(credit: CBS)

Welcome to WCCO.com’s 2018 political guide!

We reached out to all Minnesota candidates running for U.S Senate, Governor, U.S Congress, Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Auditor this fall. Candidates were asked to provide a two-minute video discussing their platform as well as answer a set of our viewer’s questions.

Above is the video and below the answers Richard Painter provided. This is not a paid advertisement nor does WCCO endorse any candidate.

Responses from Richard Painter Democratic candidate for U.S Senate:

Should Immigration Customs Enforcement — ICE — be abolished, and replaced with a different agency to control immigration crimes?

First and foremost we need changes at the top, which means removing President Trump and others in his Administration who are responsible for inhumane and illegal treatment of immigrant adults and children by ICE.  Abolishing ICE is pointless with Trump and his accomplices still in charge; they will merely use a different agency, or perhaps the US military, to carry out their agenda.  They must go.

Second, Congress does need to assess whether ICE, with its current mission and command structure, in capable of enforcing our immigration laws in a legal and humane manner.  Congress needs to assess how ICE functioned under previous administrations in addition to the blatantly illegal and inhumane acts under the Trump Administration.  Congress also needs to assess whether, because of the cruelties inflicted during the Trump Administration, ICE has lost credibility with the public no matter who is in charge.  If so, ICE should be reorganized or abolished so its proper functions can be carried out by another agency.

We must remember that the real problem is immoral and inhumane immigration policies promulgated by the Trump Administration. We need to overhaul the way we treat immigrants at the border and enact compassionate policy that recognizes the economic and social turmoil that often leads immigrants to cross the border illegally.

 When politicians refer to negative stories as “fake news”, do you believe it?

I bother to find out the facts and then decide if the news story is fake or real. The stories spread around for years about President Obama’s birth outside the United States were demonstrably fake news.  So are stories about the Obama Administration “spying” on the Trump campaign.  And FOX News and other outlet have provided plenty more, including a “deep state:” conspiracy theory questioning the loyalty our intelligence services and other public servants.

Then there is the real news in reputable news outlets — NY Times, Washington Post, CNN and others — that the Trump Administration, right wing media, and other extremist media outlets characterize as “fake news” or false reporting.  This is a reiteration of the decades old tactic of Hitler and other demagogues attacking the free press.  It is undemocratic and un-American

Should the President be permitted to unilaterally raise tariffs on US imports, or should Congress be required to vote before tariffs are imposed?

Congress should be required to vote before tariffs are imposed. Donald Trump’s reckless and stupid tariffs demonstrate exactly why this is the case. The Founding Fathers never intended the executive branch to have unilateral control over U.S. economic policy, and Trump’s justification—that his tariffs are a matter of national security, and therefore are within the purview of executive control—is a sham. The reality is that Trump is starting a trade war and every single American will be harmed. We should not allow one man’s ignorance to control this country’s economic future.

Should able-bodied Medicaid recipients be required to work?

No. This movement to require anyone who receives government assistance to work was borne from the “welfare queen” mythos promulgated in the Reagan administration, and it is bad policy. The vast majority of those on Medicaid are already working—most often at jobs for which they receive less than a living wage—and those who are not working have a very good reason why. Adding a work requirement to recipients of Medicaid will not help solve the systemic problems that leave people unemployed or underemployed and cause them to rely on Medicaid.

Do you believe North Korea will “denuclearize,” as President Trump says it will?

Not a chance. Better people than Trump have tried to negotiate with North Korea, and none of them have succeeded. Trump’s visit and “negotiations” with Kim Jong-Un were a farce: The U.S. gave up much and handed Kim Jong-Un’s dictatorial regime a massive PR victory while receiving nothing but vague assurances. Reports have shown that North Korea has already broken those promises. Trump is not a master negotiator—he’s not even a good negotiator. We have no reason to believe that North Korea will not continue to develop and test nuclear weapons.

Do you believe in climate change, and should the U.S. rejoin the Paris climate accords?

Climate change is an existential threat facing the human race, and one that we are doing almost nothing to slow. The fact that there are still elected officials that deny climate change is a travesty and a genuine danger to our way of life. Trump and the leaders of the Republican Party have demonstrated that their concern for our country and our planet is limited in scope to their own lifetimes, and subservient to the interests of polluting corporations that donate to their campaigns. We need to act now. We need to re-commit to the Paris Climate Accords and enact domestic policy that encourages growth of green energy. We need to introduce a carbon fee or tax. Anything less jeopardizes our future and the world that our children will live in.