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Legislative Forum addresses questions from the audience

November 3, 2012

2012 Election candidates Eugene Short, Joe Scomacker, Bill Weber and Alan Oberloh (L to R) answer questions posed to them by the audience during the Fulda Reading Club sponsored Legislative Forum. 
 Fulda Free Press Norma Dittman
Fulda Free Press Norma Dittman
2012 Election candidates Eugene Short, Joe Scomacker, Bill Weber and Alan Oberloh (L to R) answer questions posed to them by the audience during the Fulda Reading Club sponsored Legislative Forum.
By Norma Dittman
A legislative forum was held on Tuesday evening, October 23rd, at the Fulda Legion/Community Hall. Sponsored by the Fulda Reading Club, the forum answered many questions that had been submitted by those attending the event.

Addressing those questions were District 22A House of Representative candidates Eugene Short, and Rep. Joe Schomacker and District 22 Senate candidates, Bill Weber and Alan Oberloh.

Moderating the forum was Jayme (Jay) Trusty, Executive Director of the Southwest Regional Development Commission, Slayton, MN.

Each candidate was given two minutes to introduce themselves to the audience before Trusty introduced the first question. The candidates were asked “How do you plan on paying back the schools?” This question addressed the fact that the State of Minnesota currently owes its schools $2.4 billion.

Also addressed through audience-prepared questions was the loss of the Homestead Credit, Governor Dayton’s request to the federal government for an additional $42.5 million to develop Minnesota’s health insurance exchange, and what experience each candidate has had for helping to improve the local and state infrastructure. Other questions addressed the issue of fairness in funding for schools and nursing homes, and what each candidate thought could be done to stop bullying that happens in schools and through technology. Also asked was what experience the candidates had in working with others in combating the grid lock that the State is in.

While answering the question ‘What is your opinion of Governor Dayton’s $42.5 million health exchange, Schomacker stated that he is not in favor of it. He said that $42 million is just the cost of setting up the exchange and that there will be additional costs in the maintenance of the health exchange with that value projected to reach $72 million per year.

Short remarked that with the controversy over Obama Care, he would like to look at what will be available to the State before the State begins introducing its own health exchange program.

Oberloh stated that he is not in support of the health exchange program and would like to first learn what is going to be federally mandated. He said that “there will be a lot of costs that we don’t even realize yet.”

Weber commented that he is hoping that the national election would take care of some of the health care issues. “I would rather that the state have control than a federal program. I do not want to see a complete health care run plan. We need to be very concerned about that. If the Governor has his way, a State run health care is what we will end up with.” Addressing the Voter Identification Amendment that will be on the November 6th ballot, Oberloh indicated that he was originally for the Amendment, but upon learning more about it and the 24-36 million dollars that it would take to develop the identification system, he is no longer positive about it. “We should have figured it out with the last two close races we had,” Oberloh stated. Short is definitely not for the Amendment. He replied, “That is what the legislators are elected to do is make decisions such as that. How are our service people going to get home to vote? I am going to vote ‘No’.”

Weber stated that he is in favor of the amendment and explained that when a re-count had to be held in the most recent election, several addresses were located in areas where there was no living space.

Schomacker commented that because there were more votes counted than there were registered voters in certain areas, he would like to see a little more certainty added to the present system of voting.

In closing, Oberloh thanked the Fulda Reading Club for sponsoring the forum and being civically minded. He stated that he is interested in working hard for the constituents of District 22 and wants to hear from them regarding issues. He asked that those in attendance vote for him on November 6th.

Weber remarked that he wants to help grow the economy, and add more jobs. He stated that there are hard decisions that have to be made in legislation and that those problems needs to be handled in responsible ways.

Short asked for voters to vote for him in the November 6th elections and stated that there are many issues that need addressing and he is willing to listen to the constituents and search for the information and find answers that are needed.

Schomacker thanked the audience for their support during the past two years, and asked that they place him in a position through this election to continue the work that he has been doing in the House of Representatives.

Fulda Reading Club members had prepared beverages and bars and cookies for all to enjoy following the forum.

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