs, and strong economic growth.
WALZ: I think we as a nation need to have a conversation on workforce training and the role of education. Ah we do have manufacturing jobs that are coming back, we can outproduce the rest of the world, our quality is better. The thing that you hear in all of the businesses throughout southern Minnesota, they can’t find the workforce to get it there. Once they do, we’re not training those things in schools. I think there is an opportunity for us to look at education reform in a manner where we’re approaching things, the noble trades of understanding, how we manufacture or how we do the ah things with our hands.
Ah housing is another issue. We have opportunities for people to come in, no place for them to live. In these communities, and we’ve tackled this with summits and things we’ve brought people together. I do agree with ah with Jim on the energy independence issue. I’m very proud to have worked on those issues. And I think here in southern Minnesota, on the way up here, I saw three solar farms along the way, we know that we’re producing natural gas, the ability to ah to innovate in a way that makes sure that we’re not beholden to countries. It makes no sense! To import a billion dollars in energy ah every day to countries that hate us. They’ll hate us for free. Let’s let’s grow it here.
NUTTALL: Our next question, we’ll start with Tim. Many statements have been made about the issues that need to be corrected in the Affordable Care Act. What can be done to reduce the premium costs that are rising every year? For example, ours went up over 30% last year, we’re hearing it will be up again this coming year, maybe as high as 40%.
WALZ: First of all, that is true, I have done the individual market, and we should be addressing it. We’ve got about 4 to 5% of our population that is paying way too much for healthcare, the issue is with the ACA, it is helping people, we’ve seen premiums amongst employer plans stabilize at about 3.2 to 4%. That’s the bulk of where people get their insurance. We no longer have pre-existing conditions, we no longer have lifetime caps, women are no longer discriminated against, and we’ve put the onus on preventative care, which for the first time in 50 years is starting to bend the healthcare cost.
It doesn’t remove the fact that we need to move forward. Obamacare, as you hear it said here, what it did was, what the ACA did was, is it started to do some basic reforms. It started to make sure we reduced in half the number of uninsured Americans, making sure that everyone had access to that, that’s not only ethically right, it’s good for the economy. The individual market, some of the things the states can do, we can redraw the risk corridors, we can start talking about how we expand those markets to maybe broader ah where they can they can purchase more — have better purchasing power.
But the issue on this is, is to not step forward and build on the successes, is going to – push back the progress we’ve made.
HAGEDORN: Obamacare is the worst vote Tim Walz will ever cast as long as he’s in Congress. It’s a monstrosity. It’s driving up costs for a heck of a lot more people than 4 or 5% of the population. If you think that, you’re 100% wrong. I was talking with Bernie Brenner here in town, at Knitcraft. I toured his plant. He talked talked to me about the way Obamacare is hurting his workforce. For 50 years they used to share profits. Then Obamacare came along. No more profits to share in that area. For the employees – in fact instead of having insurance paid for by the company, with no deductible, now they’ve got a deductible of fifteen hundred dollars and they’re paying over a thousand dollars for their insurance! When you start impacting that with people who are making maybe 15, 16, 17 dollars an hour, good hard-working people in this country, you can see the damage that’s being done. I also spoke with Jim from Jim’s Truck and Auto Repair. He lost a good employee – you talk about workforce issues – he lost a good employee who was making twenty-seven dollars an hour because Obamacare was costin $400 a week for that employee, and he was better off
NUTTALL: Thank you.
HAGEDORN: quitting his job and being unemployed
NUTTALL: Thank you.
HAGEDORN: that’s unacceptable.
NUTTALL: For our next question, we’ll start with Jim. This is a two-part question. First part: yes or no, is climate change real? Second part, Standing Rock protesters in North Dakota, archeologists, and museums denounced destruction of Standing Rock’s Sioux burial grounds. How can you balance Native history with energy independence?
HAGEDORN: (Sighs) Is climate change real? I have no idea. If if the earth is heating and cooling, it’s been doing that since the since God created it. All I can tell you is this: that the proposals put out there by the extremists and the Obama administration, and yes I call them extremists, and that comes from Collin Peterson, Seventh District Democrat congressman from Farmfest last year, they’re out of control.
We need U.S. energy independence. And there is only one pathway to get there, by the way. That is more crude oil production in the United States. You talk about energy independence, but you have no pathway to get there because we need more crude oil. That’s the only thing we’re not self sufficient for. Solar and wind doesn’t do anything in that area.
So here’s what here’s what I would say. The EPA needs to be reined in, the Congress should be deciding whether or not regulations against the coal companies and others should be implemented. We need to have U.S. energy independence and keep the downward pressure on cost. If we do that, we can grow our economy and bring back manufacturing jobs. It’s very important.
