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

Responses from Slater Johnson, Legal Marijuana Now 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?

Yes, I believe that there are a lot of racial disparities in Minnesota and throughout our country. There are many things that we need to address in order to fix these disparities. First is criminal justice reform. Legalizing marijuana is a start, we know that minority communities have been disproportionately impacted by this country’s useless war on drugs. We also need to address the way that our public schools teach the history of this country. We need to do a better job of addressing the many contributions that minority communities have made in the development of our nation.

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?

Obviously the federal government could have acted sooner in order to slow the spread of COVID and to make sure that we had the necessary ventilators and PPE on hand in order to address this crisis. It is also imperative that people in public positions such as Congress, listen to the science and lead by example. I believe in a national mask mandate and I would lead by example by making sure I wear one to all public events.

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 disagree that we are in the “wake of COVID.” COVID is still spreading, with thousands of new cases each week. Our focus needs to be on keeping people safe during this pandemic. We do not need to focus on bailouts for big corporations, or the profits of millionaires and billionaires. Congress should do another stimulus check for the working class people who need that money so they can stay home, protect themselves and protect their loved ones.

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

Racial inequality.

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?

Yes. We need to re-envision what policing should look like in this country. We need to focus on building our communities and providing mental health support instead of cracking down on low income communities. We should have fewer armed officers arresting people for low level offenses like smoking marijuana. I would support a federal standard that holds police accountable and gives communities more avenues to remove abusive cops from their streets.

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?

Yes. Broadband access is crucial for rural communities. Businesses, schools, and health are now all tied to internet access and rural Minnesota cannot afford to be left behind in this regard. I don’t think that the reimbursements should come from school funding, we already have trouble properly funding our teachers and classrooms. I think we could implement either federal or state programs to cover that cost for low income families.

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

No. While we do have some good laws in place, there is still far too much violence caused by these weapons. I think we need to take a serious look at how we keep guns out of the hands of the truly dangerous and mentally unstable. I think closing gun show loopholes and implementing red-flag laws are a good first step. I respect people’s second amendment rights but we also need to keep our communities safe.

Do you support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana?

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Yes. The legalization of marijuana is about so much more than just getting high. It’s about criminal justice reform, it’s about the medical applications, it’s about revenue for new programs that can help our communities. We’ve seen other states successfully legalize marijuana and it’s time that the federal government get on board.