Detert wants frank talk on issues facing state
LITCHFIELD -- DFL Party legislative candidate Dr. David Detert wants a frank discussion of the issues facing Minnesota. Detert, 56, of Litchfield is running against Republican Rep. Dean Urdahl, 57, of Grove City for the House District 18B seat in...
LITCHFIELD -- DFL Party legislative candidate Dr. David Detert wants a frank discussion of the issues facing Minnesota.
Detert, 56, of Litchfield is running against Republican Rep. Dean Urdahl, 57, of Grove City for the House District 18B seat in the Minnesota Legislature. Detert ran unsuccessfully against Urdahl in the 2002 Republican primary, then switched to the DFL Party and ran unsuccessfully against Urdahl in 2004.
Detert, a family physician with Affiliated Community Medical Centers, says he's running again because he was fairly competitive last time. He said the issues on which he campaigned two years ago are even more important today.
"I think the people of the state can tolerate a frank discussion of the issues, even if we have to make some sacrifices to do it,'' he said at his Litchfield office. "We're sidetracked with periphery issues, fighting about things that don't affect the welfare of our citizens.''
Detert said saying "no new taxes'' is the same as saying there are no new ideas.
He said there's obviously a limit to what can be taxed, but he said there's no discussion about what can be done.
The number one issue Detert said he hears about going door-to-door is the cost of health care. He said health care costs have accelerated at three times the rate of inflation. Even though the rate has slowed, health care is the most common reason for personal bankruptcy. He said people are delaying care because they can't afford larger deductibles.
"You cannot continue to modify the present system,'' he said. "It's become so complicated no one can understand it. We have to come up with some other type of system for health care costs.''
Detert favors a basic health care system that's not related to employment.
"Give basic health care to everyone, even if they lose their job. Above and beyond that, you have to pay for it. Many of our businesses are not competitive on the world market because of the tremendous cost of health care,'' he said.
Detert said education is a huge concern. He said the ACGC School District and the Dassel-Cokato School District are asking voters to approve operating levies in November.
"The way that education has been funded over the last three to four years with a shift back on the property taxes puts our area of the state in a major disadvantage because we are not a property-wealthy area,'' he said.
Detert said transportation is also important. With gas prices down, he said, this would be the ideal time to consider a gas tax increase.
The constitutional amendment to dedicate motor vehicle sales taxes to roads and transit will bring in more transportation revenue. But Detert says it's almost an admission that the Legislature has not been doing its work.
"That's something that shouldn't really have to come back to the general population to vote for,'' he said. "That's why we elect legislators. The Legislature already has the authority to make those decisions. I think this is a way that they are kind of avoiding their responsibility in making that decision.''
Detert said he would like to see the state concentrate more on development of mass transit. When the price of gas increased, ridership on mass transit increased. He said those systems take 20 to 30 years to build and Minnesota is behind many other states in having effective mass transit systems.
"We can't have the quality of life, the standard of living we have, unless we're willing to invest in those things,'' said Detert. "The word taxes is a bad word for lots of people. But there are worse things. If you don't have the infrastructure to support your economy, you're not going to have the income to be worried about it.''
Detert said some issues should come directly to voters. He favors putting the issue of same-sex marriage to a general popular vote and said he'll live with whatever the majority decides.
"That's state policy for 10 years,'' he said. If the issue comes up again, it goes to another election and that party pays for it, he said.
"Put the issues to rest,'' he said. "Let the majority make a decision: a general vote. These things are not permanent. Why should I make a decision that's permanent? Future generations may feel different.''