WALZ: You asked a specific question. Yes. It is happening. Ah the fallacy here is is that it’s a choice. Between energy production, job growth, and doing the responsible thing of making sure an existential threat to the planet in future generations is not addressed. We can do both. We can address the issue by by moving towards a more renewable future, creating jobs right here at home, and yes, that’s going to include a glide path, that’s why I’ve supported the use of fossil fuels until we get there. It’s why I’ve even taken the position of supporting nuclear power if we can figure out a way on storage a way to move things forward. Those are responsible ways to address yes, what is real. Yes, the scientific evidence is there.
On the second part of your question, yes the Native sovereignties are an important issue to me, my first teaching job was on the Pine Ridge reservation I taught fourth grade, at Wolf Creek Elementary School. The issue of the pipeline, the problem with this started was, is for the companies it was permitted; the permit process went all the way through; the permit was granted; and the pipeline started.
I think it’s a very challenging situation now because I do not deny the sovereignty rights, I do not deny the archeological history, is critically important for us to preserve. But it’s hard to go back after you’ve permitted the pipeline.
WALZ: Well I’ve worked on two Farm Bills and have the support of the agricultural groups. Again, it’s the false choice on this. Make no mistake about this. Our farmers and our producers care deeply about clean water and clean air because they’re ethical and their children drink that. They also understand that there are smart regulations. On the way down here, at the rest stop right down the road, you see a bald eagle. No one’s saying that we shouldn’t have done something on pesticide usage that protected that resource. There are smart things we can do.
When there’s an overreach on regulation, where the Waters of the U.S. was asking to get to the point where it was onerous and it went back on the pledge to not affect existing farming practices, I went to bat and fought for them. So I think the one thing is, not assuming the worst in the other side, believing that we can produce food, we can fuel the world, we can clothe the world, and we can also do it in a responsible manner, recognizing that if you don’t do it that way, in the long run, if topsoil is our top export of Minnesota, because we’re not controlling erosion and other things, that makes no sense. Our producers are at the front edge of that. So create good Farm Bills that put the emphasis on conservation as well as production and risk management.
HAGEDORN: I grew up on a farm, I support the Farm Bill, but here’s where we disagree. We shouldn’t have a congressman that goes to Washington and votes for all these extremist regulations and other policies that are hurting our farmers. One of the biggest ah problems for farmers today are regulations comin out of this administration. Bob Stallman, the former Farm Bureau head, said that regulations pose the biggest threat to the farmer – and he’s right.
You talk about Waters of the United States. What you forget to tell people is that you voted for two amendments on the House floor, the Bishop Amendments, extremist environmentalist amendments that would have gutted the Republican bill, and allowed that thing to go forward. We need regulatory reform. To make sure that the Congress decides which regulations go impact the farmers and others. Not the EPA bureaucrats, not the FDA bureaucrats. The Congress, the people’s representatives. That’s called the REINS Act, the Republicans brought that up many times. Collin Peterson, a Democrat, supports that. I support that. Congressman Walz has voted against it repeatedly. Why he wants to leave the power with Obama and the bureaucrats, instead of the people’s representatives, is beyond me.
NUTTALL: For our next question we’ll start with Jim. What can be done to help fund resources, staff and programs to improve local and regional mental health services for families, individuals, veterans or others?
HAGEDORN: Well that’s a very important issue, thank you for the question. Y’know I I’m a small government guy, I’m a limited government guy. So I like to see the programs from Washington sent back to the states and the localities so your representatives, whether it’s State Senator Miller or y’know your governor, whomever, can make those decisions.
When you get into the area of veterans’ care, and I know it’s one that the congressman has been concerned about, and working on, and I happen to have a United States veteran who works for me on our campaign, Kyle, an Afghanistan Afghanistan vet. And we talk about the suicides and so forth, upwards of 22 a day. And I’ve had conversations with vets across the district, one in Rice County. And the the position that I take is that all veterans should be able to choose their own doctors, including their own psychiatrists, get care when and where they need it, there should never be a time when the phone doesn’t, isn’t answered at the VA, which has happened to the suicide hotline, that’s been a disgrace, unfortunately too many veterans have been falling through the cracks.
WALZ: Well I think it starts, and it started here in Minnesota, it started in a bipartisan manner, Congressman Jim Ramstad, a Republican, and the late Senator Paul Wellstone, worked for the first time to make mental health parity, saying that mental health should be held on the same status as physical health. And what that did was, is it made the insurance companies recognize that, and then pay for those treatments.
