Final CD3 Debate: Terri Bonoff Vs. Erik Paulsen On KSTP-TV – Full Debate Transcript And Video

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) and State Senator Terri Bonoff (DFL) held their second and final debate of the campaign season on KSTP-TV just nine days before election day.

The two debated in August. But since then Paulsen’s office has turned down all other debate opportunities until accepting the KSTP-TV debate offer just days ago.

Transcript and video

Transcript by Susan Maricle

LEAH McLEAN: And, now we have Representative Erik Paulsen, and State Senator Terri Bonoff here from the Third District. Ah thank you both for coming in for this debate, which as we just saw from our last one, we really have more of a conversation here. So thank you both for coming in. Ah Senator Bonoff, let’s start with the opening statement with you, please.

TERRI BONOFF: Well, thank you. I am running for Congress because I believe in the promise of our country and its people. I think it is more important now than ever before that we elect courageous leaders. Leaders who can bring people together on both sides of the aisle together to tackle our very real tough challenges.

In the Minnesota Senate I’ve earned a reputation for doing just that. As a pro-business Democrat, I’ve worked with the Minnesota Chamber to create the Minnesota Pipeline Project. That program was really about getting rid of student debt, and addressing the skills gap. It connected students with employers – they get on-the-job training, they get paid wages while they’re getting their degree. When they’re done, they actually have a job. That work has been written about twice in the last year by Forbes magazine. It’s that kind of bold leadership that I would bring with me to Congress, where it is sorely lacking.

You know, Congressman Paulsen, you’ve been there for eight years. And I think you’ve enabled part of that ah gridlock and that obstructionist Congress. And I also believe that you have voted ah too often on the wrong side of history, with the extreme part of the right wing part of your party. And so, I believe that I have the values and the vision to represent this district. I was proud to be endorsed by ECM Publishers, and they’re the the group that has all the local community newspapers. And what they said when they endorsed me, is that I represented, in my candidacy, real hope and change. And so I have been a courageous leader in ah the business world, in the Minnesota Senate, and I would be that in Washington. Thank you.

McLEAN: Thank you. Representative Paulsen.

ERIK PAULSEN: Thank you, and Leah thanks for hosting ah the debate tonight with KSTP. Ah I’m running for Congress once again – now is a time when Minnesota expects its elected leaders, more than at any other time, to work across the aisle bipartisanly. Ah transcend ah partisan politics. And I’ve got a great track record of doing that, I’m going to continue to do that. Whether it’s repealing the medical device tax, which is focusing on keeping high-paying jobs right here in the state, ah high-paying jobs that are so critical in all of Minnesota, I worked on that with Senator Klobuchar, and I was persistent. It took five years to get that across the finish line, to suspend that tax. So sometimes it can take awhile, or sometimes there may be an issue that moves quicker, such as stopping aid to human trafficking, or sex trafficking. Also a very bipartisan issue, where we were able to get that done in less than a year. And it’s literally saving lives.

And recently I passed a Missing Children bill. Ah that will help now find missing children. And now help put sex offenders behind bars. And so we’re in a time now, with partisan gridlock, with partisan politics, and I want to continue to be part of a constructive solution to move the ball forward. It’s one of the reasons why I was endorsed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently, why I’m endorsed by the business organizations such as NFIB or TwinWest Chamber for instance, and ah I’m gonna continue to work along that mold. And I’m one of only 34 members, this year, that has had a bill signed into law from either party, of either body, by the president. And I think that’s what Minnesotans expect, is that type of leadership, I’m gonna continue to do that if I’m elected again next week.

McLEAN: Thank you, and thank you both for being here again. Let’s get into some of these questions now. Let’s focus on the economy right off the bat. Ah the Third District is home to a mix to different industries. There are large corporations, small businesses, technology startups as well, so what needs to be done to make sure that the Third District specifically continues to create jobs and continues to be economically viable? Representative Paulsen.

