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Meet the cannabis candidates in the 1st Congressional District special election primary

They want to make pot legal and revitalize southern Minnesota's economy.

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Richard B. Reisdorf.
Contributed

Name: Richard B. Reisdorf.

Residence: Mankato, Minn.

Political Party: Legal Marijuana Now Party.

Family: Single.

Education: Masters Degree, Military Geography.

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Political experience: Political activist for 50 years, Green Party member for 26 years; school board candidate, 2005

Website: In progress.

What are your top three priorities if elected?

End the 100-year Drug War, end the 32-year Gulf War, and drastically reduce air, water, and soil pollution.

1.  Inflation is at a four-decade high, eroding people’s purchasing power. What should be done to contain inflation? 

The current inflation crisis calls us to take a closer look at the situation. When market shortages occur, the prices of affected commodities increase. We presently have 8% inflation, yet some items have increased by 25% or more. We have profiteering, where companies raise prices more than is justified. The market is not determining prices but rather companies are. Public policy must regulate these companies and place controls on essential goods.

2. The war in Ukraine has highlighted the foreign policy implications of energy. What energy approach do you support for achieving energy independence in the U.S.? 

Complete energy independence will be difficult to achieve. The process should begin with a drastic reduction in energy use. We buy less, waste less, and want less as a society. We need to become citizens rather than consumers and all developed countries will need to do the same. The U.S. consumes 58 BOE (barrels of oil equivalent) and emits 20 tons of CO2 per person, while the rest of the world is at 8 BOE and 3 tons, respectively. A commitment to walk lightly on the earth could lead to a saner life, with focus on family, friends, and community rather than wealth and consumption.

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3. How would you fix the country’s immigration challenges?

Throughout history, people have migrated from one area or country to escape difficult or emergency situations. Natural disasters and wars are often the cause. Economic migrants move from poorer countries to richer ones. These issues must be examined along with methods to reduce climate change: Ending wars and reducing income inequality need to be employed. These methods include a rigorous reduction in carbon emissions and weapons production while empowering the U.N. to mediate conflicts the way it was designed to do. Economies must be planned to provide a living wage and thus increase income equity.

4.  Can you cite instances of election interference in either of the last two presidential elections (Trump over Clinton in 2016, or Biden over Trump in 2020)? If so, what steps would you take to fix these problems? 

Interference in the presidential elections dates back at least to 1988, with the formation of the CPD (Commission on Presidential Debates), organized by the Democrats and Republicans as a private corporation replacing the nonpartisan League of Women Voters. The CPD is an exclusionary mechanism to keep alternative party candidates out of the debates. The CPD is heavily funded by large corporations. Both the Libertarian and the Green Party candidates in the last two presidential elections had enough electoral votes to potentially win the election, yet were excluded from the debates by the CPD. The debates should be open to all candidates having sufficient electoral votes.


Exclusive
Winners will advance to Aug. 9 election where they will vie to serve out late Rep. Jim Hagedorn's term.
Exclusive
GOP candidates say they would fight inflation, work to secure energy independence, expand markets for farmers.

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Haroun McClellan.
Contributed

Name: Haroun McClellan.

Residence: Rochester, Minn.

Political Party: Grassroots - Legalize Cannabis.

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Family: I live with my wife, who works as a physician, and our 3-year-old daughter.

Education: B.S. in civil engineering form the University of Tennessee, and J.D. from Georgia State University College of Law.

Political experience: N/A.

Website: N/A.

What would be your top three priorities if elected?

The top actionable priority is the full legalization of cannabis for adult use. Southern Minnesota was the “hemp belt” of America in the 1930s, and our farmers can once again reap the economic benefits of cannabis.

The Supreme Court has succeeded in dismantling the Voting Rights Act. As soon as protections were removed, the affected states began passing new laws to make voting more difficult or impossible for poor people and racial minorities. Their votes, when they are able to cast them, are further diminished in value due to Republican gerrymandering of voting districts. We must re-establish, and strengthen the Voting Rights Act, end racial and classist gerrymandering, and eliminate the Electoral College.

1.  Inflation is at a four-decade high, eroding people’s purchasing power. What should be done to contain inflation? 

One cause of inflation is a rise in the cost of materials and goods, which is consistent with the current supply chain issues caused by the pandemic. To address this and so many other issues, we must bring manufacturing and production jobs back to the U.S. The reason corporations outsource American jobs is because it is much cheaper to make or service their products overseas in countries such as China that engage in exploitative labor practices using forced and/or unpaid labor to produce goods. American workers cannot compete with wages so low or nonexistent, and we shouldn’t have to.

2. The war in Ukraine has highlighted the foreign policy implications of energy. What energy approach do you support for achieving energy independence in the U.S.? 

The U.S. market for renewable energy is soaring. Technology developments in solar and wind power plants have made these energy sources lucrative and viable. The number of Americans employed by wind and solar power projects far outnumber the coal industry. Continued investment in renewable energy will both help the U.S. achieve energy independence and contribute to the critically important goal of curbing climate change. We must find the ways to protect the environment while also protecting the livelihood of Americans, and renewable energy (which) is the easiest first step in that process.

3. How would you fix the country’s immigration challenges?

Our highly restrictive and punitive immigration system makes coming here legally extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, and encourages people to enter the country without documentation. New immigrants to the U.S. are some of the most entrepreneurial job creators in our country and are statistically an economic boom. Continuing our restrictive and broken immigration system costs us taxpayer money in needless enforcement, costs us to lose on the economic benefits that immigrants bring, and costs us a talented workforce that chooses other countries which are presently more welcoming instead. We lose nothing by showing fairness and compassion to those seeking a better life.

4.  Can you cite instances of election interference in either of the last two presidential elections (Trump over Clinton in 2016, or Biden over Trump in 2020)? If so, what steps would you take to fix these problems? 

While Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and some Republicans believe there was voting fraud in 2020, the most egregious form of election interference is actually the forced insertion of corporate interests in our political system that occurs in every election. Through Supreme Court decisions, corporations are now able to effectively make anonymous and unlimited campaign contributions to politicians that individual people could never hope to match. This means our politicians who claim to represent us are actually more influenced by large companies whose donations they rely on to fund their campaigns and day-to-day expenses. The silent interference is only magnified by the Jim Crow-style laws being championed by Republicans across the country to deliberately make voting less accessible to poor and minority voters as an election strategy.

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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