Now the tricky part of this is, is there are not enough providers. We have thousands of openings for folks, we do not graduate enough people in this. That’s why I think there are some good brain-based research, some good stuff coming out of community-based peer-to-peer type of ah ah therapies and programs to work on, that’s why I’m incredibly proud of the bipartisan work we did on the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act. Clay was a marine, I’ll tell ya a little bit about him later, ah from Afghanistan and Iraq. But what it did was, is the American Psychological Association said it was the single biggest change in pulling down the barriers to access to mental health care, in the last 30 years.
So I think the two things coupled, making sure that the funding is there, especially those with insurance, and then making sure we change the ways the providers are able to get to folks.
NUTTALL: Next question, we’ll start with Tim. Once again we are hearing about more corruption in government-run services. Not long ago was the Veterans Administration problems, and yesterday we heard about further Medicare fraud being uncovered. What are you positioned to do to clean up the corruption, and is this where the Affordable Care Act is also headed?
WALZ: Well I think you always have to ah assume that – I think we need to be skeptical. The problem I have is, is that in the VA Committee, which I will I will tell you, ah that the Republican leadership on the VA Committee has been outstanding. Jeff Miller and the members that I serve with on that, there is no separation with us on this issue. We are unified on this, we have the same mission. And the same goals. But I will tell you this. We have two staffers on the Oversight and Investigation Committee, on the VA Committee, there were eleven on the Benghazi Committee. So we have to decide how we’re going to put our resources, where are those issues. And like any large bureaucracy, they can be prone to going awry. That’s why the oversight needs to be there, that’s why you need to have folks who understand this, making sure it’s there.
And again, it is unacceptable if it is an oversight in Medicare, it’s unacceptable if it’s Wells Fargo. It’s unacceptable if it’s Google, looking at our emails. That’s why oversight, and that’s why when people disdain that you need regulation or you need an outside observer, that is not government. That is you having the voice there to see that. So I think you always assume that ah prepare for it.
HAGEDORN: Well I’m gonna address – the issue that I think ah he touched upon, it makes some sense. Look, another reason that I have an advantage in this race is because I have seen the inside of the bureaucracy, and I’m one of the few people ever to downsize government, it downsized my own agency with something called the EFT 99. That’s what you’re lookin for, is the people to go out to Washington, identify problems, and then take steps, even if it means closing down their own agency or whatever. I think that’s very important.
We need Civil Service reform in the United States. We talk about maybe firing and demoting veteran ah you know VA employees when they make mistakes against veterans. We should do that. But we should also do that across the board. If people in HHS or EPA or other agencies mis – you know, for misconduct or other reasons, they should be fired and demoted in an expedited way. Now it takes something like 700 days to make a change for a federal employee – nobody gets fired, it’s very rare. So I would be someone who would want Civil Service reform. The government unions give him a lot of money, I don’t think he’ll ever support it. But that’s where I am.
HAGEDORN: Well I think we need legal immigration! Legal. This has gone on for far too long. My opponent is for open borders and he’s voted for Obama’s amnesty. That’s unacceptable. That’s not what we need. We need to secure America’s borders, and have a legal process to citizenship.
And the other thing about that is, 15 years after 9-11, think about it. We still haven’t fixed the visa and passport system, we have people roaming around in our country up to five million, we don’t even know who they are! We don’t know where they are, we don’t know what they’re doing. If you remember, on 9-11, several of the hijackers from Saudi Arabia and other countries overstayed their visas, they were out of compliance at times. We could have another 9-11 unfortunately brewing. I think just the other day, we had some problems with the –
So we need to secure our borders, have a legal system, for immigration, make sure that we have a work program so people can come here and fill jobs, and build up citizenship, but we have to have a process that’s orderly and I completely and 100% oppose Obama’s amnesty that my opponent voted for.
WALZ: Well we have a – surprisingly, we have a little bit of an overlap of agreement here. The legal immigration system is what needs to be addressed. That’s where the problem is; when we talk about legal immigration reform, that’s about updating the technology, making sure we have digital fingerprints, all the things necessary – because every sovereign nation has a right to secure its border.
That’s why ah quite some time ago, many years ago, ah four I believe, the United States Senate passed with an unimaginable amount, of about 70 votes, to do comprehensive immigration reform. It has never seen a vote in the House of Representatives. President Obama took an executive action because Congress was doing nothing to forward that. It’s an agreement in this country that you should come to this country in a legal pathway, if you come here and play by the rules, pay your taxes, work hard, you should be able to join the American dream just like our immigrant ancestors did that. And you can do that by having those systems in place, but still respecting our values. We are stronger because of our diversity, we are stronger because of the access of the skills that come here, and it is not insurmountable, but you cannot get it. If you refuse to bring the very vehicle to fix it to even a vote.
