MN governor candidates answer your questions

By: Brett Adkins The following questions have been asked by UMD students and Duluth community members. The questions were then sent in to each campaign via e-mail. The campaigns have provided their individual responses to each question.

Note: All candidates were sent the questions. If they did not provide a prompt response, their answers are not included in the following post.

*Policy Director, Jim Horan, answered questions for Tom Horner and his campaign.

Democrat Mark Dayton.  Campaign answer: "Dayton knows that education is an especially important keystone to the economic health of our state.  Students are graduating tens of thousands of dollars in debt at a time when student loans are difficult to pay off for many graduates.  The cost of college education for students is ultimately predicated on the amount of funding our schools receive from the state.  For that reason, Senator Dayton has committed to maintaining university funding at current levels and increasing funding as the state budget allows."

Republican Tom Emmer. Campaign answer: "Every Minnesotan deserves a quality education from kindergarten through college. Our higher learning institutions are some of the best in the world. Affordable education is an important thing for students across this state and it's important that higher learning institutions, whether they be Universities or two year schools, find innovative ways to keep costs down and attract students."

Independent Tom Horner. Campaign answer (Horan): "Reduced tuition programs funded by the state for high performing students are a great idea.  In the short term the state can invest more in higher education, particularly in infrastructure on campuses while insisting that the additional investment be reflected in reduced tuition costs.  We need to start holding our higher education institutions more accountable to students - tracking graduation rates, time to completion, administrative costs and asking what we want from our system."

Democrat Mark Dayton. Campaign answer: "Senator Dayton is committed to protecting Minnesota's natural resources.  He has supported the Legacy Amendment from day one and he wants to make the state DNR more responsive to stakeholders, landowners, and hunting, angling and conservation groups.  He will rename the Minnesota Pollution Cooperation Agency the Minnesota Pollution Reduction Agency and he will create new regulations while enforcing existing regulations to reduce pollution in our state."

Republican Tom Emmer. Campaign answer: "Maintaining and preserving our natural resources isn’t a partisan issue – it’s an issue important to all Minnesotans."

"Emmer knows that hunters, anglers and other outdoors enthusiasts are natural conservationists. They spend time on the land and they care for the resources of our state. They are critical partners with a limited government in the ongoing challenge to be responsible stewards of the land."

"We have been blessed with extraordinary resources and traditions and he will protect both. He will continue to defend the rights of over 1.2 million Minnesotans that participate in hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits. With over 55,000 jobs and $5.8 billion dollars in economic activity generated by the various outdoor industries, our state and its future prosperity depend on it"

"In 2008, Minnesotans spoke up and overwhelmingly supported the dedication of a portion of the state sales tax to protect and enhance fish and wildlife habitat in Minnesota. Rep Emmer respects that decision and will make sure that every penny of constitutionally mandated funding is spent as the sportsmen and women of Minnesota intended."

Independent Tom Horner. Campaign answer (Horan): "Tom and I have sat down with over two dozen environmental groups in the last few months to develop a plan that puts Minnesota on the right track to address the state's environmental needs.  Tom is committed to improving the water quality in the state and ensuring the Legacy Funds are spent as the voters intended them.  We need to enforce our current regulations, which are some of the most stringent and effective in the country.  We need to streamline the regulatory process and ensure that it is evenly applied.  Minnesota needs to return to its stewardship roots and take a place at the table in addressing the state's environmental needs.  Tom has decades of experience bringing diverse groups together, he will ensure that all stakeholders are at the table and that those responsible for pollution pay."

Tom has outlined his principles to address environmental concerns here:

Democrat Mark Dayton. Campaign answer: "Senator Dayton plans to balance the state budget through a mix of budget cuts, tax increases and delaying payments if necessary.  You can read about his detailed budget plan on his website, ("

Republican Tom Emmer. Campaign answer: "Representative Emmer is the only candidate who has balanced the budget. He has done it without raising taxes on hard working Minnesotans and given specifics about where the money will be spent. Government must learn to live within its means. We only have a deficit if the government wants to continue to spend more and more every year. A healthier fiscal future demands that we get our spending under control now. The elimination of wasteful government spending starts with the elected officials who are the watchdogs of the state taxpayer dollar. We must define what government does, and then we must prioritize. We can invest in our priorities by making smart choices. We must reduce the size of government by eliminating excessive and unnecessary bureaucracies, and spending will reduce naturally."

You can see his full budget plan here

"As governor, I will stop the spend-and-tax cycle by calling first and foremost for a balancing of the budget. I will not accept a spending bill until the deficit no longer exists. I will not support tax increases that place the burden for excessive spending on taxpayers."

Independent Tom Horner. Campaign answer (Horan):" The big difference in my mind from the other two candidates is that Tom is proposing fully reforming the tax system to take into account a new economy.  The other two are proposing the same solutions "cut more" or "spend more". Minnesota needs more than that, we need a system that is transparent, fair and raises only the money we need."

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