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House District 21B

A fundamental disagreement over the role of government is at the heart of the election contest in House District 21B.

A fundamental disagreement over the role of government is at the heart of the election contest in House District 21B.

During his nine years in the Minnesota House, Rep. Steve Drazkowski has been an outspoken critic of attempts to increase the size of government. If re-elected, the Mazeppa Republican vowed he would keep up the fight to limit spending and reduce taxes.

"We need to be able to begin to put the brakes on the growth of government so that government can be forced to yield to the people instead of the people continually being forced to yield to the government," Drazkowski said.

His opponent is political newcomer Elise Diesslin. The Elgin Democrat frequently talks about the importance of making key investments to improve the state's future. Topping her funding priority list is education. She backs efforts to provide public pre-K for 4-year-olds and wants more done to limit soaring college tuition.

"(Lawmakers) should be looking at lowering the cost of college and education and making it more affordable," she said.


When it comes to tackling rising health insurance costs, Drazkowski said the first step is getting rid of MNsure and moving to the federal exchange. He said other states that set up their own health insurance exchanges, such as Oregon and Hawaii, already have made the move.

"(MNsure) has failed Minnesotans, and it needs to go away," Drazkowski said.

He said he also backs efforts to restore "free-market controls" in the state's health insurance market.

Diesslin also has concerns with MNsure, but she said lawmakers shouldn't just get rid of it without putting together a comprehensive plan to replace it.

"If you want to scrap it, you need a plan. You can't just rip it out from under people," she said.

Diesslin said lawmakers should look for creative solutions, including Alaska's reinsurance program, which helps provide coverage for the state's sickest residents while getting them out of the individual health insurance market. She also wants to see increased transparency when it comes to prescription drug costs.

On the issue of taxes, Drazkowski said he would continue to push for broad tax relief. He also would focus attention on lessening the school tax burden for farmers. He said he would push to change state law so that when it comes to school construction levies, farmers are only taxed on their home, garage and one acre.

"We need to figure out how we can get the political will to go to a garage, a house and one acre," Drazkowski said.


Diesslin said her approach to cutting property taxes would be to support increasing Local Government Aid. Those funds go to rural communities and help pay for basic services such as police and fire. She said it is important small communities have that support as they compete to keep residents.

"How can you argue with that help for a small, rural town? People could very easily not live in those rural towns and just move to Rochester and chose to live elsewhere," she said.

Drazkowski points to his experience and frank talk as a reason why voters should send him back to St. Paul.

"My constituents know and trust me. I'm somebody who is responsive to their needs, somebody who does what they say. With me, what you see is what you get," he said.

Diesslin said one major difference she sees between herself and Drazkowski is that she would be willing to keep an open mind and work with people with different views to come up with solutions. Through the years, she said, Drazkowski has developed a reputation of being a "no" man at the legislature.

She added Drazkowski does not seem to support the idea of having "discussions between two people and not just simply say, 'No, you are wrong.'"

House District 21B: Steve Drazkowski

House District 21B: Elise Diesslin

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