WALZ: Well first of all I championed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair – Fair Pay (laughs) Act, it’s unconscionable – I’ve got a 15-year-old daughter – it’s unconscionable when she would hear that on parity, women are making 78 cents or less to to the dollar. I think it comes by our rhetoric in our language. Ah I am troubled, as I think most of you are, by the presidential campaign and the language that’s being used.
We’re better than that. We can start to make sure that that happens. And then making sure that we have adequate access to education again. Again, it’s something that, in 2016, seems beyond me, that we haven’t furthered that. But the fact is, we still are paying less to women for doing the same job; access to the marketplace is harder without paid family leave, that makes it more difficult for women to further their career, to move back into the workforce after having children, and I think it just makes good economic sense for us to do that. So I think those are some starts. The Lilly Ledbetter – Fair Pay Act was a great first start towards equity.
HAGEDORN: I’m for equal opportunity for everyone. And I I think the time has come that where we have to revisit these affirmative action type programs and start ah ex expecting people to stand up on their own, and to move forward on their own. In some cases, I think it’s hurting a whole bunch of people in our society. Setting ‘em back, actually.
But in in answer to your last thing, y’know ah illegal immigration isn’t just something here and there that’s a nuisance. And we had Earl Olander, a retired farmer, a 90-year-old farmer in Minnesota, butchered by two illegal aliens, just in this past year. This is happening across this country. People are being shot, people are being killed. And the people have no business being here. Our government is literally welcoming them into the country. The border patrol is instructed to catch them at the border and then release them into the country, hoping that years later, people will show up for a hearing. Hoping that years later, maybe we’ll be able to ah deport them. It makes no sense. We need people in Washington D.C that are committed to addressing the problem and solving the problem of illegal immigration.
HAGEDORN: Well I I support a whole a whole number. The big difference on this issue with my opponent and myself. In my opinion, he has a pre– 9-11 mentality and mindset; that is dangerous. Fifteen years after 9-11, think about it. And he’s been out there for 10 of ‘em. The borders remain open. We’ve been bringing in 800,000 people, mostly from countries that don’t like America, it’s created a terrorist recruiting problem here in the United States. Congressman Walz even says “Maybe we should bring in the terrorists and put ‘em in Rochester, from Guantanamo Bay.”
Folks, we need to secure our borders. I’ve called for a refugee resettlement timeout so we can figure out what’s goin on in this country, and we don’t need to be bringing Khaliq Sheikh Mohammed and those Islamic terrorists in Guantanamo Bay and relocating them to Rochester! Giving them the Miranda rights like Congressman Walz. We need to give ‘em the last rites and protect our country.
WALZ: Well I spent my entire adult life, 24 years, in uniform, and in deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, which was the war against global terrorism. We do need robust military action where it’s needed. We need to have coordination amongst the agencies to make sure that we’re talking amongst one another. We’ve started to see that in the basement of the Pentagon, where agencies, intelligence agencies, are working hand in hand with the military.
But we also need to understand the final solution to this is certainly not going to be a military solution. And it’s going to last quite some time. We’re going to have to recognize it – an expert was in testifying a few weeks ago in Congress, and asked how long will this take on that specific issue. And he said “Twenty-five years or more.” That’s going to be a minimum of four presidencies. Some you may like and some you may not like. But what we need to understand is, that when a president’s elected, we don’t need to stymie every single piece of legislation they do because you disagree with them. We need to find common ground.
And on this issue, America has found this before, we – it is not a defining characteristic of us to be led by fear. We lead by courage and we lead by our principles. We have, and need to make sure we have a robust military, and I’ve led the fight to make sure that we don’t pull the drawdown on troops, that they’re there if needed.
WALZ: Well first of all, Social Security is the strongest antipoverty program that we’ve ever had. Ah keep in mind when it was started out, it was resisted much like Medicare, and it couldn’t work, it was socialism, it wouldn’t go. What we understand now is, is that it was smart. It was smart economics. The system of Social Security is far different than Medicare. There’s just a few fixes you can do, and President Reagan proved this with Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, that if we just get together – remember the eighties, Social Security was supposed to be on the brink. We got together, passed legislation, and it’s solvent.
I think one of the things that you could do is the withholding that stops – which, I did not know this as a teacher – they stop taking Social Security out after you make more than $113,000. I think it would be an easy fix; why don’t we just withhold up to what members of Congress make – and anybody making that amount or less, we withhold that, if we do that, Social Security is solvent for full payments for 72 years.
So Social Security can be fixed, it can be fixed working together, collaboratively, with an understanding that Social Security is important.
