KIMT News 3 - Each week leading up to the election we are featuring races on your ballot and making sure you are informed.
We begin this week with a look at how President Donald Trump's visit to Rochester is impacting major races in Minnesota at a pivotal point in the election cycle. Republicans are working to maintain their majority in the house and senate, but they are facing some threats. The president made special reference to GOP candidate Karin Housley, who is up against Tina Smith in a special senate election. Right now polls have Smith with a slight edge over Housley. The winner of this race fills the seat left vacant when Al Franken resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations.
Another key seat on the republicans radar, the first congressional district seat in the House of Representatives. President Trump also shined a light on Jim Hagedorn on Thursday who is running for this seat for the third time. He has come close to securing it too, so he is hoping this endorsement by the president will give him the edge he needs. We asked Hagedorn and his competitor, Dan Feehan about how to ensure people have access to health care.
“We want to make sure we have private healthcare in our country, not have government control over Mayo Clinic or our fine rural hospitals. They would underfund medicine; put at risk all the 30-40 thousand people who are tied to their jobs here at Mayo Clinic. All the progress of building of hotels and businesses that would be at risk, we can't have that. I would never allow it,” says Hagedorn.
“Areas that I would want to see expanded is the idea of a public option introduced so people have something to simply compete with what the individual market offers them right now. Take farmers for example who have no choice in their healthcare. They either take this expensive option that is out there but what if there was a second option, a public option, that competed so health care options could go down in the first place,” says Feehan.
Feehan tells KIMT he takes it as a compliment to his campaign that President Trump came to this district. This will be a tight one and one to watch on November 6th.
Meanwhile, the community is getting to know the two people running for an office a little closer to home, Rochester Mayor. Candidates Kim Norton and Charlie O’Connell went head to head in front of a room of area business owners. The main topic: how government plays a role in helping local businesses. Norton and O’Connell gave their opinions on raising the minimum wage, how they would like to see the Mayo Civic Center and Experience Rochester be structured for success, and they answered the question “Should Rochester have city owned and operated broadband?”
“I am not necessarily supportive of city owned broadband but what I do think the city can do and what the city has done is change some regulations to make it more possible for other companies to come in,” says Norton.
“I would never support the city saying we are going to get into the broadband business because that industry itself is ever changing,” says O’Connell.
He says that would lead to mounting costs for the city and would be an irresponsible decision and like Norton, O’Connell would also like to see more competition move in. For more of their opinions you can head to kimt.com, this story is under local news.
If you've been waiting for your chance to vote early in Iowa, Monday the 8th is the day. The absentee ballots are ready to be mailed out or you can vote at your county auditor’s office. But at the last minute the Cerro Gordo County Auditor's Office had to fix an issue and reprint their ballots. According to acting
Auditor, Pat Wright, there were too many independent candidates running for county auditor. Four of the six were listed as independents when there can only be one for each race. That is now fixed and the ballots are ready to go.
In Minnesota, absentee voting started on September 21st and we're learning it's off to a strong start. According to the Secretary of State, as of Thursday, October 4th, voters requested more than 155,000 absentee ballots. 42,000 are already in the hands of election officials. This is a 204% increase over the same time in the 2014 mid-term election. This can mostly be attributed to the unusually high number of competitive races this fall.