In their race for state Senate District 66, DFL incumbent John Marty and Republican-endorsed challenger Wayde Brooks are an interesting study in their differences and similarities.
One big difference: Marty is a political veteran, serving the past 25 years as state senator from the Roseville area. Meanwhile, Brooks is a partisan newbie, having attended last spring's Republican caucuses and leaving as the party's recruit for the state Senate race.
Senate District 66 includes Roseville, Falcon Heights and the northern parts of St. Paul.
At a recent forum of the Roseville-Maplewood-Falcon Heights chapeter of the League of Women Voters forum, Brooks talked of the need for government to "provide regulations for a fair and free market" place, education and civil justice system. But Brooks, a Ron Paul Republican, added what while he believes government is necessary, " I think government that governs least is best."
In contrast, Marty said he believes the role of government involves "How do we relate to each other? How do we deal with conflicts? It's not always big versus little but what direction do we take?"
Regarding taxes, Marty said he considers the state's progressive income tax the fairest tax. But Brooks, a civil law attorney who handles land acquisitions for urtility firms, said he disagrees with the progressive income tax, contending that a luxury comsumption tax would be a better to raise state revenue.
On programs or services that are ripe for budget cutting, Brooks was adament that spending for light-rail transit hasn't been a good investment.
Meanwhile, Marty decried spending cuts in human service programs, conteinding investing in those programs, in the long run, will lead to a healthier more productive society. Marty has proposed a universal, single-payer health care plan that he asserts will will make Minnesotans healthier, save money, and stimulate the economy.
But on some issues, the two men agreed. Both decried the state Legisluare's recent practice of borrowing money earmarked for Minnesota school districts and using those funds to help balance the state budget.
"We shouldn't be borrowing against the future to pay for existing expenses," Marty said.
Brooks agreed, calling the Legislature's borrowing funds from Minnesota school districts "obscene." Brooks said, "I would support a bill to pay back the funds plus interest."
Meanwhile, Marty and Brooks both also oppose the proposed Marriage Amendment. "I believe the constitution is to protect rights," not take them away, Marty said.
Brooks called the Marriage Amendment "stupid" and "inane." He said his stand on this issue nearly cost him the Republican party endorsement.
To view the League of Women Voters forum (which also included candidates for House District 66A) that was covered by CTV North Suburbs, click on to this link. Then click on to the appropriate forum, Mn Senate 66 and House 66A.