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.
Above is the video and below are the answers Collin Peterson provided. This is not a paid advertisement nor does WCCO endorse any candidate.
Responses from Collin Peterson, Democratic candidate for the 7th District:
Do you believe racial disparities exist in Minnesota and across the country? If so, what policy changes would you propose to combat this?
There’s no question that people of color have been treated differently across the state and throughout the country. And they’re very frustrated by the unequal treatment and how that affects them. It’s not just an economic issue, either. Black people are far more likely to die of coronavirus than white people are. Because of that, one or two policy changes can’t change these disparities. People across our communities should listen to each other and find ways to better provide economic opportunities through employment training and work together to make changes in policing and court systems.
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 COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest crisis I’ve ever seen in our country and in agriculture. Moving forward, we need a strong testing and tracing program to stop the spread of the virus, and we need to have a vaccine that is widely available. And until we have this virus under control, I urge everyone to wear a mask, wash your hands and stay home if you’re sick. We need to be careful not just for our own safety but to make sure others can stay healthy too.
The notion of a one-size-fits-all approach to imposing restrictions on business caused unequal hardships for our rural communities, particularly in border communities where neighboring states had much less strict guidelines. I believe a regional approach would have allowed businesses to better respond to the spread of 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?
I supported the HEROES Act in the House, because it included strong support for our agriculture industries like ethanol, hogs and turkeys that have faced devastating losses because of the pandemic. I am continuing to push to have those provisions included whatever stimulus package is negotiated with the Senate and the Administration. Additionally, the Paycheck Protection Program was important to keeping employees of small businesses on the payroll. However, we cannot ignore the pressing issue of the national debt, which could do irreparable damage to our country. So any further pandemic-response legislation should include provisions for budget reforms to ensure we confront these issues when the economy is strong enough. These reforms should not get in the way of our making the necessary decisions to deal with the crisis at hand. They should ensure that, in addition to addressing health and economic needs, we lay the foundation for a sustainable fiscal future.
What do you think is the root cause of the civil unrest in our community and across the country?
There’s been racial tension building in our communities for years, and people of color are calling out the behavior that has often been ignored. While most people involved in the marches and protests are peaceful, there are others who are looking to create trouble by starting fires and looting.
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?
I do not support defunding our police departments. But I do recognize that there are serious issues facing law enforcement and some of the methods they use. I voted for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants and to support community-based public safety programs. I also support common sense policing programs, such as Regional Information Sharing Systems.
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?
Reliable broadband is a utility, every bit as necessary as electricity. From distance learning to telehealth and the transitions of working from home during a public health crisis, broadband is more important than ever. It’s unacceptable that rural communities have limited, unreliable or worse yet no broadband access. I have introduced the Universal Broadband Act that secures adequate funding to support the construction of broadband infrastructure in rural and underserved areas without having to increase the national debt.
Do you think the current Minnesota gun laws are adequate? If not, what changes would you make?
I’ve always been a defender of the Second Amendment and I believe that no government—federal, state or local—can infringe on the right to ‘keep and bear arms.’
Do you support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana?