What is the difference between my opponent and me? I believe that it is important to practice science-based protocols for handling COVID19, including wearing masks. We have seen what disregarding the pandemic has done to neighboring states, such as South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. There is increasing pressure on our hospitals treating the growing numbers of patients. My opponent would eliminate the Governor's emergency powers creating a lack of direction for the state, unsustainable stress to our medical personnel, and greater opportunity for contact with the virus.

My opponent has indicated that the budget deficit for the State of Minnesota is going to be an issue and I agree. The Republican Party is going to slash programs to those that can least afford it. Where are the cuts going to come from? K-12 education, Health and Humans Services programs, or other essential services. In fact, prior decisions made by the Republican majority show that they were not visionary in their decisions, such as borrowing money from schools and reducing homeowner property tax credits, and they consequently shut down the government for 20 days. We cannot afford another two years of irresponsible budget decisions.

The state has $2.359 billion in the budget reserve (the state savings account). This money is available because Democrats showed fiscal restraint and, in 2014, passed a law requiring up to one-third of budget surpluses to automatically be deposited in the reserve account to help protect against future economic downturns. This will lessen the effect of the budget deficit but it will not solve it if the pandemic persists. To plan on cutting services to those that cannot afford it is not looking out for SD 17 but a blow to the spirit of the district.

The Republican party had the opportunity to seriously address the George Floyd murder but instead talked about statues and refused to address the event. Minnesota has a very real problem with systemic racism and should address it head-on. It is time we make our state equitable for all no matter the color of their skin, cultural background, religion, gender or relationship choices. I do not believe in defunding the police and believe in the First Amendment Right to protest. I believe there are ways to augment law enforcement to increase their success and well-being by providing peer counseling, better training when addressing mental health issues, and creating accountability for actions taken by officers that are counter to their departments and that hurt the citizens of their community unnecessarily and unfairly.

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Please look at the time wasted by the Republican Party, my opponent’s party, in settling on the bonding bill, the lack of transparency for doing police reform and the potential of cutting programs that affect so many in this area. If you want someone who is going to defend the worker, look at solutions that will affect us all, and work to improve the lives of Minnesotans please vote Fernando Alvarado by mail or on November 3rd.

Fernando Alvarado is the Democrat-Farmer-Labor candidate for the Senate District 17 race.