PAULSEN: Well, there’s no doubt our economy should be performing better than it is right now. Ah it’s literally the worst economic recovery in the history of the country, we have ah record numbers of people working part time that would prefer to work full time – we’re in a growth gap right now. We’ve got, for the first time, ah a third of folks that are aged 18 to 31, living at home with their parents. That’s the biggest percentage in 40, 40 years. In four decades. And it’s the first time in history, during an economic recovery, where we literally have had median incomes fall.

So I believe we need tax reform. We need tax reform ah to help international corporations do ah more competitiveness, bring jobs back home, so they don’t transfer jobs overseas, get the earnings back home, keep the headquarters here, keep the jobs here, keep the innovation here. But it also means we have to help small businesses. And Main Street companies. And that means lowering their business rate, tax rates.

Ah Terri has a different record. Because she has voted for, a fourth-tier income tax. And when we have a fourth-tier income tax, that hits small business hard. And so we have a different view on some fiscal issues or pocketbook issues. But tax reform is absolutely needed if we’re gonna help create more jobs here in our local economy.

McLEAN: Senator Bonoff.

BONOFF: Thank you Leah. So ah there’s nothing more important as I look at what the job of being a congresswoman would be, than making sure we have a strong economy and we grow the jobs. Minnesota has a very impressive ah unemployment right now. It’s 3.7%, but that’s not the whole story. Because there are those who have timed out, who after the recession, never got back into the the job force, and so we have to do all we can to ensure a strong economy.

You know, I think the most important thing we can do, looking longterm, is focus on the next generation. And that is why I shared about my work with regard to the Pipeline Project. But really, small business is the engine of our economy, and so in the Senate, that’s what I focused on. I was the ah chief author of the Angel Investment Startup, Angel Investment tax credit, and then, also, the R&D Investment Credit. And, work with Jenifer Loon, a Republican in your (to PAULSEN) your community from the House to do the equity crowdfunding, allowing young people, in particular unaccredited investors to be able to invest online. So that startups have more access to capital.

But I too believe we need to do significant tax reform. We are blessed to have Fortune 500 companies in our midst, and we need to reform our tax code so that they can bring their profits back. We need them to be able to repatriate their money. And your comment – I do have to address this comment, about my fourth tier. So the only ah tax ah that I have voted for with regard to income taxes was back in 2009, when we had a big deficit and we had a constitutional obligation to balance the budget, and it never happened. Governor Dayton proposed a fourth tier that actually became law, and I was one of the very few Democrats that voted against that. And because of that and several other votes that I’ve taken, I have been endorsed in every re-election by the Minnesota Chamber, the TwinWest Chamber, I’ve gotten the Guardian of Small Business award, each of my last re-elections, including this past summer. So I ah don’t believe the answer is to increase the tax burden. And the Star Tribune actually did say that in that endorsement. They said that Congressman Paulsen mischaracterized my record, and that in fact, I have a record of fiscal restraint.

PAULSEN: (unclear), just to be clear, though, I, so you did vote, though, for a fourth tier income tax. A billion dollar tax increase that would hit small businesses. And this is a time when small businesses can’t afford to pay any more. We’ve seen it in healthcare, which I’m sure we’re gonna talk about, in just a little bit as well.

McLEAN: Mm-hmm.

PAULSEN: And each, every single one of those business organizations you mentioned have now endorsed my candidacy, because they understand the difference. And so I’m gonna continue to work across the aisle, on bipartisan issues, to

BONOFF: So Erik –

PAULSEN: get our economy going on tax reform.

BONOFF: Erik, you purposefully distort my record, and you actually you know bought a domain name called Taxin’ Terri, which seems to me is kinda un, uncharacteristic of a congressman. But, it kinda takes a page out the playbook of Donald Trump. Where you call people names. But what I would say is, I want everybody to know, that I didn’t vote for the recent tax increase that, when we were faced with a very difficult choice, how are you gonna close this budget gap, and we have a constitutional obligation to balance the budget, we had a choice. Are you gonna borrow from schools or raise taxes? We put out a bill that said we were gonna raise taxes, governor vetoed it, and we ended up borrowing from schools. I did not vote for the fourth tier tax that our communities are now experiencing, and I issued ah a bill or worked on a bill to exempt small businesses from that fourth tier rate, because I think it is a burden on small businesses, I think we have to take the burden away from small businesses.

