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Election 2022: House District 20B

Steve Jacob and Elise Diesslin
Steve Jacob and Elise Diesslin.
Contributed
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EYOTA — In addition to governor, Minnesota voters will decide the balance of power in the Legislature when they vote to elect 67 senators and 134 representatives.

In the Rochester area, voters will be focused on six state House races: House District 20A between Pam Altendorf (R-Red Wing), Laurel Stinson (DFL-Red Wing) and Roger Kittelson (I-Goodhue); House District 20B between Elise Diesslin (DFL-Elgin) and Steve Jacob (R-Altura); House District 24A between Rep. Duane Quam (R-Byron) and Keith McClain (DFL-Byron); House District 24B between Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) and Katrina Pulham (R-Rochester); House District 25A between Kim Hicks (DFL-Rochester) and Wendy Phillips (R-Oronoco); and House District 25B between John Robinson (R-Rochester) and Andrew Johnson (DFL-Rochester).

In their words, the House District 20B candidates share where they stand on the issues, including a projected government state surplus, crime, election security and a workforce shortage.

House District 20B

House District 20B.jpg
Minnesota House District 20B.
Contributed / Minnesota Secretary of State Office

Steve Jacob

Political Party: Republican.

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Residence: Altura.

Employment: Fourth generation family farmer, small business owner and current Winona County Commissioner.

Family: Wife, Mary, for 34 years with four children and four grandchildren.

Education: K-12 and life-long self-educator.

Political experience: Ten years as current Western Winona County Commissioner.

Website: Jacobforthepeople.com

Steve Jacob
Steve Jacob.
Contributed

What are your top three priorities if elected?: 

Cut taxes. End the social security tax and continue my ongoing mission to limit the government. Government is not as efficient as the private sector. There are many services that the government provides that can be provided by having the government contract those services out to the private sector where companies will compete with each other to get the lowest bid and win the job. Government has no incentive to be more efficient. My actions as Winona County Commissioner privatizing our county surveyor saved Winona County hundreds of thousands of dollars. We have found many areas to do similar things and have downsized our government. I will carry the same philosophy to the state capitol.

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DFL Gov. Tim Walz and GOP leaders were unable to agree on how to divvy up a $9 billion state surplus. What would you support as a state legislator?

I view this as an over-collection rather than a surplus. In order to get the money back to the people who paid it in, I will support meaningful tax cuts including ending the social security tax and the estate tax or what is also known as the death tax.

Do you support changes to the state’s election laws to bolster public confidence in elections?

Yes, I have worked hard on election integrity locally in Winona County. We need to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. We need Photo ID, and of course the elimination of voting drop boxes. Constituents have even brought to my attention that it was not all that many years ago that we used entirely paper ballots, and we counted them faster than we are today with computer technology. Computers can be hacked and that is a problem we could remove with paper ballots.

Violent crime is up statewide by 21%, according to a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. It’s true not only in the Twin Cities, but in greater Minnesota. What measures would you support to improve public safety?

Letting our cities burn and then blaming our law enforcement has seriously hurt the confidence of both our citizens and our law enforcement. I will defend our law enforcement, not defund them.

Minnesota has record-low unemployment yet businesses still need workers. How would you address the worker shortage problem?

High taxes are causing people to leave our state. Minnesota is also not very business-friendly. Overburdening taxes and regulations are sending citizens and businesses to neighboring states. We need to reverse course from the direction we are heading with respect to overtaxation and burdensome regulations.

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Elise Diesslin

Political Party: DFL.

Residence: Elgin.

Employment: Mayo Clinic.

Family: I live close to my parents and see them frequently, and I have a brother and sister-in-law who have three beautiful children, who I absolutely adore.

Education: Graduate of Plainview-Elgin-Millville high school; associate of arts degree from Rochester Community and Technical College; bachelors of fine arts and a bachelors of arts from the University of Minnesota Duluth; and a masters in advocacy and political leadership from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul.

Political experience: Served as a city council member in the city of Elgin; served on the civil service senate for six years through my previous employer, the University of Minnesota Rochester.

Website: ediesslin.com

Elise Diesslin
Elise Diesslin.
Contributed

What are your top three priorities if elected?

Education: As a child of two educators, I grew up knowing all too well the load placed on our teachers. I am also a graduate with student loan debts so education is a top priority of mine — from pre-K to higher education, schools are the heart of small towns. Many of our students are dependent on the social security provided at school, the assistance of teachers and staff, and after-school activities. We need to continue to fund our education in Minnesota.

Health care: Health care is a human right, and all residents of 20B should have access to health care that suits their needs. Communities thrive when they are at their healthiest. Health care should be accessible to everyone, at any stage in life. I will work to keep health care accessible for rural Minnesotans.

Farming: My district is known first and foremost as a farming community. Farmers, and their livelihood are integral to our district. Rural Minnesota is made up of farming communities. Farms are the panels of fabric sewn throughout the quilt of rural Minnesota. Our towns and communities in my district are nestled between miles of local farms, and we need to do more at the state level to ensure we are protecting and providing funding if needed to our farming families.

DFL Gov. Tim Walz and GOP leaders were unable to agree on how to divvy up a $9 billion state surplus. What would you support as a state legislator?

I would support redistributing that surplus back into education and health care. Our educators and health care workers are burnt out from the last few years of the pandemic. We need to foster their passions and keep good educators teaching our kids, and health care professionals doing what they do best, at all levels.

Do you support changes to the state’s election laws to bolster public confidence in elections?

Minnesota does not have electronic voting, the use of paper ballots are the basis for the outcome of a safe and fair election. Paper ballots and vote totals are reviewed by election officials at city, county and state levels several times before an election is certified by the state canvassing board. We have made great strides in offering many options to vote, such as by mail, early in-person, or in-person on election day.

Violent crime is up statewide by 21%, according to a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. It’s true not only in the Twin Cities, but in greater Minnesota. What measures would you support to improve public safety?

Recidivism has many potential causes, including lack of employment and economic opportunity, depression, and lack of reintegration into society. We need to look at the root cause of why crimes are committed. We need to do more to assist those living in poverty, those that are close or vulnerable to living in poverty, and how we assist with addiction. Expanding health care options in the state and making it more affordable can help with addiction outreach. Working towards a livable minimum wage in Minnesota would assist with those living in poverty. Increasing funding for programs that incentivize reducing recidivism and assist with reintegration back into society after a sentence has been served.

Minnesota has record-low unemployment yet businesses still need workers. How would you address the worker shortage problem?

Raising the minimum wage would help. I’ve heard complaints about people choosing unemployment rather than being employed, but if it’s possible to make more on unemployment, what does that say about our wages? I would like to see assistance for small businesses to be able to raise their wages if that is a concern. We also need to subsidize the cost of a higher education. Many students graduate with debts so large, they can barely afford to pay them back. If you are in a “lower earning” job, that makes it all the more difficult to get ahead.

Election Day is Nov. 8, 2022. Find voting information at  www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/ .

Matthew Stolle has been a Post Bulletin reporter since 2000 and covered many of the beats that make up a newsroom. In his first several years, he covered K-12 education and higher education in Rochester before shifting to politics. He has also been a features writer. Today, Matt jumps from beat to beat, depending on what his editor and the Rochester area are producing in terms of news. Readers can reach Matthew at 507-281-7415 or mstolle@postbulletin.com.
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