Minnesota Senate District 16 candidate: Joshua Prine
Why are you running for state senate?
We need candidates who will represent the people, not the party. The last several years it seems the two party duopoly (Democrat and Republican) spends more time fighting with each other than actually working for what their constituents want.
From your perspective, what is the role of a state senator?
The role of a senator is to listen to their constituents and help pass bills and legislation that are in line with what the people they serve want.
What will be your approach to balancing the next two-year state budget in terms of reducing spending and/or raising taxes and fees?
I would like to root out the waste, abuse and fraud and reallocate those dollars to areas that need it. I would like to avoid raising taxes as much as possible as I feel the funding is there it is just being misappropriated.
How would you work to collaborate with local units of government?
Meeting with them and being available via phone calls, e-mails and in person will be important.
How as a state senator would you work to promote economic development?
Large corporations often get big tax breaks and incentives to move into an area. We need to offer similar programs for smaller businesses. Small business is the cornerstone of our economy and we need to make it easier for them.
If you are elected, what would your top priority be for the 2021 state legislative session?
Finding ways to help small business that continue to struggle with the effects of COVID, along with bringing increased services for mental health and autism.
How do you grade the state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
I would give a grade of F. We have been in a state of emergency since March 13, 2020. This state of emergency isn’t having an impact on COVID numbers, but is affecting other areas. For example small business owners were forced to close their doors while watching big corporate stores be able to remain open for business. Many of these stores will never open their doors for business again. Those that have been able to reopen with tight restrictions live in fear of being fined or shut down again if the state feels they aren’t complying. Restaurants and bars have been having to utilize outdoor spaces, which is no longer feasible given the weather. Also having to operate at the very limited capacity often doesn’t cover the bottom line. Even though they are trying to remain open, they may still be forced to close. We cannot afford to lose anymore businesses.
Other than the topics already addressed, what, from your perspective, is the biggest issue facing the State of Minnesota, and how would you work to resolve it?
Mental health and autism services are a big issue. Southwest Minnesota should not be known as the black hole for services when we have several larger towns that are capable of hosting these services. People in this area shouldn’t have to travel hours and hours or out of state to find these services. Not only are their needs not being met, that is also lost revenue. I would like to find funding to reallocate toward these services, one idea is being able to provide incentives to service providers to remain in the area. Currently many come to complete licensing requirements and then leave for other areas.
Why should people vote for you?
I want to be a true voice for the people, not a party. As an Independent I’m not tied to voting how a party wants me to vote, I can vote how my constituents want me to vote. If a bill comes across that sounds great on the main pages but has added things that would negatively impact my constituents, I’ll be upfront and say This is why I voted the way I did. One of the programs I would like to start if elected is Lunch with the Senator. When we are not in session I would pick a town or two a week to come buy lunch for anyone who’d like to join me for a chat. I want to hear from the voters.
Please provide a brief bio of yourself.
I live on a small farm near Lucan with my fiance Jessica, step son Alex and we are expecting our new daughter any day now. We operate a small IT and telecommunications business as well as a small poultry farm. I enjoy helping where I can and have served on several volunteer fire departments and also serve on the board for Mid Minnesota Legal Aid. I was asked to the Legal Aid board after I put my business on hold in 2018 to help fight for residents of Sunrise Court who were being wrongfully evicted from their homes.