Positions and Issues #2
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
As we approach the time for the virtual endorsement voting, let me share my positions on a few more important issues.
Remember that online endorsement voting starts Saturday April 25th, and ends May 4th.
This is such a maddening issue. I enjoyed hunting as a young man, and my family remains active hunters and gun enthusiasts. Gun safety is not about limiting hunters. It’s about saving human lives. Multiple national surveys are crystal clear: the vast majority of Americans support several reasonable regulations. 94% support background checks. Over 75% of us support mandatory 3-day waiting periods, a federal tracking database, requiring a gun license, a ban for people with mental illness, and a ban on high-capacity magazines. Think about that: more than three quarters of Americans want ALL these safety measures!
Consider this: every day most of us drive insanely dangerous machines all over the city. Why is that OK? Because we are required to prove we can do it safely (driver’s test), we get authorized to be a driver (driver’s license), the privilege can be revoked if we abuse it, we ensure our machine is registered with the state (car registration), and we carry insurance in case we use our vehicle to hurt or damage others. None of these limit responsible people from driving. What we lack is legislators with the spine to stand up to powerful special interests. I can take the heat and have no problems going toe-to-toe with the gun lobby. Our lives, and our children’s lives, are at stake. Nothing less will do
Climate change is a crisis and action is needed now to avoid permanent disruption to our way of life. We need energy to run our society, so we must focus on energy that does not worsen climate change. It must also minimize damage to our environment and be fully renewable. The technology exists for this! And it is becoming more economical every day. Let’s stop investing in more fossil fuel extraction and invest in connecting solar, wind, and geothermal sources to our energy grid. This would reduce renewable energy costs and halt our reliance on oil, gas, and coal.
I’m also an advocate for electric cars. Electricity generated in power plants where emissions are captured and “scrubbed” is cleaner than when we burn gas in our cars. Plus, electric cars are finally being produced in high volumes at competitive prices, with performance specs that meet or exceed gasoline vehicles. In fact, I believe I will never buy another gasoline car!
I recognize the arguments in favor of legalization: control production, reduce crime, mitigate the negative impact on struggling populations, earn sales tax income, and “it’s so widespread already that illegal use can no longer be reasonably enforced.” But I’m concerned about making a mind-altering drug widely available for pleasure. Consider alcohol: even though it’s controlled and regulated, it is regularly abused, it is obtained and used by minors, and it is a frequent factor in crimes, accidents, and violence. So I expect that abuse and crime will still occur with a legal cannabis industry. Nonetheless, my position is that we should get ahead of the wave: let’s put a clear regulatory framework in place, establish tight production and distribution controls, and clarify the penalties that will apply before we legalize marijuana. Then, slowly, open the tap and carefully monitor the results.
As our community grows, and the cost to live a decent middle-class life gets higher, we must continue to develop more affordable housing options. It’s not OK that families I know, with two full-time jobs and a couple of kids, are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with no ability to handle an unexpected $500 car repair or healthcare expense. Affordable housing means a variety of options, so people can choose living arrangements that are right for them. And it means housing policy that coordinates with mass transit policies, so they grow in tandem and support each other. Some people favor zoning changes for single-family homes, which is actually a city code issue. This may be worth trying in some areas, but we must also honor the families and senior citizens who have selected and developed their individual neighborhoods years ago. Affordable housing is a requirement for continued economic growth, and the right approach is not a single answer, but a layered solution of different options carefully crafted to optimize the needs and desires of each neighborhood.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM:
I would love to take money out of politics. I’m dismayed at the huge role money plays in influencing who gets nominated and who gets elected these days. Some say it’s unavoidable, it’s the American way, it’s too late to change. All I can say is that this is something I will gladly fight for: to try restrain the rampant role of money in politics, and to redirect elections and campaigns back towards issues, character, experience, and judgement. A good first step is clear, and may not be all that hard: let's require that every dollar that reaches a campaign through any channel – donation, sponsor, PAC, SuperPAC, etc. – is publicly tracked and documented. Let’s shine a bright light on where every dollar is coming from, so voters know exactly who, and what, they’re voting for. In addition, gerrymandering districts is way out of control. I would support changes that dictate much simpler district boundaries, perhaps drawn by an independent non-partisan body, even if that meant I would lose my seat in the next election.
ELECTION SECURITY AND VOTER ACCESS:
It is unacceptable to try add any barrier that limits a resident’s ability to vote. This is the most fundamental right of our democracy. It is the foundation on which our democracy was formed (voting, and an educated electorate). I believe we can implement secure voting that uses modern technology to make voting easier, safer, and more accessible. We all know there is no meaningful voter fraud in Minnesota (or even the US), so in this current crisis we should not hesitate to provide alternatives to help people vote safely from home. We have the capabilities, and the obligation, to maintain our elections while giving everyone the ability to vote despite the pandemic.
Plus, I think we should celebrate the amazing democratic experience of an American election! I would like to see Election Day be a holiday. On that day we could all take the time to thoughtfully cast our votes, then have dinner parties, BBQs, and watch-parties as the results are announced.
You can read more about my positions on other top issues like healthcare, education, and jobs in my first post here.
If there’s something important to you that you want answers on, let me know!
· Phone 763-220-4004
· Email RossMeisnerForMnSenate@gmail.com
· Facebook Messenger www.facebook.com/RossMeisnerForMnSenate
Stay safe and healthy!