West Central Tribune: Craig, Kistner differ on health care, election date in Second District debate

By: Rachel Fergus

ST. PAUL — Candidates for Minnesota’s Second Congressional District met virtually Friday, Oct. 16, for a debate hosted by Minnesota Public Radio.

Democrat Rep. Angie Craig is seeking a second term, and is facing a challenge from Republican candidate Tyler Kistner.

The COVID-19 pandemic and health issues were a major focus of Friday’s debate. Both candidates agreed that more relief is needed for individuals and small businesses. Craig emphasized that in order for the economy to return to where it was before the pandemic a nation-wide strategy to control COVID is required.

“We’re going to need a federal strategy to suppress the virus. What that means in practice is not what we’ve been seeing from this administration,” Craig said. “We need testing, we need contact tracing and we need isolation strategies. That’s not what we’ve seen. We need to make sure that our supply chains are well equipped to get PPE to those who need it time, that testing supplies don’t run short.”

In November the Supreme Court will hear arguments about the Affordable Care Act before ruling on whether it is constitutional or not. Craig is in favor of upholding the ACA. Kistner is in favor of creating a new system, and says on his campaign website:

“My plan is built on common sense, patient-focused solutions. We will lower health care prices by opening health savings accounts, providing transparency in billing so patients know the true cost of care, and opening up state lines so consumers can get affordable and accessible healthcare no matter where they live.

“For too long, Congress has failed to truly reform our health care system. We need to enact reforms that cut costs, expands choice, and puts patients first.”

Minnesota’s Second Congressional race is unique because it unknown when the election will be held. After Adam Weeks, the Legalize Marijuana Now Party candidate, died at age 38 Sept. 21, the race was thrown into upheaval. As Weeks died within 79 days of the Nov. 3 election, state law said that the election had to be delayed until Feb. 9.

Craig filed a lawsuit in federal court to allow the election to go on Nov. 3. She explained during the debate, “we believe quite simply that federal law supersedes state law in this instance and that’s what we’ve asked the district court to opine on. We don’t believe the state can move the election. It’s very clear in federal law that races for U.S. House occur on even-numbered years.”

The federal court ruled that the election would be held Nov. 3.

Kistner is appealing the ruling. He told moderator Mike Mulcahy, “when you look at the law, the federal law states that states have the right to make up their own election laws, so I’m going to let the courts deal with that and we’re going to continue to push for whatever the courts decide and I’m here to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to let every voice in this district be heard.”

Read the full story here.