HAGEDORN: The biggest threat to Social Security is the 20 trillion dollar national debt that’s gone from 8-1/2 trillion dollars when Tim was in Washington, started going to Washington 10 years ago, to 20 today. And ah if we lose control of that at some point, we’ll lose the American dream, and the people who are on fixed incomes will be the ones to bear the brunt.
I I don’t think anything changed should be made to Social Security for anyone even close to retirement age: 50, 45, whatever. We can figure out what that is. But perhaps a commission of younger people, in order to determine their future, that that might make some sense. And I’m open to all ideas.
Now as far as this thing about Islamics terrorism, and it being fear based and all of that, it’s not fear based; it’s happening. We just had an Islamic terrorist attack in in Saint Cloud. What’s to stop that from happening unfortunately in our neighborhoods and our cities? So, I think when you want to secure the country, when you wanna be secure from people, a subset of which are here to harm us, Islamic supremacists, we see this all around the world, that isn’t preaching fear, that isn’t preaching anything except common sense.
HAGEDORN: Well I I have a couple ideas on that, but one in particular would be to allow parents to use pretax income for higher education. Another would be for anyone 18 to 30, when they go out in the workforce and make money, that they they would pay no federal taxes on that money for a period of time. So they could use the money for college, or to start a business, or to save or whatever.
What I’m not for is having all these government monies flow to people if if you have results. We’re gonna give you money if you do this. I I’m not for that, I think we should treat everyone the same, whether they wanna go to college or don’t wanna go to college, and that’s what I’d like to see.
I think that what’s been happening, though, in years past, is they’ve they’ve flooded the marketplace with a lot of money, people have kind of paid up – spent up to their credit cards if you will, a lot of higher education have maybe gone ahead and increased salaries, and the cost of college, and it’s gotten out of control. And so for those reasons, I would bring it back to the people. Take the power from Washington and others, give it back to the students, give it back to the families.
WALZ: I would agree with Jim on a his first couple of points. I think those are some innovative ideas that we could work together on, the ability of either tax credits or talking about some of the ways to make it more affordable. I don’t think it gets at the heart of the the cost drivers in in the forefront, and we have to ah we do have to understand why that’s happening.
But I I also do say, and you heard it was about the giveaways, you do something and we’ll give you this, ah I took one of those deals, they said “You join the Army and you can get the GI Bill.” Ah it was a good deal for the country, it was a real good deal for me, because my father had died, we didn’t have any money – but I was able to pay for college without taking student loan debt. And I paid it back since then with a working income and taxes.
I think there’s the capacity there that I really think, and there’s young people in the room, I’d be interested to hear their feedback, but the military is not for everyone, nor should it be. We have an all-volunteer force and I fully support that. But national service as a way ah to get in there. Maybe there’s other things that you can do, and you can receive some portion of that, maybe it’s helping an inner-city reading programs, or in rural areas, ah – I saw it here this summer with the feeding program down at the library, with our young people, when the bus came up, that’s a fabulous program, that makes great sense, there’s maybe some things in there that young people can do and we can make that work, but I I do think that if we don’t address it, it’s an absolutely catastrophic event, both for the economy, and I think it’s unconscionable for us as a generation.
If you had a minimum wage job when I graduated from high school, and worked the summer, you could pay the tuition for a year at the University of Minnesota. This generation is not getting the same square deal that we got, and we’ve gotta figure out how to do that. Because it’s not lip service. They are the future. We need to start investing in them, and they need to start spending money in the economy, not to the banks for student loans, but on cars. Whatever else they need to buy.
NUTTALL: Next question, we’ll start with Tim. Do you believe any of the following legislation is appropriate? There are four items. One: ban assault assault-type rifles. Two: eliminate magazine clips that will shoot as many as 50-plus rounds before reloading. Three: Mandatory background checks. Or four: hire enough people to carry out legislation and prosecute those who do not comply?
WALZ: No, no, yes, yes. And what I say by that is, is once again, this is a false choice. I staunchly support all constitutional rights, ah the Second Amendment being one of those. I grew up on a farm, .ah it’s something that was part of our culture, that responsible citizens have a constitutional right to own firearms.
But the issue on this is, is no one should think it’s acceptable for a terrorist to be out there and be able to get a weapon, and no one should think that you shouldn’t just have to go through – every gun I’ve ever bought, I did the NICS background check and they were able to provide it back. The problem is, if you don’t fully fund that system, something I’ve asked for, it’s very difficult to get an accurate readout.
And again, the false fallacies on this is well, the the criminals are gonna do it anyway, that very well may be true, but I think most – law-abiding and most responsible gun owners are perfectly fine, the ability to go purchase a weapon, make sure they’re not a felon, make sure they’re not a terrorist to the best of our ability, and then make sure that we ah we abide by that. So there is again, there’s the potential to get this fixed, and I think that it shows once again, that I have the potential to bring groups on both sides together in support of a solution.
