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ISSUE 115 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/8/2002

Candidate Lourey visits, campaigns

By Anonymous
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 8, 2002

Becky Lourey, a state senator running for DFL endorsement as a candidate for governor, visited the St. Olaf College Democrats’ meeting on Feb. 27. She greeted the crowded room with an exclamation: "I just read an article saying that college students are becoming more liberal and here you are!"

Lourey described her campaign as "grass roots" and strongly encouraged audience members to participate in the Mar. 5 precinct caucus. "Going to caucuses and starting there is the grass roots involvement … the beginning of running for office yourself or running a campaign yourself."

Lourey was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1990 and has been part of the Senate since 1996. In both cases, she won against long-time incumbents. Lourey was an author of the Minnesota Care and Senior Prescription Drug Program and has campaigned for universal health care.

"We're spending more money for health care but we're not living longer," she said. "People say to me, 'Becky, we can't afford universal health care.' Well, I say we can't afford selective health care. [Universal health care] takes decisiveness … and people who can get elected without checks from people who oppose it."

Lourey's original decision to run for office, in 1986, was because the DFL candidate did not, in her opinion, support education and feminist issues. "If only rich kids can afford to go to school, how does that build our nation?" she asked.

Her 12 children (eight of whom were adopted) spent 42 total years in college – including one year when 5 were in college at once. "I don't mind evaluations, but I hate teaching to the test," Lourey said of the Minnesota Graduation Standards. "I'm really worried about the federal tests coming down." These tests would be given at the end of every school year to students in grades K-12. She also pointed out that the Graduation Standards were brought to legislature by the business community. "They're asking for more pressure in schools but moving away from funding schools," she said.

Lourey also supports labor rights. Her family operates a data management company with 50 employees, which she said offers full health care benefits for half-time or more employees, better-than-living wages, and domestic partner benefits. All employees under 25 are required to go to school."

Lourey criticized Senate's recent state budget proposal, which Gov. Jesse Ventura vetoed but the House and Senate overturned. "We were chicken. We all wanted to get elected again. We went in and took every source of funding we could think of and said we'd use it as cash flow." She said the budget counted inflation in revenue but not in spending, and that this will result in an even bigger deficit than currently projected. "I'm just afraid we won't get a Phase Two to correct some of these inequities."

Of the current campaign, Lourey said, "The really good thing about this campaign is that all three candidates will stand by the endorsement." She asked voters to compare her voting record to that of Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe. On the third candidate, State Auditor Judy Dutcher, Lourey said, "I haven't seen a plan and she doesn't have a record on education."

She also expressed concern because of Dutcher's apparent appeal to Republicans and fiscal conservatives. Finally, she asked voters to, "Look at the real record of the work I've done. See if you can trust me. See if I'm someone you know will take into the governor's office the issues they've worked on personally."

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