McLEAN: Let’s talk about the medical device tax, as as we’re on the topic of taxes now. Ah Congressman Paulsen, I know you have been a supporter of suspending the medical device tax. Ah it was part of the Affordable Care Act, which yes, we will get into that in a moment here too. But Senator Bonoff, my question to you is, what path do you support for the future of the medical device tax?

BONOFF: Well, I support a permanent repeal. Absolutely, it is very important to our community that that happen, and so ah I appreciated Congressman Paulsen’s leadership on that. And, I I think though, it is a bigger question, is what is the future of the Affordable Care Act, and how we’re gonna pay for it, and and so I welcome ah getting into that discussion if you’d like.

McLEAN: Mm-hmm. And what about you, Representative? Um would you support the full repeal of the tax then? (unclear)

PAULSEN: Absolutely. Here’s what has to happen next. It took five years to get there, right, to get it across the finish line. And the only reason that we were able to get it across the finish line is because of the bipartisan work and leadership that I was able to do in the House, which prompted the Senate into action with Senator Klobuchar, and the entire Minnesota delegation was on board. We literally, eventually, because this is such a bad policy, it was taxing innovation, hurting patients, hurting jobs here in Minnesota, we ended up essentially with a veto-proof margin, despite the president’s objections to changing portions of the Affordable Care Act, where we were able to get this bipartisanly across the finish line. And now, with the forty-some thousand jobs we have here in Minnesota, we’re seeing them plow that money back into research and development, back in innovation, it’s gonna help life-saving and life-improving ah technologies that are gonna help our patients. And our jobs.

McLEAN: Um – we both want to talk, I think, about the Affordable Care Act.

BONOFF: Yeah.

McLEAN: So let’s dig into this a little bit more.

BONOFF: Okay.

McLEAN: Y’know, here in Minnesota, we’ve seen the cost of health insurance on the individual market. Going up, for some people, 67%. Ah, Governor Dayton said the Affordable Care Act is not affordable anymore. Ahm, and Representative Paulsen, let’s start with you this time. You voted to repeal the ACA, as you just mentioned. Ah what is the solution then? Is it is it getting rid of the whole thing, is it making changes, what is the solution for healthcare in our country?

PAULSEN: Well, we’re gonna have to start over. (clears throat) In a number of respects right now. Ah number one, you’ve got a system right now that has no competition. You have some states that offer only one provider or one carrier. So of course they’re gonna have skyrocketing insurance rates. As we’ve seen, for instance, in Minnesota. You may have some counties in Minnesota that aren’t even able to offer insurance to their constituents, which would be a disaster. This is a real issue, crisis issue, facing families. So you’ve gotta have insurance companies be able to buy and sell across state lines, you need medical liability reform, you need to make sure that I think health insurance should be portable, so you can take it with you. You should not be job locked ah to your career or your job and have to rely on your employer. You should be able to take it with you like a backpack in early stages of your life, all the way out through your career.

Ah that’s the direction we should go. And more wellness and preventative models with coordinated care and chronic care management. Is the direction to go. Ah Terri’s a little different, she voted for MNsure, and bringing Obamacare to Minnesota. And it has been an utter disaster. It is hurting Minnesota families; I’ve never voted for Obamacare, and we need to move forward and start over on a more effective solutions.

McLEAN: And Senator Bonoff, explain to us where you stand.

