Local residents had a chance to hear directly from area state legislative candidates during a candidate forum held Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the Minnco Center in Cambridge.
Participating in the forum included State Representative Kurt Daudt, running for re-election in State Representative District 31A; Ryan Fiereck, candidate for State Representative District 31A; Paul Bergley and Paul Gammel, candidates for State Representative District 32A; and State Representative Sean Nienow, running for re-election in State Senator District 32A.
The forum was held by Generation Joshua, which is designed for Christian youth between the ages of 11 and 19 who want to become a force in the civic and political arenas.
Its goal is to ignite a vision in young people to help America return to its Judeo-Christian foundations
The local club, based in Princeton, sponsored the forum and focuses on giving teens with the same interest in current events a chance to get to know each other.
The candidates each answered four prepared questions, as well as questions from the audience members.
All the candidates each had a chance to introduce themselves, and then responded to questions about significant events in world history, the role of government and questions relating to the Voter ID and marriage amendments that will be on the ballot in November.
Daudt explained he feels government needs to exist to serve some purpose, but questioned what is the acceptable level to people.
“I think this election cycle will be a historic one as it seems the two sides are more polarized,” Daudt said. “We need to get in and reform government and do things differently. Difficult decisions will have to be made.”
Daudt referenced the fact that the Health and Human Services department has seen a 44 percent increase in two years.
“The easy thing to do is raise taxes,” he noted.
Fiereck said he feels the burden to do business as a government can’t be put on the taxpayers.
“We have lost so much due to property taxes, for me personally, that’s two trips to the grocery store. That’s unacceptable and not a good way to do government. It’s a tough situation, but government needs a different focus and look at different options.”
Bergley feels change is needed.
“Now is the time to cut budgets and taxes because we are in one tough economy,” Bergley said. “We need our revenues to go up and our taxes to decrease.”
Nienow said to perform legislative functions of government, the state needs revenue.
“We need to look at the legislative functions of government and need to decide when the government is getting too big,” Nienow said.
Gammel said there are a lot of different needs for different people across the state.
“The Constitution says we will collect taxes and provide for the welfare of the people,” Gammel said. “There’s a lot of things different people need across the state. The government has essential duties and needs to provide for the welfare of the people. Job creators are the people walking into the stores and spending money. We also need our employers to provide their employees with livable wages and provide them with benefits.”
Jeske Noordergraaf, candidate for State Senator District 32A, and Brian Johnson, candidate for State Representative District 32A, were not in attendance.
More information on Generation Joshua can be found at facebook.com/genstorm or by calling 763-219-0860.
The group used the fourm as an opportunity to also draw attention to the Parental Rights Amendment.
More information on the amendment can be found at parentalrights.org.