HAGEDORN: I believe the laws that are on the books are sufficient, and one of the biggest problems that we have in our country with gun violence is that we don’t have governments that are prosecuting the criminals as they should. And jailing the criminals as they should, and we have too many felons on the street.
I I’m a believer in the right to keep and bear arms and a strong supporter, I do receive an A rating from the NRA, as does the congressman, he’s the incumbent, so they give him the endorsement. The gun owners of America give me the A rating, give him the F, but that’s y’know, to be decided.
Ah I think one of the areas that needs to be addressed in in when it comes to gun rights is gun-free zones. We’ve seen too many times in the last 10 years when gun-free zones on military bases for instance, have allowed to have allowed Islamic terrorists and others to butcher our soldiers. Who were unprotected on base, didn’t have the chance to conceal carry, or protect themselves in any meaningful way. I think that’s inexcusable. I believe that every veteran who’s out there serving on active duty on base deserves the chance to defend him or herself. That would be a priority of mine in Congress.
HAGEDORN: I support pipelines, yes. I support refineries. I support distribution points. And here’s where I come down: if you want to be energy independent and keep downward pressure on cost, it’s not enough just to go out and explore and have more crude oil and gas. In the United States. And that means in Alaska, that means on the coast, and that means on public public lands. That’s the only way we’re going to get there. But we also have to have the energy infrastructure in order to make that happen. My opponent voted against the Keystone Pipeline twice before he voted for it. He votes for massive ah energy and EPA and other regulations to make it more difficult on the natural gas industry to build pipelines.
We have to come to grips with this. We’re either gonna be energy independent or we’re not. We’re either gonna utilize the resources God gave us, or we’re not. And we can do it in an environmentally friendly way. We’ve done it for many years. I mean look around. The air is clean, the water’s clean, we’re having good times in America, we can have our U.S. energy be ah self sufficient, help our economy, and still have a strong environment.
WALZ: Again, we have the false choices that come up on this. Ah I do support pipelines, and that was false statement
WALZ: but I support them ah – when the environmental impact statements are done. When we do our due diligence. The idea that we should do anywhere, I do not support drilling in Anwar. I do support drilling when there’s areas where we can do, where the technology is there, and where we can contain it. What I don’t support is, is policies like we saw this year in the National Defense Act, that people from who were strictly there, there’s no climate change, we just have to drill for oil, tried to block out from the Pentagon from doing any research into alternative fuels.
The Pentagon is not a bunch of green tree huggers! The Pentagon understands it’s a risk to the climate, it’s a risk to the environment, and it’s a national security issue. They’re trying to create the Great Green Fleet, where we power our Navy using algae. They wouldn’t even allow research into that! I was able to win, with the help of my Republican colleagues who were moderate and looked at the science, that we would put that back in and do research in that. But I do believe pipelines are the safest way to move it, I do not support moving it by rail, especially so through communities like this, as long as the environmental study is done correctly.
WALZ: Well, that’s a very difficult and complex ah question. And and the reason why I say that is, is we get ourselves into problems if we think a military solution is going to be the only thing. The military solution can be a part of this, but the broad base of American smart power are diplomacy, are economics, our values are a piece of this, of making sure that radicalization, both here and abroad, is kept under control, making sure that we are building large coalitions with our allies, and making sure that we are containing the extremism, but not taking our eye off other national security threats. Whether it’s the Chinese and the Spratly Islands, or whether it’s Russian aggression into eastern Europe.
And so – I I think you cannot tie your hands, I think we live in a world, and every soldier would tell you this, that they would wish for peace – but you plan in the case that we don’t. But I think the fallacy is, is that we’re going to be able to use military support alone in the Middle East right now. It is a horrific situation, and when you watch the children in Aleppo, in Syria, we need – we need to figure this one out. Collectively as a planet.
HAGEDORN: He voted against the Keystone pipeline twice. And he voted against ah natural gas ah that one time, and I can help the press with that after we’re done. And show ‘em where.
Now, you talk about diplomacy in the Middle East, and the Middle East is in chaos, and when President Obama and people like Congressman Walz inherited their jobs here, inherited the Middle East, it was relatively calm. Iraq was okay. We had a stable government there. Then they pulled the troops out in such a way as we didn’t keep the peace. Now we have ISIS and chaos. Libya was a stable government. Well, guess what? They had to go in and kill Gaddafi. That was – Hillary Clinton’s idea. That was her war, you voted for it. You were on the House floor defending her on that. Now we have chaos! And refugees. And an undermining in most of those areas. Luckily, Egypt – they undermined Egypt as well. Luckily, after the Muslim Brotherhood took over, the military took back over, or that place would be a mess. We’re creating a lot of problems with a foreign policy that doesn’t that doesn’t respect stability in the area, that seems to wanna get involved in everything – both administrations, the past administrations
NUTTALL: Thank you. Your time is up.
