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ISSUE 116 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/4/2002

Election agendas laid out

By Julie Gunderson
News Editor

Friday, October 4, 2002

With Election Day only a month away, candidates are working to get their messages heard. College students are one audience that they have targeted.

Several candidates in key races around the state have made or are planning to make visits to the college.

Tuesday night, Ray Cox, Republican candidate for state representative, and Tom Neuville, Republican candidate for state Senate, talked about campaign issues with students at the Political Awareness Committee (PAC) dinner.

Both candidates discussed their positions on education and the environment.

Cox is endorsed by the Minnesota League of Conservation of Voters and has been a Northfield School Board Member for 15 years.

“The protection and health of our environment is a big focus of mine,” Cox said. “I have an agenda and I plan to work with the majority to get things done.”

Neuville has served in the state Senate for 12 years. He has been on the Senate’s education committee for 10 years.

“I support school choice because I think it is important to make sure that kids are learning and to give them the best option available,” Neuville said.

Democratic candidate for governor, Roger Moe visited Northfield and St. Olaf on his way to a candidate forum in Owatonna, expressing his views on some key issues in the gubernatorial race.

“It all starts with education,” Moe said. “Everything builds off our educational system. If we can give people a better education it will equip them with greater skills and lead them to higher jobs.”

What to do with Minnesota’s educational standards, “The Profiles of Learning,” has been one issue in the race.

Moe said that he believes there is a need for high standards in schools and that he would not throw away the Profiles just yet.

“It is important for students to meet high standards before graduating, but there also needs to be some flexibility,” Moe said.

Republican candidate for State Attorney General Tom Kelly spoke to students at the PAC dinner on Sept. 24. Independent candidate for Secretary of State, Dean Alger, spoke the previous week.

Both talked about the qualifications that they brought to their offices.

Kelly saw his position as State Attorney General as being an essential role for a lawyer to fill.

“The job of attorney general is 90 percent legal and 10 percent political,” Kelly said. “I don’t think policy decisions should be made within the legal system. When you elect judges, you don’t know their positions politically, we don’t elect judges for their politics, so we shouldn’t allow them to make political decisions,” Kelly said.

Kelly was inspired to seek office after his good friend Mark Kennedy was elected to the National Congress in 2000. Overall, Kelly said that he enjoyed the campaigning process except for fundraising.

“You encounter many different types of people on the campaign trail,” Kelly said. “I have found out that there is a broad range of why people vote for you. I have people who come up to me and say, ‘we like you because you’re Irish,’ and others wanting to know where I stand on x, y and z and everything in between.”

Algers cited past election scandals, emphasizing the need for an independent Secretary of State.

“It is important for the position of Secretary of State to be held by a truly non-partisan person,” Algers said. “We’ve seen in the past presidential election what can happen if the Secretary of State is a partisan. I don’t want that to happen in Minnesota.”

John Kline, Republican candidate for second district congress, is scheduled to speak next week at the PAC dinner. Dinners are held every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Valhalla room.

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