Cynthia Kafut-Hagen hopes Tuesday is Independence Day in Range special election

On Tuesday, voters head to the polls to weigh in on the House 5B Special Election to replace Rep. Tony Sertich (DFL-Chisholm) in one of the Iron Range’s most vital legislative districts. I offered all the candidates the opportunity to share campaign statements with my readers. DFLer Carly Melin and Republican Paul Jacobson both participated in some fashion earlier in the cycle. Today, Cynthia Kafut-Hagen of the Independence Party offers her take:

Hello, my name is Cynthia Kafut-Hagen I am a candidate for House District 5B.  I am running because I believe that the people should have a voice at the capital.  I care about what people tell me.  I have a clean slate and owe no one.  These are some of the issues that people want me to work on.

Supporting a balanced approach to solving our State’s budget crisis

By a balanced approach I mean we have to raise revenue and make cuts.  On the revenue side, I believe we need to look at a small increase in sales tax, and let cities and rural government raise levy’s to help themselves.

We need to look at wasteful spending, and governing boards that are not doing their jobs.  Our workers have the answers for safely cutting costs.  They are doing the job.  Top-level management needs to defer to them, so they can come together with the best possible solution.

Right now the cuts at the capital by the Republican Party are again targeting our hard working public employees: our teachers, fire and police departments, and public works.  These people provide services that we all take for granted, and we need to support them.

Addressing health care needs of all, including mental health

The whole health care system is being overhauled in this country.  We need to keep Minnesota at the forefront as the leading example of what is the best in health care.

Mental health is a part of this.  It needs to be addressed.  People are dying everyday, because of lack of access to quality mental health care.  Depression kills; bi-polar kills.  We can do better then that.

Rising costs need to be reigned in.  When hard working families can’t pay for immunizations and dental care for their kids, something’s wrong with our system, and we need to fix it.  I will work for that.

Bringing living wage jobs to the area
Jobs are important to everyone. The new mining initiatives will bring solid employment to the district.  I support a thriving mining community on the Iron Range.  It is a big part of who we are.  We also need to keep our mining resources here, which would produce spin off jobs, including manufacturing.

To help our small businesses, the government along with the IRRRB should be looking at health care and retirement issues.   Finding a way to bring these benefits to small businesses would allow them to pay a higher wage, thus helping everyone.
Education as a priority

Working with Northland Foundation’s KIDS PLUS in Chisholm, and MN Reading Corps at Keewatin Elementary, I had the opportunity to see education on a front line basis.  Despite the continuing cuts in our district, staff is still finding a way to make our schools succeed.  We need to reprioritize and remember that we are nothing without our education.  Nothing is more important than our kids

We need to support birth to kindergarten intervention, education, and programs.  When money is spent on children in their earliest years, they have a greater chance for educational success. Take reading for example, MN Reading Corps data shows, you learn to read until 3rd grade, and after 3rd grade you read to learn.  Not having those skills at a young age is one of the causes of the achievement gap.

I also support Gov. Dayton’s initiative to reestablish the governor’s counsel on Early Childhood Education, which would include all day every day kindergarten.
Please get out and vote for me, Cynthia Kafut-Hagen on Tuesday, February 15, 2011

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