BONOFF: Yeah. So ah Erik’s run TV commercials that have said I voted for, it literally, on the screen, said I voted for Obamacare. And that’s kind of silly, because Obamacare was done in Congress. And I’m not in Congress. So. I didn’t vote for Obamacare. And when the federal government mandated the states to have an exchange, and the first thing that the Democrats proposed, the MNsure form of the exchange, I voted “no.” There was an article in the Star Tribune that listed all the votes, and it said all the Democrats voted for it, but Terri Bonoff. And the reason I did that is because I have a great relationship with the companies in my district, the health industry companies, and and they gave – showed me ah concerns about that. And so I used the strength of a no vote to actually shape it. And it did get better. Not all the way, for sure.

But this increase in premiums, who I hold accountable, is actually Congress. And the reason I do, is because Erik, you voted 60 times, over 60 times, to repeal the Affordable Care Act. You’ve had eight years to reform that. It’s fine that now, you know, that you’re feeling the the pressure of what’s happening in this race to say all the things you would do. But – 60 times to repeal, when you could have offered significant reforms to this thing. It’s good to repeal the medical device tax. But: where were you on telling the federal government that they should negotiate drug prices? Where were you on making sure that the Republicans and the Democrats came together and made real reforms?

So ah right now, it reminds me of special ed, when the federal government says, “Everybody y’know deserves a high-quality, equal education,” and we all agree with that, and the feds say, they’re gonna pay for it, and then they don’t follow through. Because your (to PAULSEN) lack of accountability with actually reforming this thing has put the burden back on the states – and so now, the states should have a special session, and they should ah buy down premiums and do whatever it is to take the hurt away from families. But, we should hold our Congress leaders accountable for the mess that we find ourselves in.

PAULSEN: And just to be clear, if people remember when the Affordable Care Act was put into place, you had the president that wanted to do it all his way. And so he didn’t want any bipartisan buy-in, they pushed it through, if you remember Nancy Pelosi said you have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it. And you were promised to be able to keep your healthcare, keep your doctor, we found out that’s not true, and I could tell you many stories of cancer patients that have had to relinquish their network of doctors; and it is a tragic situation. And at the same time, ah Terri you voted on a party-line vote to bring MNsure here, under the final agreement. And give MNsure bonuses, and it’s been an absolute disaster. And now we’re seeing the results. Of people, with the consequences of high premiums, losing their doctor, and we need to fix that and go in a different direction.

BONOFF: So Erik, you start off by saying what President Obama said when it was passed. That was eight years ago. And I know that the leaders in the the U.S. Senate said that the most important thing they could do for the next four years is to make sure Barack Obama didn’t have a second term. And really, that’s an abdication of duty. Because what should be the most important thing now and always, is everything we can do to put the American people first. And so, it’s not okay to say eight years later, that now you would take all these ah actions to to reform it. Because people are hurting, and so I needed you to solve this problem.

And so for example, small businesses: if we could give them pre-tax dollars so that they don’t have to administer it, then you could send healthy people to the exchanges – that would help expand the pool, it would bring the cost down, and just like you’re saying, that would allow for portability. If you could drive people into the individual market – now you would have competition, now you’d have folks wanting to be in that market. And so, there are solutions, and if I’m in Congress, I promise you, I will work with who’s ever there, Republicans and Democrats, just like I’ve done in the Senate, and I would do that to make real change.

McLEAN: Well, let’s talk about who may be there, who may be in Washington DC. According to our KSTP Survey USA poll, voters in the Third District are favoring Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump 48 to 35%; 16% are going for a third-party candidate or undecided. Senator Bonoff, you’ve ah you or some of the other organizations have been running ads, talking about how Representative Paulsen has supported Donald Trump. Ah Representative, you’ve gone on to say since then that you are no longer supporting Donald Trump. Um and Senator Bonoff – is that, is that fair to continue to say that he’s supporting Trump when he’s now said that he’s not?

BONOFF: Yes, so I have no control over what outside groups do. So for example, ah I actually changed an ad to say supported because he said he now disavows him. But I do wanna talk about why I have connected Erik Paulsen to Donald Trump. And I think that that’s a fair question. So let me address that. You know Donald Trump’s candidacy poses a real threat to our country. And the way he has campaigned has really reminded me of a very dark times in our world’s history. When dictators have come to the forefront and they wouldn’t have been able to do that if people had stood up and said “this is unacceptable.” And so I partly got into the race to tell the public, because I wasn’t hearing that from my congressman, that I think Donald Trump poses a danger and a threat to America.

