Steve Carlson: 2018 Election Guide

(credit: CBS)

Welcome to’s 2018 political guide!

We reached out to all Minnesota candidates running for U.S Senate, Governor, U.S Congress, Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Auditor this fall. Candidates were asked to provide a two-minute video discussing their platform as well as answer a set of our viewer’s questions.

Above is the video and below the answers Steve Carlson provided. This is not a paid advertisement nor does WCCO endorse any candidate.

Responses from Steve Carlson, DFL candidate for U.S Senate:

Should Immigration Customs Enforcement — ICE — be abolished, and replaced with a different agency to control immigration crimes?

No ICE should not be abolished. We do need a different approach to controlling our border with Mexico. It should be based on working with Mexico. We have a treaty, called the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which obligates both countries to work for good neighbor relations with each other. We both benefit from immigration and travel between our two countries. But each nation has a right to enforce their borders and maintain the safety and integrity of their population. This requires a wall. The burden cannot simply be placed on immigration enforcement, we have to back it up. Amy Klobuchar is attacking enforcement and won’t honestly admit what is causing the difficulty with keeping families together when they are arrested for violating immigration laws. Democrats should NOT cheer as yet another judge tells the administration they don’t think families can be kept together for longer than 20 days because it’s “indefinite detention.” It is judges who have created the problems with immigration enforcement and they need to take their political noses OUT of it. This deserves a serious, not bitterly partisan discussion.

When politicians refer to negative stories as “fake news”, do you believe it?

Fake news exists. I am a journalist, and worked as an editor and reporter for seven years at the Asian American Press and Asian Business and Community News and with the Minnesota Minority Media Coalition. I know what real news is, because I’ve created and edited it. News organizations serve an important function which is migrating on-line and social media helps a lot with that transition. Often I do know that the news is fake, and it’s important to pick this out when it happens. When a politician says this I look at the the story and how it’s focused and how it’s presented. It doesn’t matter if it’s “negative.” What matters is the fair coverage that meets our information needs. I have to dig through the internet and compare information from multiple sources and make sure I understand the subject matter, and not simply the spin of whose side the news source wants to paint in what light. In fact I spot that right away.

Should the President be permitted to unilaterally raise tariffs on US imports, or should Congress be required to vote before tariffs are imposed?

If you’re asking whether I think the current law should be changed to bar Trump from imposing changes, that is really a bad idea. The last thing we want is 535 different trade policies. We need a single, unified trade policy. It’s reported the U.S. had a trade deficit of $566 billion in 2017. But if you take out services it’s $810 billion. This is because Mr. Obama, and other previous presidents were ineffective leaders and this is killing us when we’re looked to by the world for leadership. So today, my opponent Amy Klobuchar tweeted, in attacking Trump for meeting with Putin that “being a loyal ally means you get berated.” Bad leadership from Amy. Truth is, Trump is getting NATO ship-shape, as if we are really allies and not just sponging off the United States. Truth is, Trump wants to reduce the threat from Russia and make G-8 work again after Barack Obama messed it up. Minnesota will benefit greatly by restoring the need for steel. It won’t happen overnight, but tariffs to make the world play fair is a key component to bringing jobs back to America, back to Minnesota, and building a far brighter future for our world.

Should able-bodied Medicaid recipients be required to work?

Here is the actual law in Minnesota. I’m going to talk to you about a breast cancer patient in treatment on Medicaid. This is not a new legal proposal, and it provides insight into what the government-controlled policy should be. These matters are controlled by people like Dayton associate Emily Johnson Piper as his commissioner of human services, and gubernatorial candidate Lori Swanson in her present capacity as Minnesota attorney general. So hundreds of women are in breast cancer treatment which is an option authorized by federal law, part of the Medicaid Act called the Breast and Cervical CANCER Prevention and Treatment Act. It’s adopted by the Minnesota Legislature. Here’s what they tried to do to my wife while I was running against Al Franken for U.S. Senate in 2014. Faceless bureaucrats who have hid their face from us we’ve never seen them, were in the Ramsey County welfare department. Because my wife was in cancer treatment her medical care only was transferred to these faceless welfare bureaucrats. They cut off her breast cancer treatment insurance when she was 63 years old. Not eligible for even Medicare, which doesn’t cover the medical care the categorical Medicaid program did. We called and talked to another worker when we were told by a hospital that her MA-BC was not active. The original worker, Teryl Nelson whom we’ve never met, had given herself vacation and “training” after terminating my wife’s health insurance. We told them we never received her mailing, and indeed, they had it saying “undeliverable” to our correct address. In order to keep the MA-BC we had to go to a social security office, wait in this big line for a day to get a letter saying because she was 63 she could not get Medicare. If we had not appealed within 10 days of learning of this action, with a specific request to keep her life-saving cancer treatment insurance active on appeal, she would have lost it forever, because Mark Dayton’s machine under Emily Piper and Lori Swanson would never give it back. And this would have been with NO HEARING. Oh, and if you think this is unconstitutional, the Minnesota Legislature, in its infinite wisdom has passed a law that you cannot raise Constitutional issues in the administrative appeal process and you can’t get to a state court without going through the administrative appeal. And in 2015, while I was litigating against Lori Swanson and Mark Ritchie/Steve Simon over elections, Teryl Nelson again terminated my wife and we got the notice the same day we needed to appeal and ask the breast cancer treatment be continued on appeal. And then within days of my announcing I was running in the Democratic primary against Betty McCollum, Teryl Nelson, AGAIN, five months before her 65th birthday, went in her files and without ever contacting my wife, cancelled her MA-BC and it’s never been restored. The Dayton administration knows this, even a district court judge Dayton appointed, Shawn Bartsch, knows this, and she has been stripped of that medical care coverage for over two years, and her treatment is scheduled to stop about the same day as the general election, coincidentally.

