Minnesota Should Reject "Amazon Sweepstakes," Champion Small Business

Recently, Governor Mark Dayton has expressed interest in joining the bidding war among metropolitan areas attempting to lure the Seattle online retail giant Amazon to the Twin Cities. MPR recently reported this rush to attract the Seattle company as the “Amazon HQ sweepstakes.” Tina Liebling, a DFL Candidate for Governor of Minnesota, released the following statement:

“I respectfully disagree with Governor Dayton’s planned participation in the “Amazon sweepstakes.” Minnesota is a great state for business, with a hard-working and well educated workforce, good schools, and a high quality of life. We should not and need not offer tax breaks to huge corporations that give them further advantages over Main Street businesses.

In the wake of Wisconsin’s FoxConn disaster, where the Chinese company was given massive tax breaks at the expense of everyday Wisconsinites, Minnesota should do right by its citizens and refuse to participate in the bidding war. Under a Liebling administration, we would welcome companies that want to relocate or expand in Minnesota and bring good jobs for Minnesotans. However, any requested “deal”—especially with companies whose business model drives may have negative impacts on Minnesota’s small businesses, natural resources, or other assets—must be evaluated by whether it has broad benefits for ordinary Minnesotans that outweigh any public costs and risks. If we keep making special deals for large corporations, we will continue to hurt small, local businesses in every Minnesota neighborhood.

Governor Dayton has done many good things for Minnesota, but this situation demonstrates the need to elect a true progressive to follow him and continue a move toward prosperity for all, not special breaks for huge corporations like Amazon. A better course of action for Minnesota would be to repeal the special tax benefits of the corporations and the very wealthy who have captured most of the benefit from the growing economy and increased productivity of workers. Then we should use the money to help ordinary Minnesotans get the education and health care they need, start small businesses, and revive our towns and local economies.”

StatementLindsay Jones
Liebling proposes legislation to level the playing field for communities threatened by loss of hospital services

AUGUST 21, 2017: Today, Attorney General Lori Swanson and officials from the Dayton Administration will meet with leaders of the “Save Our Hospital” organization to discuss potential solutions regarding the pending reorganization of Mayo Clinic Health Systems hospitals in Albert Lea and Austin.

Representative Tina Liebling (DFL, Rochester), a candidate for Governor of Minnesota, issued the following statement:

Residents of Albert Lea and the surrounding area were blindsided by the news that their community would lose general medical, intensive care, and obstetric inpatient services. I sympathize with their concerns about the impact on patients and on the future of their community. They know that having these services nearby can sometimes be a matter of life and death.

An important role of state government should be to “level the playing field” between Minnesotans and powerful entities with enormous impact on their lives, but current Minnesota law does not provide protection against sudden and arbitrary reduction in hospital services. That is why I will introduce legislation to insure that no other Minnesota community will be similarly blindsided.

My legislation will provide communities with advance warning when a hospital is targeted for closure or a substantial reduction in services. The Minnesota Department of Health—which licenses and oversees hospitals—would hold public hearings on the justification for the reduction and its impact before such changes could occur.

Hospitals enjoy enormous public support, but mergers and acquisitions of healthcare providers have reduced competition and sometimes leave patients with few options. It is reasonable to require these entities to explain to the public, and to the Minnesota Department of Health, why they believe that the decision to close a hospital or reduce services to a community is in the public interest, and to give the public a chance to weigh in.

StatementLindsay Jones
There Is No Alternative

This summer I’ve been traveling the state, talking with as many DFLers as possible about the direction of our state and why I’m in this race. I tell them I’m a bold progressive from Greater Minnesota, I turned a 30-year red district to blue, and I have been elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives seven times. 

I tell them I grew up in Minneapolis, with a dad who took me all over the state and taught me that the heroes of Minnesota are the people who work hard every day to make life better for their families, themselves, and their communities. Dad taught me that those folks matter more than the wealthy CEOs and power-hungry politicians who think the world was made just for them.

I tell them I’m a lawyer with a degree in Public Health, I’ve been married almost 32 years, and I’ve raised three kids. My first grandchild was born this year. I worked my way through college at the U of M when you could still do that, and I hate that today’s students don’t have the same opportunities I had.