HAGEDORN: have made mistakes. No doubt about that.
HAGEDORN: Well, I thought we already worked on that. But ah look – the the elections are run by the states, I understand that, if there are issues that come before the federal government, I’d take a look at that.
But I I think the main thing that we have to focus on right now is making sure that every const every citizen’s right is respected under the Constitution. And when people vote in elections who have no business voting in elections, whether it’s this fella in Washington state or whatever, then you’re nullifying a U.S. citizen’s right. So I I don’t think we’ve had too many problems like that in Minnesota; I guess my Republican friends would say “Well, don’t forget about that whole Al Franken election a few years ago.” But that’s a that’s something for another day.
WALZ: The integrity of our voting system is absolutely the most fundamental piece of our democracy, the ability to do peaceful transitions after you’ve lost an election and know the results are fair, is absolutely critical. Ah I think several things that we can do is modernizing the Voting Rights Act, to make sure we’re not marginalizing people, any time you turn on your TV and you see lines snaking around the block of people waiting to vote, that is hurting the democracy. That is making it harder for us to get things done.
In this day and age, with the technology that we have, we should be able to making sure that ah there aren’t onerous barriers for people to be able to vote. That we’re opening it up and making it possible for people to leave work, who are citizens! And are going to vote. And and want to vote, and want to participate. But making it so difficult for them to get there, those are things that we can work on. I think, as I said, Minnesota took a great first step, and I think the other states should follow suit on it, making sure that you have no excuse early voting so that people who are busy or doing different things can go in and get access to it.
But let’s not kid ourselves: that there’s areas of this country where it’s very difficult to get access to the ballot.
WALZ: (pauses) Well, I’m not for ‘em. No, I (laughs) think – here’s what I think. I I think that the term limit issue is this: I’ll tell ya how you fix it. You fix it the term limit issue like this and I will tell you: it’s not corruption with a big C, it’s corruption with a small c. And I worry about, being skeptical of government is in our American DNA, being cynical is bad. And what I do think happens, is it goes back to the issue I said before: you create these congressional districts that are so safe, that people get there, and they don’t have to do anything, and they get 95% of the vote. I wouldn’t get that in my own house because there’s a fairness to it, where you try and have a broad spectrum of issues. Debate and differences are healthy.
And and so I — I think you do this. You do nonpartisan judicial redistricting to get these districts as close as you can to being fair. And then you get the money out of politics, or make it fair and transparent in what you would get, is a whole bunch of people running. In states that do something similar to that, incumbents get re-elected 56% of the time. In states that don’t, it’s 90%. And there you make sure if you have a good legislator, doing good work, they can continue on. If they’re not, you can remove them.
HAGEDORN: I think 10 years makes about sense. That’d be about right.
If ah I’m all for term limits, as long as they apply to every state in the nation. We need probably an amendment to the Constitution, it can’t be one state here and one state there. Because then the states that don’t do term limits get an advantage. (to Walz) Right, you’d agree with that?
HAGEDORN: We agree with that.
WALZ: That’s true.
HAGEDORN: One of the one of the innovative ways that I think we can limit power in Washington and U.S. House of Representatives, and it would take a speaker or leaders, with some ah – I think they’d have to be very selfless. But to stand up and say, that after a period of time, serving in the House of Representatives – maybe six years, eight years, 10 years, 12 years, whatever it is – you lose all your seniority! You go back to the worst parking spot, the worst office, the worst committees, whatever. And no one’s gonna call you Mr. Chairman again for awhile, or or y’know you’re all the way down the line. And pretty soon you’d find, that there’d be a lot of members of Congress that would say, “Y’know, if I’m gonna lose out on my position here, in the House, I think I’ll just go ahead and retire and move on.” So. Y’know there are ways to limit power. But it takes selfless people in Washington to get it done. That would be something that I would encourage them.
HAGEDORN: Well, I think the problem out there, you hear about bipartisanship. Let me let me make a statement. It wasn’t – the congressman wasn’t very bipartisan when he supported Obamacare with 100% Democrat votes. He wasn’t very bipartisan to support Dodd-Frank with 100% ah Democrat votes. It it wasn’t very bipartisan to spend a trillion dollars on the economy in 2009 with that stimulus bill. A hundred percent Democrat votes.