But what’s more, what the welfare people did when I ran against McCollum was to treat my wife differently, as if between the two of us we needed to spend our way down to 80% of poverty level each month with medical bills before ANY Medicaid assistance would be paid for her DURING her on-going cancer treatment. This is a Mark Dayton/Lori Swanson horror story, that Amy Klobuchar is fully informed of. By herself, my wife, being cancer treatment limiting her ability to work, could have qualified for having her treatment paid for on her own account. My understanding is that hundreds of women have been treated this way as part of the state’s strange version of a breast cancer treatment program that provides for full treatment of their cancer. Under Medicaid law, the state must conduct an impact study on how this horrible practice affects the efficiency, economy and quality of care of these hundreds of women, many of whom are in worse shape than my wife, because we caught the cancer in time. This is unacceptable. It is indeed a war on women which greatly deviates from the stated intent of the real women leaders in Congress who fashioned this program. Amy Klobuchar has badly dropped the ball and I guess because I was running against her and other Democrats, doesn’t really like me or my wife very much.

Based on our cancer care experience, my answer is that in any case these faceless welfare people should not have any discretion that would go beyond the DEED Dept of employment and economic development requirements, who are the only ones qualified to administer work rules and eligibility (and I can tell you they did that badly during the emergency program during the Obama administration. But welfare department people CANNOT be trusted not to take the money and give themselves raises, or apply it for welfare payments to those people they like and care about, which will very likely NOT be YOU.

Do you believe North Korea will “denuclearize,” as President Trump says it will?

Yes. This is the problem with fake news. You pretend the issue is whether it will happen “as Trump says”. You turn a critical security issue into an argument about a personality. Just another part of a deafening partisan argument and struggle for control. This is the essence of fake news. Yes, denuclearization WILL happen, and it won’t be just North Korea and it won’t just be nuclear weapons. It will be the end of the Korean War. Media need to grasp this. It involves realigning with China and Russia with our own influence in the region, and bringing hostilities in Asia to an end. It includes an economic future for those trapped in a North Korea system that is not working. It includes reuniting a society and even families and bringing hope instead of destruction and despair. And it involves releasing again one of those four tigers in East Asia, South Korea, this time unbothered by a sword of damocles hanging over their head because of the dangerous region they live in. Let’s all support President Trump’s drive to peace and his great team.

Do you believe in climate change, and should the U.S. rejoin the Paris climate accords?

Over 10 years ago in a community meeting I told Sen. Sandy Pappas and Rep. Carlos Mariani that the University of Minnesota should establish a research center to study the impact of climate change on our state and region. I was met with “and you can argue the sky is falling.” But I was right, they were not paying attention. We need to study the impact on our economy, wildlife, tourism, transportation, and population. That said, I agree with Trump on pulling out of the United Nations and their activities regulating national economies centrally. This isn’t working. We need to focus on two things instead: security agreements, especially in Europe right now; and trade policy, especially in Europe right now. We also need to navigate North-South concerns, where the industrialized economies are compared to the lesser developed nations as the United Nations tries to ration out how much development we can have vs. smaller economies through this Paris organization. We need to let our private companies compete without this artificial and ineffective restraint to keep America, and our future, great. I want to see MUCH more science on the actual linkages we observe between small measured changes and specific changes in the climate. It appears small changes in water temperature, magnified in the oceans and oceanic weather systems may raise the water levels on the sea shores. This does not mean we subordinate our economy to the United Nations. This is an important issue I remain focused on as I have been since I met with Dr. Harlan Cleveland in 1983 at the Humphrey Institute on the subject. (VERY few people showed up for that program).

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