What are your thoughts regarding increased restrictions on firearms?
A: I’ve been a pretty clear proponent of Second Amendment rights. I don’t see that the current proposals are something that I would support. There’s a lack of due process in, what’s called red flag laws, and that’s essentially something that would be an absolute showstopper for me — I will not support that.
I think that the thing that we need to focus on is the mental health component of violent crime that happens with the use of a firearm. If we spend more time on that then I think we’re in a better place.
Why would you support, or not support, legalizing recreational marijuana?
A: I’m not there right now. I’ve spoken to a lot of other legislators around the country who are in states who have legalized it, mainly Colorado. And it’s created a ton of problems. I just don’t see that as something I’m going to support this session and I’m not sure it’s something that’s even going to come forward this session.
We’ve heard conversation about it, but I just don’t see it making it all the way to fruition and if it comes to a vote on the floor, I would vote no on it.
What changes to Minnesota’s health care system, if any, do you support?
A: I think there were some good efforts made last year on making it so that people who are going to have a procedure done at their doctor’s, clinic or hospital — they should be able to see what that’s going to cost.
Certainly, when we were in control in the last biennium we stabilized the individual market for individual health care buyers. I’d like to see something along those lines again.
If we’re talking universal health care or health care for all, the proposals I’ve seen haven’t been particularly well thought through and the ideas that have been floated I think are a little aggressive.
How can the state best support transportation funding?
A: I think the best way to do transportation funding is to realize we have an almost $2 billion surplus and that a lot of the money that is in there can go to do things like roads and bridges.
In times of surplus, I’m not sure instituting a gas tax, which has been floated, is the proper idea. I talked to constituents across the district and I get people who stop by the office frequently who say ‘We can’t afford a huge gas increase’ and that’s what a gas tax will do. We’ve got a ginormous surplus.
What are your priorities this session?
A: One of the bills I carried last year that I wrote — we called V-PSEO (vocational, post secondary enrollment options). That’s essentially allowing a student in a high school to take dual enrollment. Someone who wants to work in the building trade or maybe what I do for a living — cyber security — can go to an authorized community college or technical college, get that dual enrollment and then go off and do that job.
We should be smart enough and forward thinking enough to provide options for kids who know college isn’t for them but they want a good paying career.