Then I tell people that—of course—we must elect a DFL governor to succeed Governor Dayton, but that person must be able to stand up for our values and not be bullied or intimidated. And that’s what I’m known for in the Minnesota legislature: fighting for the everyday heroes who need someone on their side to stand up to the corporations and special interests. 

I never put my finger in the wind to find out which side I should be on, so you always know who I am, where I stand, and that every decision is for the people I serve.

I’m in this race because Minnesota needs a bold progressive to lead us forward—because too many Minnesotans are still not getting ahead. They can’t get the health care they need without going broke, can’t afford child care or higher education, are drowning in debt, and can’t afford to retire. I believe Minnesota can do better, and I’m ready to lead. If you want the next governor of Minnesota to be a bold progressive, There Is No Alternative.

Weekly EmailLindsay Jones
Purposeful direction and indomitable courage

Last week, we saw two Republican women, US Senators Murkowski and Collins, stand up for their constituents in the face of enormous pressure, eventually joined by Senator McCain. Their display of political courage gave us hope.

The ideal of courageous, caring political leadership is in the DNA of Minnesota. Our state has produced several fine examples. One was our 22d governor, Floyd B. Olson. 

In 1933, the depths of the Great Depression, conditions in Minnesota were desperate, with many farm foreclosures, high unemployment, and families in despair. Governor Floyd Bjornstjerne Olson, child of poor Norwegian immigrants, called out “the failure of government and our social system to function in the interests of the common happiness of the people.” Olson called for state government to become an agent for social and economic change through progressive income taxes, unemployment insurance, social security for the elderly, equal pay for women, and a minimum wage. 

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On the wall of the Minnesota Capitol, across the hall from the governor’s office, is a memorial plaque for Governor Olson, who died in 1936 at only 44. I often pause to read its words:

“Born in near poverty and schooled in adversity, intimate with hunger and want. Out of this crucible came pioneer leadership with the purposeful direction and the indomitable courage to seek new frontiers of economic security for the underprivileged. To that which he wrought an enduring memorial is builded in the hearts of his people.”

Too often, our government still fails to function in the interests of the “common happiness of the people.” I’m running to fix that, to carry on the tradition of Floyd B. Olson.

Governor Olson, we love you still.

This is for you, Bud

In today's economy, a high school education is no longer enough. A successful career usually requires strong basic education and advanced skills. Too often, talent goes undeveloped and potential is unrealized because families can't afford the education their children need. 

Enter Budweiser. Really. Budweiser has posted a moving video in which actor Adam Driver delivers an education scholarship to the deserving daughter of a wounded veteran. The scholarship will pay her $44,000 (gulp!) tuition bill so she can complete nursing school.

We congratulate this young woman, who can now pursue her dreams and give back to others because she is both worthy and very, very lucky. But how many of us can count on Adam Driver to bring a check?

Smart, dedicated young people should not have to hope Budweiser-or some other corporate entity or charity-will give them a chance to succeed in life. Their government should help them because their success helps us all. Minnesota should offer two years of free post-high school education for every Minnesota student, so they can make their dreams happen and make us all proud.

A Mugging on the Corner

Years ago, I was attacked on a Minneapolis street corner by a group of girls who wanted my purse. I was coming from my waitress job and was not about to part with the few tips I had earned. They beat me up but did not get the purse. After that I took up karate. Self-defense is a basic need and a right under Minnesota law.
 
The desire to protect self and family is why many people want a gun: a gun in the home, a gun at the workplace, a gun carried on the person. But America is awash in guns, and they have not made us safer. Too often, they kill or injure their owners or other innocent people-either accidentally or intentionally. Too often, an impulse that could pass becomes a suicide when a person has easy access to a gun.

Reducing gun violence in Minnesota should start with making sure that people who can't safely handle guns-like criminals, the mentally unstable, and children-don't get access. We need common-sense laws-like universal background checks-to keep guns out of the wrong hands. No policy works perfectly, but we can still take steps to reduce injury and death from firearms. 

We all deserve to feel safe and secure. The gun lobby pushes extreme policies and stokes fears in order to sell more and more guns. As governor, I'll stand up to the gun lobby and support reasonable gun laws that make all Minnesotans safer.