Now, putting that aside, ah Erik – your own record – I do believe that your vote – actually reflects in some ways where Donald Trump stands. So for example, you’re not prochoice, which is a personal choice, but you were actually a leader in wanting to defund Planned Parenthood. And I saw a letter that was sent to President Obama that you were one of the signers, calling Roe v. Wade a tragedy. And our district, resoundingly, rejected the gay marriage ban. And then I came back and was the co-author on the Freedom to Marry bill. But you got an award for your effort to put that ban into the Constitution. I know that Donald Trump stands with the NRA, but you, you’ve got an A- rating, and you voted 26 times to not even bring up gun violence prevention issues! And, done nothing on climate change. And so, it isn’t about Donald Trump. It’s actually that you’re of the wrong side of history on too many votes, and you vote with the right wing of your party.

McLEAN: Representative.

PAULSEN: Well, just to be clear, ah I’ve never endorsed Donald Trump, I was expecting to hopefully be able to vote for the nominee at one time, and had said he would have to earn my vote when he became the nominee. And has said since, that he cannot earn my vote. I endorsed Marco Rubio. I’m the only one who has not endorsed either candidate running. And we have two flawed candidates running, deeply flawed candidates running, unfortunately. That’s the case.

Ah I think a lot of the issues that Terri brought up, ah folks know that I focus on issues where we have bipartisan support, where there is consensus. She wants to talk about divisive issues: I think people are tired of single-issue politics and getting into that type of a a debate, ah but I’ll continue to work and have my track record focusing on issues where we come together and actually move the ball forward.

McLEAN: Do you want to publicly support a candidate for president?

PAULSEN: Well, I endorsed Marco Rubio. So I’m likely to write in Marco Rubio as a candidate for president. But I will say this. Is that Terri had the opportunity to make sure that all of those organizations that came in associating me with Donald Trump and Terri has admitted herself that Erik Paulsen’s nothing like Donald Trump. She had the ability to say “we don’t want those ads,” and she refused to do that. And we have the ability to keep all that negative campaign money out of Minnesota – but here it is, unfortunately.

BONOFF: Yeah, so that’s funny that he said that. So I’m gonna go back to that. What he’s talking about is he offered me a pledge. It said “keep everybody outside,” And I said, “let’s do that, and let’s then, given you’ve already raised several million dollars and I just got into the race, have you give back all your special interest PAC money. And then it’ll be a level playing field, and I’m happy to take that pledge because I saw the last ah FEC report, you had something like 60% of your donations were special interest PAC. So it would, you’d still have a an obviously a big head start, but it would’ve been level.

But I wanna go back to what you said about divisive wedge issues. We had a Sandy Hook shooting where 20 children lost their lives. This is not a divisive wedge issue! We have not addressed gun violence prevention! When we have tragedy after tragedy. And so, I don’t think this is about a divisive wedge issue. I think this is about putting the people first and making common-sense gun violence prevention laws.

And, with regard to women’s choice, when you have a Republican party platform that says they wanna roll back Roe v. Wade, that’s not divisive. That’s actually demeaning to women. You know, I look at everything I do through the lens of, “is it good for kids? Is it good for our state and our nation? And will it build stronger jobs and strengthen our economy?” And talking about overturning Roe v. Wade is not something that the next generation of women have much interest in. And I don’t think that’s a divisive issue, I think that’s being a responsible leader.

PAULSEN: Just

BONOFF: And – with regard to your ah your vote for ah Rubio, we have a law that says unless somebody has requested to be a a write-in candidate, you it’s not counted. And so, as a leader – we have you know choices: what’s right, what’s wrong. In this particular case, there’s just two choices. And you talk to ANYONE, any young person, and they’ll say “you’ve got Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.” So if you wanna throw your vote away, I don’t call that courageous leadership.

