By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
When you head out to the polls on Tue., Nov. 8, you’ll get the opportunity to select your top picks for national and state offices.
Local state representative races include Districts 64A, 65A, and 66B.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 64A
Erin Murphy (I) – DFL
Murphy graduated from high school in Janesville, Wis., and later attended the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh, receiving her B.S. in nursing in 1984. She earned her M.A. in organizational leadership in health care from St. Catherine University in 2005, and also attended the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota from 2005 to 2006.
Murphy has set four priorities:
1) Universal Access to Preschool and Early Learning Opportunities;
2) An Economy that Benefits All;
3) Student Loan Debt; and
4) Economic Security for Women.
She believes the issue of high-quality, cost-free universal access to preschool and early learning opportunities is crucial for Minnesota’s future for many different reasons, including the need to equitably educate our children and close the achievement gap. She also sees it as an economic issue about providing flexibility and opportunities for families of all incomes.
For Murphy, ensuring access to paid family leave and earned sick leave will mean working Minnesotans can meet family obligations without the fear of jeopardizing their livelihood.
She supports policies to relieve the burden of student loan debt, including legislation that would dramatically reduce the cost of college for current and future students, while significantly reducing the existing debt that many Minnesotans are saddled with.
Murphy supports keeping contraception accessible and affordable, promotes health and economic security for women and their families, and that’s why she will seek to pass the CHEER Act.
Murphy also supports legislation requiring all of Minnesota’s two- and four-year colleges to develop, in concert with their students, student policies requiring affirmative consent before engaging in sexual activity.
Riley Horan – R
Horan, a 20-year old college student at the University of St. Thomas, is presently a business law major. During his freshman year, he joined the College Republican’s Club. Horan is presently employed as an intern at a dynamic law firm in downtown St. Paul and plans to attend law school after completing his undergraduate degree.
Horan was born and raised in Northern California and is the eldest of five children. He is a practicing Catholic and was educated in the parochial school system.
Horan bills himself as a young conservative with bold ideas.
He will support any legislation that cuts income taxes for individuals and families, and would like to see the corporate income tax rate cut to loosen the grip that regulations place on small businesses in Minnesota. Horan supports support Right to Work laws.
Rather than offering universal, free, Pre-K to all, Horan proposes that scholarships be offered to qualifying low-income households. He supports school choice, and legislation allowing school districts to hire and fire based on performance, rather than tenure.
Horan believes that colleges must cut needless spending, forgo the daycare-like atmosphere, and operate more like true businesses to reduce student debt.
On the social side, Horan is for completely defunding Planned Parenthood of all taxpayer money, and believes Republicans should end the fight against limiting the freedoms of men and women in the LGBT community.
He would increase funding for the police, eliminate the MNsure program, and use the budget surplus to address evolving road and bridge infrastructure needs. Horan is pro-gun and pro-second amendment. Rather than limit the rights of law-abiding gun owners, he supports additional funding to combat mental health.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 65A
Monique Giordana, R
Giordana’s mother taught her you can learn something from every single person you meet. Giordana’s Portuguese father immigrated to the United States to live the American dream where he ran a small business garden center. These lessons drive Monique’s passion to see every person achieve their dreams and live their lives to the fullest.
Raised in Minnesota, Giordana now works at Regions Hospital as a cancer center clinical pharmacist.
She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Doctor of Pharmacy and went on to complete additional education and training by completing a general pharmacy residency at the VA North Texas Healthcare Center, a Hematology/Oncology specialty pharmacy residency at Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, and board certification in oncology pharmacy.
Giordana believes every family deserves affordable healthcare and the freedom to choose their healthcare team.
She would end big bonuses for executives at MNsure and save individuals and families money on health insurance over the next three years. She supports reforms that lower health insurance costs and provide more health care options.
Giordana advocates for greater local control of how education money is spent and believes teachers should be fairly compensated and rewarded based on effectiveness not just years of service.
She supports tax relief and would get rid of unnecessary business laws, taxes and regulations.
She decries the gridlock and partisan politics that are hurting St. Paul and all the residents of 65A.
Giordana promises to lead the difficult and complicated conversations necessary to bring all police officers, early education, public schools, families, and neighbors together to find solutions. It’s not about us versus them.
Rena Moran (I) – DFL
Moran is the mother of seven children. Twelve years ago, she moved to the Twin Cities in search of a better life for her kids. Homeless, she and her children stayed in a Minneapolis shelter for several months. It wasn’t long before she and her family went from homeless to homeowners. She found her first job in Minnesota earning minimum wage at Camp Snoopy, then at the YMCA on University Ave. before moving on to work at a commodities trading firm in downtown Minneapolis for five years. During this time, she began to get involved in social change work. After five years, she left the comforts of her corporate job to become a Wellstone Organizing Fellow and embark on her new vocation of community organizing. Moran was sworn into office on Jan. 4, 2011 as the First African American to represent St. Paul at the Capitol.
She is a member of the following committees: Education Innovation Policy, Greater Minnesota Economic and Workforce Development Policy and Health and Human Services Reform. Also, Governor Mark Dayton appointed Moran to serve on the Minnesota Task Force on Prematurity, the Council of Black Minnesotans and with the Visible Child Work Group.
