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.READ MORE: Stillwater DOC Employee 'No Longer Employed' Following On-Camera Clash With Activists
Below are the answers Susan Sindt provided. She did not supply WCCO with a video. This is not a paid advertisement nor does WCCO endorse any candidate.
Responses From Susan Sindt, Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party 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?
Yes, I believe racial disparities exist in Minnesota and across this country. To combat this, I suggest we end the war on drugs, starting with legalizing marijuana.
The war on drugs is actually just a war against un-wealthy, minority populations. There are no drugs serving time in prison or mourning the senseless death of their loved ones. United States citizens are suffering the negative consequences of this war on drug users, and yes, it is deeply rooted in racism.
It can not be denied our country was founded on racist policies. Our first cities were constructed by an enslaved population on land stolen from this nations’ first peoples. When the constitution was written and signed, declaring ‘all men are created equal’, people of color, and women and children, were not at all considered equal under the law. Only white men, and a very few select men of color, actually had the inalienable rights promised to all of us in the constitution.
Today’s police force is also racist in its inception. It originated with a need to round-up run-away slaves, and then it’s culture of oppression was further strengthened during alcohol prohibition. Later, after abandoning the disastrously failed attempt at prohibiting the alcohol industry from flourishing, our congressional leaders decided to divert their attention towards mood-altering substances that were primarily consumed by minority populations instead. They had come to realize alcohol and tobacco were the predominant drugs of choice for wealthy white elite voters, so those two consumables were allowed to maintain legal status, while other, less commonly used drugs (such as marijuana, opium and cocaine) were deemed illicit, and anyone who participated in the manufacturing or distribution of these drugs, or even had these drugs in their possession, was now considered a criminal.
Yes, I believe the war on drug users is systemically racist. It is the number one cause of racial disparities in Minnesota and across this country. It is unconstitutional, unfair and cruel. It does not belong in a free society and it is time for it to end.
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?
I believe the Federal governments handling of COVID-19 was inadequate. We should have been prepared. The citizens of the United States should have been informed as soon as it was known that the virus was circumnavigating the globe. They should have looked vigorously for hotspots before it was allowed spread. The federal government should not have been competing for PPE or refusing to finance certain cities due to their political affiliations.
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?
To jump-start the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic we should invest money into industries related to food, shelter and daily care for children and adults. We can help most small businesses survive by connecting them with local farms and food suppliers and with other local businesses to create new, localized pathways for distributing food and preparing meals, providing care and shelter, and other services for people in need.
What do you think is the root cause of the civil unrest in our community and across the country?
Civil unrest is a symptom of an oppressed population. To bring peace to this country I suggest we end the war on drug users. Prohibition laws are in opposition to the very principle upon which this country was founded, freedom.
The fact is, in a free society government officials have no business making personal decisions for individual citizens. According to the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, our government officials are actually public servants, charged with the responsibility of protecting the right of every individual citizen to make their own personal decisions, free of persecution. And, like it or not, the decision to use a drug is a matter of personal choice.
The truth is, people want to be healthy. People want information that helps them make good healthy choices about their physical and mental well-being, but people also feel powerful and healthy when they make their own choices. So, if we want people to make healthy decisions, then we need to give them accurate information and then allow them to make their own choices and deal with the consequences of their decisions. Mandating healthy choices with laws restricting victimless behaviors will eventually backfire, ultimately creating more problems than the actual non-violent behaviors that are restricted. Prohibiting the drug trade just creates an illicit market, financing drug cartels and street gangs, ultimately bringing violence to every neighborhood.READ MORE: Finishing On Time Becoming More Out Of Reach As End Of Session Nears, Legislative Leaders Say
People must make critical decisions every day, balancing their personal experience with their personal safety. These risk versus reward decisions occur constantly, for everyone. It’s pretty much what life is about, how to enjoy life, safely, for as long as possible, without enduring mistakes or accidents based on poor decisions. In the United States, freedom means being able to make our own personal choices about our own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. If our government officials are making our decisions for us, then we are not free; we are oppressed, and the government is the oppressor.
For a crime to occur there must be a victim, and drug use is victimless behavior, so in reality, our drug laws do not actually make the use of drugs illegal. It is the manufacture, distribution and possession of drugs that is illegal. It is the participation in the drug industry that is prohibited, but this ultimately creates an illicit market, bringing crime and violence to the streets of our communities, which makes the citizens of the United States victims of the war on drug users. So, the war on drug users is the crime, the citizens of the United States are the victims, and anyone who defends or supports drug prohibition is a criminal.
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?
The funding for police departments needs to change. Money should be redirected into schools, recreation and wellness centers, parks programs, and community centers. Money should be spent on youth and adult programs that encourage, promote and make possible healthy lifestyle choices.
Instead of receiving warrior training, police officers should be trained in de-escalation strategies.
Also, asset forfeiture is unconstitutional.
Perhaps we need to create a second force of officers (Peace Officers) who can show-up alongside police officers and act as objective outsiders. They would be advocates for the accused, escorting them through the criminal justice system, attempting to provide a sense of security and assuring them they will be treated fairly, with respect and dignity.
Basically, they would act on the side of the arrested citizens to combat police brutality by creating another layer of transparency and accountability.
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?
Our government should subsidize broadband internet access for rural areas. School districts should reimburse families for the cost of distance learning.
Do you think the current Minnesota gun laws are adequate? If not, what changes would you make?
I believe Minnesota’s current gun laws are adequate.
Do you support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana?
Yes, Marijuana should be legalized for adult personal use.
It should be regulated similar to alcohol, legally available for adults to purchase and consume in private and/or public locations.
It must be mentioned however, I believe all drug use is medicinal; drug use is not a recreational sport.
People use drugs for the same reason they consume alcohol, to help them “feel better”. If people use drugs to help themselves feel better physically and/or psychologically, then their drug use is medicinal.MORE NEWS: 'We Put The Love And You Feel The Soul': New Barbecue Spot Helps Bring Lake Street Back To Life
Drug laws should be focused on protecting the rights of all citizens, carving out a space for drug users and non-drug users alike, protecting the rights of each group, without limiting the rights of the other.