The party in control of the Minnesota Legislature hangs in the balance this fall as voters head to the polls to elect their state senators and representatives. All 67 Senate and 134 House seats are on the November 8 general election ballot. Adding to the uncertainty is the recent change in district boundaries following the 2020 Census.
In District 64, DFL incumbent Erin Murphy is being challenged by Republican Robert Bushard. District 64 encompasses the southwest quarter of Saint Paul, including the Highland Park, Macalester-Groveland, Summit Hill, Merriam Park and Snelling-Hamline neighborhoods, the southern part of the Lexington-Hamline and Summit-University neighborhoods, and the western part of the West End neighborhood (see map below).
MyVillager asked the candidates about their qualifications for state legislator, their priorities for the coming term, what they would do to fight the rising incidence of crime, and if they advocate any changes in the regulation of abortion following the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade:
Murphy, 62, is seeking her second term in the Senate. She served in the Minnesota House from 2007-19 and was the DFL-endorsed candidate for governor in 2018 but lost to Tim Walz in the primary election. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, she has a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Saint Catherine University.
“I’m a registered nurse, a mother and married to Joe Faust, who owns a painting business,” Murphy said. “I’ve spent a lot of time listening to Minnesotans, hearing their stories, talking about their needs, hopes and dreams. I work hard doing everything I can to be an advocate and a voice for Minnesotans.”
Murphy said her priority for the coming session “is to pass a state budget that invests in the needs of Minnesotans and makes a serious commitment to fund our schools, raise wages, invest in infrastructure and address racial disparities, a budget that is funded in part by taxing the richest in our state when needed.”
To fight crime, Murphy would increase Local Government Aid “so that communities can invest in the things that keep people safe. We need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and eliminate ghost guns. Crime often stems from underlying conditions. Supporting those in need will go a long way (in preventing crime).”
As for abortion, Murphy said, “Minnesota should codify the rights that are currently protected in our state constitution and remove current barriers (to abortion) in law. We should make sure we are supporting women and protecting people’s ability to make their own reproductive health decisions.”
Bushard, 75, is a graduate of Central High School who was trained in electronics and radio communications by the U.S. Air Force. Retired following a career in information technology, he said, “I put my life on the line in Vietnam for my classmates, not Lyndon Johnson. I’m putting my retirement on the line to end crime and inflation and put Minnesota back on the path of liberty and prosperity.”
To fight crime, Bushard said, “I will not vote for any financial assistance for Saint Paul or Minneapolis to repair roads, build bicycle lanes or provide real estate tax relief until these cities properly fund and support the police, who protect us from crime.
“I personally am opposed to the (abortion) procedure,” Bushard said, “but it’s legal in Minnesota, and we have crime, inflation, the economy and education issues to fix.”
As for his qualifications, Bushard said, “I’m not a Democrat or a member of the DFL Party that has foisted lockdowns and vaccine mandates on our economy, destroying lives and businesses in the name of protecting people from the pandemic flu.”
— Dale Mischke
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