Pay Us What We're Worth

We Minnesotans are hard workers and our state's many successes show it, but too many feel themselves on a speeding treadmill they can't get off. Many work two or three jobs-without benefits-just to survive. There's little job security, health insurance is an expensive nightmare, education and training are out of reach, and retirement is a luxury many can't afford.
 
In 2016, Bernie Sanders told us that the economy is rigged. It's still rigged! From 1973 to 2014, working people raised their productivity by 72%, but the typical worker's pay and benefits went up just 9% over the same 41 years. (Where did the extra go? CEO pay went up over 940%.) No wonder so many hard-working Minnesotans feel so desperate.
 
What can Minnesota government do to unrig the economy? Plenty! First, raise the minimum wage! Require earned sick leave and paid family leave! Offer free college or technical training! Deliver universal, single-payer health care, so everyone gets the care they need and no one has to limit work or stay in the wrong job just to keep affordable insurance! Strengthen collective bargaining rights!

Minnesota can deliver policies that lift up our workers and their families. As governor, I'll fight to make Minnesota a place where work really pays.

The Personal Became Political

June is Pride month.
 
We have come a long way in Minnesota and in our nation. Being openly Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer is safer and more widely accepted than it once was—and as it still is in many parts of the world. I've been privileged to see things improve and to have helped make positive changes in the Minnesota legislature.
 
That terrible day in May 2011, when the Republican-controlled Minnesota legislature voted to put marriage on the ballot, galvanized people across the state. The cry for dignity and recognition of the humanity of LGBTQ people was a powerful motivator. People who had never been active in politics found themselves phoning strangers to discuss their own lives and the lives of their families. The personal became political and the political, personal. Love won at the polls and—after some prodding—the new DFL legislature made love the law in 2013.

The struggle is not over. Republicans control the legislature now, as they did then. They have filed bills for the "religious freedom" to discriminate and gave a committee hearing to a bathroom "privacy" bill. As Governor, I will stand strongly on the side of LGBTQ people, and all people fighting for the right to live their lives in freedom and dignity, and I will veto any bills that try to push LGBTQ people back into second-class status.

 

A Nickel for Lunch

My father grew up on the streets of Brooklyn, the son of immigrants. His dad-the grandfather I never met-would leave home each day with a nickel in his pocket. If he found work that day, he used the nickel for lunch. If not, he brought the nickel home.
 
Years later, my dad went to school on the GI Bill, moved to Minnesota, and became a photographer. He took his kids around the state as he documented the lives of Minnesotans. In these people-farmers, factory workers, people waiting at bus stops in the dead of winter, people in state hospitals, people of all ages, colors, and backgrounds-he saw the same struggle and heroism he grew up with in Brooklyn. He passed along to me a deep commitment to stand with them. I'm thinking of him, and of all our heroes, on this Father's Day.
 
Standing with the heroes of Minnesota means fighting for health care-not insurance-that everyone can access and afford. Standing with the heroes of Minnesota means fighting for an economy that isn't rigged for the wealthy and well-connected. Standing with the heroes of Minnesota means removing the barriers that keep them from getting ahead.
 
This summer I'm hitting the road, much like my dad did many years ago, to visit Minnesotans where they live and work and to talk about my vision of a Minnesota that lifts us all.

Statement: Yanez Trial Verdict

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Philando Castile, and to all who mourn him. His killing was a tragedy that should not have happened and the verdict today brings back the pain and horror of that day. While I share the outrage of many over the unnecessary killing and its aftermath, I do not blame the jury or even Officer Yanez. The law itself is to blame, and this is something that can and must be changed.

Minnesota law allows police to use deadly force "only when necessary to protect the peace officer or another from apparent death or great bodily harm" and to prevent death or great bodily harm to others. Whether the officer believes the force is "necessary" is examined only in the moment when the officer reacts, and it is hard for a jury to find beyond reasonable doubt that the officer did not have that fear at the moment he fired the gun.

Our law should require officers to avoid creating the situation in the first place-and police agencies should train and reward them for doing so. The officer's first obligation should be to protect the life and safety of everyone involved in an incident-whether a suspect, victim, or the officer-as it is in many other nations. This may mean waiting for backup before approaching a vehicle, setting up a perimeter and waiting out a suspect, or similar tactics. If we are to reduce the horrible killings of innocent people by police, we must change our laws.

StatementAnita Fraser