PAULSEN: Number one, ah if you talk to any person, they will say they’re not happy with EITHER choice at the top of the ticket. And you never throw your vote away when you vote, and you send a statement. And there’s no bigger special interest that has spent money in this race than Nancy Pelosi’s superPAC. And there’s been 4 million dollars that has come into this state, supporting your campaign, with candidate ads that have tr proven by this TV station to have a D or a D- rating.

BONOFF: Yeah, so Erik, your own TV ad against me, and it was right away trying to say I was this taxin’-taxin’-taxin’ when I’ve given you my proof – but, I do wanna go back to – ‘cause he took a sentence that I said in a debate, and that was kinda the theme then of your commercial. And so it was when the bridge collapsed. And it was obviously one of the greatest tragedies our state has had. And I, during that time, was a real leader in bringing folks together to ah invest in transportation, and in fact, ah Deputy Commissioner Khani Sahebjam, who lives in Eden Prairie, he has endorsed my candidacy because of the leadership role I played when that bridge collapsed. And that’s what I was talking about when you got that clip and put it out of context in your ad, and KSTP, WCCO and KARE 11 all said that you distorted my record and took my words out of context.

But, Erik, you didn’t vote for that. You didn’t vote for that transportation bill when the bridge collapsed. And again, I think that points to a lack of courage and being on the wrong side of history, with regard to your vote. Because we do owe it to the people of our state to invest in infrastructure.

PAULSEN: And I agree, and I did not vote for that gas tax increase as you did, or any of the sales tax increases

BONOFF: Yeah.

PAULSEN: that you did, or the income tax increase that you did, but I did vote for a five-year federal transportation bill that is now in place, and for the first time in a decade, we have a longterm federal transportation policy.

BONOFF: It’s not longterm, it ends this year.

PAULSEN: And every five, it’s a five-year bill, we passed it a year ago,

BONOFF: It’s (unclear)

PAULSEN: there’s four more years to go, it’s fully funded, it’s bipartisan, the whole delegation was on board in support of it.

McLEAN: And how do you, let’s talk a little more about transportation. Ah he’s given us what he’s voted for. What is your big priority for a longterm transportation fix?

BONOFF: Well, we

McLEAN: We know it’s important, especially in Minnesota.

BONOFF: There is nothing that is changing faster than our ah transportation system and infrastructure needs because, y’know, it’s a game changer. You’ve got 3M, who’s actually working on ah having signs that talk to our cars. You’ve got this ah whole movement around driverless cars, and so ah we need to modernize our infrastructure. It’s one thing to make sure that it’s safe, and we certainly owe that to the next generation. But we also have to take into account changing technology, and make sure that we are doing all we can to ah keep up in this exciting time. Because I think cars, obviously are going to be more efficient. The gas tax is gonna be, y’know, outdated. Quickly. And so we have to be creative, we have to be innovative, and we have to listen to the experts. But I will not abdicate my responsibility, and the last thing on transportation, is I know our young people, the millennials, who we want to have stay here y’know, I have four kids, I have two in D.C., one in L.A., I want ‘em back here. They expect transit, comprehensive transit, and that’s why I did support the Southwest Light Rail and I support a multimodal ah transit approach. And I think our country needs to modernize our approach to transportation.

McLEAN: Ah we only have a few minutes left, can we move on to another topic?

PAULSEN: Can I say on transportation?

McLEAN: Go right ahead.

PAULSEN: I’ll just say it real quick. Is that I, transportation infrastructure is critical to our economy. It’s critical for having jobs here, it’s critical for moving people – we had the Highway 610 opening just recently. Ah which was very bipartisan. And again, we’ve got a five-year bill in place. But I think the next answer where we should go is looking at using more energy royalties. ‘Cause there is not a lot of support for increasing the gas tax. But we should look at energy royalties and putting that money for future energy development into infrastructure. Into transportation. And I think that’s a longterm plan I’d like to see happen, and Tim

BONOFF: Well

PAULSEN: Walz and I have talked about that, actually, from a Minnesota perspective.

