Welcome to WCCO.com’s 2020 political guide!

We reached out to all Minnesota candidates running for U.S Senate and U.S Congress this fall. Candidates were asked to provide a two-minute video discussing their platform as well as answer a set of our viewers’ questions.

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Below are the answers Betty McCollum provided. The Congresswoman did not supply WCCO with a video. This is not a paid advertisement nor does WCCO endorse any candidate.

Responses from Betty McCollum, Democratic candidate for the 4th District:

Do you believe racial disparities exist in Minnesota and across the country? If so, what policy changes would you propose to combat this?

Racial and ethnic disparities exist in healthcare, education, housing, employment, in the criminal justice system, and in access to economic opportunity. These disparities are almost always systemic and exacerbated or perpetuated by policies, regulations, and laws that have the effect negatively impacting or limiting opportunities for people of color. There is no one policy that must be addressed, but policymaking itself must explore and consider outcomes and consequences for policy actions on diverse communities. Elected leaders and community members must both be engaged in the process of advancing equality and eliminating disparities.

Do you believe the federal government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been adequate? If not, what could have been done differently? Do you believe there should be a national mask mandate?

The Trump administration has completely failed at leading a national response to COVID-19. The first priority must be respecting science and the recommendations of scientists who understand that biology is more potent than ideology. Every person should be wearing a mask to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from the virus.

What policy changes would you propose to jump-start the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? Should the federal government pass an additional stimulus bill? If so, what should it include?

The pandemic has exposed our economy’s dependence and vulnerability to a global supply chain. For the long term economic and national security of the U.S. there must be a reestablishment of domestic production and manufacturing to ensure a supply chain that cannot be severed due to a crisis or conflict. I strongly support additional federal emergency relief for stabilize the economy and the jobs millions of families depend on.

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What do you think is the root cause of the civil unrest in our community and across the country?

Peaceful protests were critical to highlighting and raising consciousness about the systemic inequalities and racism that exists in our society. Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Latino communities are too often the target of brutal, inexcusable treatment by authorities. At the same time, the violent, destructive looting and burning were not part of those protests, but blatant criminal conduct. Burning and looting businesses is rooted in criminality and should never be conflated with peaceful protests for social change.

Do you believe that funding for police departments should change, and if so, how should those funds be redirected? Should the federal government implement national police standards?

Federal funding for law enforcement should be increased, not be decreased. Law enforcement officers face tremendous pressures that include the need for enhanced training, increased mental health support, and fewer guns on the streets. Local communities are always asking for more funding. Nonetheless, police officers must be held accountable when their actions violate the law or civil rights. I support the federal COPS program that sends resources to local police departments. Slogans like “abolish the police” or “defund the police” spouted by policymakers are irresponsible. If local policymakers what to make change then they should advance coherent, constructive policies in collaboration with community stakeholders and get them implemented. Regarding national policing standards, the federal government should absolutely explore a universal standard of professional law enforcement training and conduct.

Do you believe the government should subsidize broadband internet access for rural areas? Should public school districts reimburse families for the cost of distance learning?

Universal broadband internet access is critical to our nation’s economic competitiveness. Just like rural electrification, rural broadband should be considered a national priority and treated like a regulated utility. Raising local property taxes to reimburse school district families will only hurt public school districts.

Do you think the current Minnesota gun laws are adequate? If not, what changes would you make?

Federally, I support an assault weapons ban, closing the gun show loophole, and universal background checks.

Do you support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana?

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I support the federal decriminalization of marijuana.