Moran has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO, AFSCME Minnesota Council 5, North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, MAPE, Service Employees International Union, Minnesota Women’s Campaign Fund, International Union of Operating Engineers, and the Minnesota Nurses Association.
Moran earned her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Southern Illinois University.
She also works in the non-profit sector as the Director of Parent Leadership with Minnesota Communities Caring for Children.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 66
John Lesch (I) – DFL
John Lesch was first elected in November of 2002. His focus in the legislature is on consumer protection, corporate accountability, liveable neighborhoods, economic opportunity, and data privacy.
Legislative committees on which he has served include: Taxes, Local and Property Tax Division; Regulated Industries, Gaming Division; Civil Law and Elections; Judiciary Policy and Finance; Governmental Operations and Veterans Affairs Policy; and Local Government and Metropolitan Affairs. Lesch currently serves as ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Civil Law.
Lesch has rallied to increase access to justice through the courts, for corporate accountability and other efforts that augment the people’s right to seek justice. He sat for two terms on the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, charged with developing statewide procedures to investigate identity theft and other financial crimes.
For 15 years, in addition to his role as a legislator, Lesch prosecuted domestic assault crimes as an Assistant City Attorney for St. Paul. Lesch currently works at Lesch & Duren, a St. Paul firm specializing in criminal defense. In 2009, Lesch enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard where he currently serves as a staff officer in the 2-135 Light Infantry Battalion.
Lesch has been a Sunday School teacher and a member of his church finance council. Lesch was a founding member of South Como Block clubs and an active participant with the District 6 Community Council, North End Area Revitalization, and the Great Northern Corridor redevelopment.
Lesch earned his B.A. from Saint Louis University in 1995 with a double major in Philosophy and Psychology, and a J.D. from Hamline University School of Law in 1998 with a concentration in Government and Regulatory Affairs. He lives with his wife, Melissa, and daughter in St. Paul’s Como Park neighborhood.
William Brownell – R
No campaign website
William Brownell is a 2016 Republican candidate for District 66B of the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Brownell was a 2014 Democratic candidate who sought election to the U.S. House to represent the 5th Congressional District of Minnesota. Brownell failed to file with the Secretary of State to run in the primary election.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 66A
Jon Heyer – R
Jon Heyer is a Minnesota native who grew up in the Roseville area. He and his wife Teri have lived in St. Paul for 30 years and together have two daughters, two son-in-laws, and two grandchildren. Heyer’s son-in-laws are both in the service–one in the United States Air Force and the other with the Minnesota Army National Guard.
A semi-retired church educator with over 35 years experience, Heyer has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota and an M.A. in Theology from Saint Catherine University. Heyer currently serves as a board member of St. Paul District 10 Council.
He believes “we need to create more living wage jobs, improve our schools, and make public safety a top priority.”
On education, Heyer would restore local control to communities and parents. He believes that competition will improve school performance, pointing to examples of dozens of private and charter schools with much better test scores than the public system at significantly less cost per student.
Heyer points to the state’s recent budget surpluses as evidence of over-taxation and would hold the line and not raise taxes any further. He believes in spending money only on things we need, not loading up bonding bills with non-essential things.
Heyer supports reforming the Affordable Care Act and MNSure as he doesn’t think they are helping those they are meant to. Too many people are getting “insurance” that is far too expensive for them to use due to high deductibles and co-pays, and he would be creative in finding better ways.
A life member of Trout Unlimited, Heyer supports following existing regulatory guidance and stop obstructing well-regulated mining and logging, as well as reducing the amount of trash that ends up in landfills by promoting recycling, compostable, and organic waste collection, and programs to reuse items.
He points out that roads, bridges, and public buildings are crumbling due to neglect and urges the state to take care of what is there instead of embarking on expensive new projects.
Heyer believes that the best way to solve the challenges of the economy is to support small and mid-size business creation.
Alice Hausman, (I) – DFL
Hausman has been in office since a special election in 1989 and has served 14 terms.
She earned a B.S. in education and an M.A. in education from Concordia University and is a retired educator. She is married and has two children.
After a 10-year effort to construct a new facility to house the state’s natural history museum, Rep. Hausman was successful in getting legislation enacted that authorizes funding for a new Bell Museum and Planetarium.
She was named the 2016 Legislator of the Year Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota.
She earned the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) 2014 Legislator of the Year award as chief author of the Bonds for Affordable Housing bill authorizing $20 million in state general obligation bonds for rehabilitation and preservation of public housing. The bill also provides $80 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds to finance the preservation of affordable housing and to address foreclosure.
The Sierra Club North Star Chapter presented Hausman with its 2012 Legislative Leadership Award because she is a staunch opponent of sulfide mining. She also has been a longtime champion of efforts to restore wetlands, improve transit options, invest in parks and trails, and protect clean water.
Recognizing a perfect record on key conservation, energy, and clean water votes, Conservation Minnesota has presented Hausman with its 100% Minnesotan award.
The League of Minnesota Cities named Hausman a 2008 Legislator of Distinction.
For her work on housing issues, Lutheran Social Services presented Hausman with its Vision Award.
Hausman has received the Legislative Champion Award from the University of Minnesota Alumni Association.
She has been endorsed by AFSCME Council 5, Conservation Minnesota Voter Center, Education Minnesota, Minnesota AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE), NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Sierra Club, TakeAction Minnesota and the United Transportation Union.