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 Toya Woodland provided. This is not a paid advertisement nor does WCCO endorse any candidate.

Responses from Toya Woodland, Green Party candidate for the 5th 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 Racial Disparities exist in both Minnesota and Across the United States. Mainly due to historical and systematic racial divide here in America, Blacks in America only account for 2.8% of this country’s wealth while whites or those of european descent account for 90% of this nation’s wealth. Here in the 5th congressional district it has been reported by city pages news and other news outlets that The average black American household makes $25,000 less than the average white one, and black workers are twice as likely to be unemployed as their white brethren. This goes all the way back to the founding of the country. But suffice to say that an expansive gap in prosperity still exists over 150 years after the abolition of slavery. And it’s at its worst in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district. As reported by the financial site 24/7 Wall Street. It used Census Bureau data to rank districts based on household income, poverty, education, home ownership, and unemployment rates. Then it adjusted the data for regional cost-of-living disparities. As a place for black people to make a home, the 5th finished dead last.T he black poverty rate is 37 percent, while the white comes in at 9 percent. Black unemployment is four times higher than white, 12 percent to just 4. Yet home ownership is where it really gets bad. The white rate is 63 percent. For blacks? A mere 19 percent. I Propose a Comprehensive Reparations bill which will include direct cash payment to American Descendants of Slavery.

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?

It is my belief the United States government handling of the COVID-19 outbreak was anything but adequate. Neither side being less responsible than the other. It is my understanding that both Congress and the Trump White House were both informed of the virus and the seriousness within two days of one another. A full senate briefing was held on January 24, 2020, but because of the required deadline for the submission of impeachment questions very few members of the senate chose to attend. I believe that if there had been less focus on impeaching President Trump there would have been ample time to address the pandemic resulting placing less of a risk on the American people.In my moto of putting Minnesota 1st and Minnesotian’s 1st I would have provided local government with information needed to address the issue in a timely manner. As far as the national mask mandate, while I do believe that every precaution should be taken when it comes to this deadly disease, i do not think that taking away the free will of the american people and invoking a national mandate is at all the only answer.

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?

Policies that I would make to jump start the economy in wake of the COVID -19 outbreak would be Universal Basic Income, Medicare for all along with canceling student debt. I definitely believe that there should be a second stimulus bill, included in that should be continued unemployment pandemic relief along with a six month mortgage forgiveness and funding for testing and treatment of those in the most marginalized communities.

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

I believe that the cause of civil unrest across this country stims from centuries of horrific, terrorist treatment of Black Americans. Black people have been at the receiving end of racist attacks since first arriving on the shores of America, and now Blacks and white allies have finally had enough.

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 I believe in a reduction of funding to police budgets across America, however let me be absolutely clear. Defunding does not mean depleting or abolishing the police. The police are necessary to a civilized society. while i hope that in wake of the George Floyd murder systematic changes will occur accross America, in regards to all human life, and the unfair overpolicing of urban communities. We still need law and order and demolishing the police would result in militia groups and vigilante justice that would be good for no one. As for where the unused fund should be allotted and would be most beneficial. I would love to see rebuilding of low income urban communities, along with youth enrichment programs that will keep our youth off the streets and out of jail. it goes without saying that there should be national standards for all police, standards that result in harsh disciplinary actions if violated.

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?

I believe in broadband for all, especially during this time of Covid-19, children in rural areas are usually far away from libraries anss places that offer free public wifi, which is a much needed tool in education. Again my answer is yes, I believe that the cost of distance learning as it regards the equipment such as laptops and internet should be placed solely on the shoulders of school districts. Especially in households living below the poverty level and are financially unable to provide their children with the necessary tools for a successful learning experience.

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

The answer is no, I don’t believe that we have adequate gun laws here in Minnesota. First I would like to see permits required for all firearms rifles and shotguns included. Then the legal age for both purchasing and having a permit to carry should be raised unless required for employment. I believe that allowing teenagers to purchase handguns and giving young adults under the age of 30 the right to carry is asking for trouble. Rarely do you hear of a 30 year old involved in a drive by shooting or being involved in the type of activity that would cause senseless murders. I think with maturity comes a form of rational thinking, So yes we need an overhaul to our gun laws here in Minnesota making sure that guns are in the hands of responsible mature adults capable of making solid decisions when it comes to the use of any firearms.

Do you support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana?

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Yes I support the legalization of recreational marijuana, of course just like with alcohol it should be used responsibly and there should be age restrictions, otherwise Minnesota should definitely legalize the recreational use of marijuana.