BONOFF: Energy royalties, ‘cause people don’t really know what that is, is that if you’re drilling for oil, on federal land or if you’re drilling for ah natural gas, then ah the royalties that go to the feds would fund transportation. That’s not a very reliable, sustainable ah plan. So

PAULSEN: Well, it’s reliable, it was scored as the largest investment in transportation infrastructure in the history of the country. So

McLEAN: And we have

PAULSEN: Tim Walz and I have talked about that.

McLEAN: We have about three minutes left and we have to touch on national security. Ah we had ah an ISIS-inspired attack at the mall in St. Cloud, in Minnesota, is a real issue right here in Minnesota, with Minnesotans even traveling to join ISIS. So with the time we have left, let’s focus on this. What needs to be done on the federal level to stop attacks here at home, in Minnesota and the U.S., and abroad as well? And Senator Bonoff, why don’t we start with you.

BONOFF: Yeah. So, the radicalization and the doctrination of ah terror ah, particularly young people, is a grave danger. Because they are getting that on the internet, they’re getting it in social media, and so we have to do all we can to root out the threats of terror. Everywhere that it is. And so we talk about it at home, but you also have to be addressing it in Syria, where you have the greatest threat of ISIS. And so ah we are now arming ah the rebels in Syria, we’re doing everything we can to root out ISIS, ah there’s been some progress in Mosul, but we have to partner ah with our allies around the the globe so that we use our intelligence capabilities to find out where the terrorist cells are, and then ah we use that information to make sure that we are addressing that in our communities.

And, really, ah one of the great problems is that in many times, the y’know those allies around the world aren’t sure they trust us. So for example, there are Muslim majority countries like Qatar, and Indonesia. And so it’s not helpful when you have a Donald Trump saying that “we’re gonna not let Muslims into our country.” So we have to be very careful to keep the doors of communication open, so that we can partner with allies and make sure that we root out the threats of terror EVERYWHERE.

McLEAN: And Representative Paulsen,

PAULSEN: I’ll just say – we have no greater duty than to protect the homeland and to protect our citizens. That’s absolutely key. And we’ve had more incidents here, domestically, with terrorism. It is absolutely appropriate that we review and make sure that our vetting process is appropriate for refugees, no matter where they’re coming from. Whether it’s Syria or anywhere else. Ah we have to recognize Islamist fundamentalism for what it is, call it what it is, work with our law enforcement agencies, especially in Minnesota, where we’ve identified situations, now where folks have been convicted and are waiting I think sentencing ah after that conviction. For instance folks traveling back to Somalia. And we need to be aware of that. Because ah that there’s no doubt those threats are gonna continue to be real. And we’ve lacked a little bit of leadership at the top, to be honest. And we need to get re-oriented and understand that ISIS, the threat is real.

McLEAN: All right, this is important

BONOFF: One of the things we didn’t talk about.

McLEAN: Quickly.

BONOFF: is climate change. And so I just wanna, to let the voters know, ‘cause I haven’t said anything about that. That I do believe it’s urgent, and it’s very real, and that I would take action on that, and am proud to have been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club for my

McLEAN: Thank you. We have 15 seconds left. Representative.

PAULSEN: I’ll just say that on clean energy and new development of cleaner energies is absolutely the direction to go as we look for nuclear and biofuel and ah wind and solar.

McLEAN: So much more we could talk about! We’re going to have to leave it here. Thank you both for joining us. We hope to see you back here for Five Eyewitness News at 10 tonight.

Thank you to AFSCME Council 5 for sponsoring our debate coverage

Thank you to AFSCME Council 5 for sponsoring our debate coverage

Susan Maricle

Susan has volunteered for The UpTake since our early beginnings. If you've read a debate transcript here, it's likely her fleet and nimble fingers transcribed it.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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