You put these things in motion, the big problems of the day are created, and then when some of us want to come along and make big changes, and there’s gridlock, they go “Oh look, nobody can get along.” Well, I stand for big change. I stand for big change at the border, I stand for big change with refugees, I stand for big change in the economy, with government reforms, that’s where we need to be. Big ideas to solve big problems.
And so ah from that standpoint, probably the best thing that can happen to stop gridlock in Washington would be for the Senate to get rid of the 60-vote rule when it comes to appropriating monies and some of those issues in order to be able to move bills through the Senate, get to conference, and get the bills on the president’s desk.
NUTTALL: Thank you. Tim. WALZ: I think I agree with Jim on that last part. There’s a saying out in Washington that the problem in the House isn’t between Democrats and the Republicans, it’s with the Senate. And ah there is a little bit of truth in that. But that’s how our system was set up. Ah I do believe, and I make no apologies for bipartisanship, I’m proud that when they did the most extensive study ever, I ended up as the fourth most bipartisan. And they also tied that to effectiveness: who can get things done? Who works with the other side? And who talks publicly about the other side? I think that’s the first thing, of not assuming people don’t love their country as much as you, don’t want to make sure that ah that that people have opportunities, they do.
I don’t make any apologies that if – if my Republican colleagues did not want to join us, on making sure that 26 million Americans had insurance, that we got rid of pre-existing conditions, that we made sure you didn’t have a lifetime cap, we made sure women weren’t discriminated against, and we made sure that the big banks who destroyed the economy in 2008 were held accountable, so that things like Dodd-Frank could make sure that we were able to go after them what we saw at Wells Fargo. If you don’t want to join us on that, that’s fine. But the issue is you need to move on these things and improve people’s lives.
HAGEDORN: Well, it’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks to the League and all the press and the folks that have been here. Congressman, thanks for a fun hour here of debate.
Ah I’m running because I believe our country is facing some serious substantial issues, and if we don’t make fundamental change, we in many ways will lose our country the way the forefathers put it together. It’s that dire. I’m running on big ideas and big solutions to defend our nation and its borders, to defend our nation from people coming to America from countries that hate America, I’m running on big ideas like regulatory reform, tax reform, energy independence, and protecting our God-given rights. The right to life, the right to keep and bear arms, and the right to religious freedom.
My opponent’s been in Washington for 10 years. He doesn’t have a real good record of solving things. In fact, he’s voted for the policies that I think have made things worse. A clear contrast in this election, I ask for your vote, if I receive your vote, we can win back this seat, we can take back our country, we can restore America’s greatness. Thank you very much.
WALZ: Well thank you all, thank you to the moderators, thank you to Jim for being here, and to each of you. You did get to see a contrast on this. There’s there’s one that sees that shining city on the hill, there’s one that believes that what we can do together ah is positive, that there aren’t false alternatives, that we can both be land of the free and home of the brave, that we can honor our traditions of being a country of immigrants at the same time securing our borders. And that comes with solutions that are able to work together.
The House of Representatives is a collaborative body. If you can’t get 217 of your colleagues to do something, it’s not gonna move forward. And guess what: you have to get the Senate. And guess what? You have to get the presidency. And the beautiful nature of this system is, we have divided government. We have divided government amongst the branches. So the key to this is, respecting people’s opinion, having solutions that hold true to those principles, but use innovation, use science, and use what we can do together. If we do that, we’ve proved it time and time again, America has always been great. It didn’t stop being great! But it was towards a more perfect union. That’s our generation’s responsibility. That’s their generation’s responsibility. And together we can make it better. I hope I can earn your support in the coming weeks, and thank you for being here.
NUTTALL: Thank you candidates for an informative event. The League of Women Voters would also like to thank our co-sponsors for this evening, and all of our 2016 Voter Services forums. This evening concludes all of the 2016 Voter Services educational forums. Pending the availability of the government access government channels, we do plan to re-broadcast this forum. It will also be posted on the League of Women Voters Winona Facebook page, in a few days. All of our previous forums, cities, counties, Winona school board, and Minnesota legislature, are posted at this site now.
If you need to register to vote, or change your address, this needs to be done by October 18th, 2016. You can register online at the Minnesota Secretary of State web site, you do need a Minnesota driver’s license. If you need information on becoming a registered voter, call the Winona county auditor or the Winona city clerk. If you are not registered to vote and are planning to vote, you may register to vote online at the Minnesota secretary of state’s office until October 18th for the general election. Minnesota does have registration at the polls, and you may register there. Check the Minnesota secretary of state’s web site on the process, as several items of identification must be provided on election day to election judges.
MinnesotaLWV.org is a web site you may also use for general voter services information. Please vote. The general election is on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016. The polls are open at 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. Thank you, and have a great evening.