House District 42B candidates talk infrastructure, opportunity

The race this fall in House District 42B is between a first-time DFL incumbent and her Republican-endorsed challenger.

Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn is seeking her second term for the district that includes Gem Lake, Little Canada, Vadnais Heights and parts of Roseville and Shoreview. Newcomer Yele-Mis Yang is mounting the bid to unseat her.

The candidates answered questions via email including why they are running, what skills and experiences they will bring to office, what they believe to be the top challenges the district and state face and what issues or projects they would prioritize if elected.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

 

Becker-Finn, 35, lives in Roseville with her husband Gabe Becker-Finn. She was first elected to the 42B seat in 2016 and also works as an assistant Hennepin County attorney focusing on domestic violence cases. She got her JD from the William Mitchell School of Law.

Having brought $20.5 million in infrastructure improvements to the district in the 2017 bonding bill, Becker-Finn said she has experience being a strong voice for families at the Capitol who will stand up to lobbyists “and others who want to benefit unfairly off the work of regular people.” She said she is honest about her positions and values and appreciates input, having spoken to thousands of constituents since being elected.

Becker-Finn said she is running “because I believe all Minnesotans should have access to excellent public schools and good jobs, with livable wages, meaningful benefits and the ability to retire. I also want to make sure our communities are safe and healthy, and that our water remains drinkable, swimmable and fishable now and in the future.”

She said top challenges for the district will be making housing affordable for all incomes and making sure workers have access to good jobs.

If re-elected, she said she would prioritize addressing mental illness and addiction in the community. “We do not currently have a true mental health ‘system.’  A lot more could be done to address the opioid crisis, suicide prevention and the unmet mental health needs of children, seniors and veterans,” she said.

 

Yang, 29, lives in Vadnais Heights with his wife Gina Yang and volunteers as youth pastor and PCA at Immanuel Assembly of God. He holds an associate’s degree in legal administrative assistance from Minneapolis Business College.

He said he’d bring experience with youth empowerment programs, nonprofit and community programs, education reform, senior care improvement and labor force programs to the office.

Yang said he is running “because I want to bring more diversity to our Capitol that truly represents Minnesota. We need more representation of the diverse communities and cultures we have. I also want to bring young leadership and a new voice with a new background to our Legislature.”

He added he hopes to inspire young and diverse people to be involved with government.

The top challenges he said facing the district are maintaining roads and bridges, the welfare of local businesses, senior care and health insurance — “Making sure that legislation is not hindering better medical and pharmaceutical services not just to our seniors, but also to all communities.”

If elected, Yang said his top priority concerns “the lack of qualified laborers. If I win, I will use my position to build relationships with schools and chambers of commerce, linking the two to create trained laborers for the job market.”

“With government resources, the chambers can provide up-to-date trainings and technology,” he said. “With qualified laborers, we can better our economy, which will better families and communities.”

 

For more information about voting, go to www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting.

 

-Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813. 

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