OpEd: The case for Minnesota Republicans
Originally Published in the Star Tribune by Senator Paul Gazelka
In November, voters will make important decisions about the direction of our state. When casting their ballots for Republican state legislators, voters are choosing balanced representation and solutions that actually work for Minnesotans.
For the last four years, Republicans in the Legislature have reached across the aisle to achieve results.
As Tax Committee chair, Roger Chamberlain lowered middle-class income tax rates for the first time in nearly 20 years, and Dave Senjem reduced Minnesotans’ Social Security taxes.
Education Committee Chair Carla Nelson championed record education funding directly to students.
Public Safety Committee Chair Warren Limmer increased penalties on sexual offenders, made it easier for sexual assault victims to get justice and brought all sides to the table to enact police reforms.
Karin Housley chaired a new committee on Family Care and Aging to pass protections for seniors and families from the horrors of elder abuse.
Finally, Senate Republicans passed historic funding for roads and bridges — without Gov. Tim Walz’s massive 20-cent gas tax hike.
Let me be clear on one of biggest claims this election: that Republicans won’t protect pre-existing conditions. Minnesota has protected coverage for pre-existing conditions since 1976 and we affirmed this in our HHS budget in 2017. We will not remove this protection for the vulnerable.
Furthermore, Senate Republicans passed reforms to lower the cost of prescription drugs, including insulin, and increase health care access across the state. Our innovative reinsurance program is a model for other states. Your health care is more affordable and more accessible today because of these reforms.
Most importantly, in the face of a global pandemic, we quickly approved half a billion dollars in COVID response funding to purchase protective equipment, testing supplies and to increase hospital capacity.
In 2021 the $4.7 billion deficit requires immediate action to slow government growth. Without Senate Republicans at the negotiating table in January, one party will determine how we recover from the pandemic and rioting, and its track record isn’t good.
The last time the state had one-party rule, taxes and spending soared, health insurance costs soared, and care became harder to access for rural communities.
In our cities with one-party rule, like Minneapolis, efforts to defund the police led to a dwindling police force, huge spikes in crime and an unsafe downtown.
Republicans will prioritize our budget needs to reflect the state’s priorities. Democrats promise free health care with Medicare for All, which will effectively cancel employer plans. Senate Republicans will protect personal health care choices.
Democrats say college should be free. We’ll hold educational institutions accountable for keeping prices low and support opportunities to get young Minnesotans into technical or trades jobs.
Democrats try to defund the police. Senate Republicans stand strong with law enforcement and expect every Minnesotan to be treated fairly by police and to feel safe in their communities.
So, who do you want representing you? One party that relies on increasing fees, taxes and regulations to pay for bloated agencies and wasteful spending, like pay raises for state employees this July while 700,000 Minnesotans were unemployed?
Or do you support balance and demonstrated success from Senate Republicans, who have protected the state from massive taxes, protected people from criminals and protected the vulnerable from losing their health care?
We must have a balanced budget in May. We need balanced government in St. Paul.
Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, is majority leader in the Minnesota Senate.