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Abrahamson, Kaufman dueling for 22A DFL nod

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Editor’s note: The following are written responses to questions posed by The Globe to candidates seeking to represent the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party in the general election for Minnesota District 22A Representative. The top vote-getter in the Aug. 14 primary will advance to the general election in November.

Brian Abrahamson, Luverne

Why did you decide to run for this position?

I could not sit back and watch attacks on our farmers, union workers, nurses, teachers and our health care. Our current incumbent state representative promised to have cheaper health care, and it hasn’t happened. He also promised to have better broadband services for rural Minnesota. He has not acted on either promise. Plus, he has not made any statement against what the trade war are doing to our soybean farmers. I decided to run about a year ago, and my primary opponent decided to run a day before the endorsement convention.

What would be your top priority if elected?

Health care, broadband/transportation/water infrastructure and legalization of cannabis. I believe that health care is a right, not just a privilege for the wealthy. Currently, farmers and self-employed are paying over $30,000 in premiums, and not really receiving the care they need. We must repair our roads, bridges and water infrastructure. Our communities need safe travels and clean drinking water to keep us healthy. Plus, legalization, regulation and taxation of cannabis will give us much-needed tax revenue for projects that are usually overlooked, like education and infrastructure.

Tell us more about yourself.

I am a direct support professional for adults with disabilities and also a CNA for eldercare. I care for people, and about people. Mental Illness is a huge issue in our state and around the world. I work firsthand with people that have mental illness, and will fight to do right by the thousands that are afflicted with mental disabilities and illness. I have compassion for all, and a passion to do what’s right for the people of Minnesota and my community. I am on the social board for my church. I enjoy going to events in our community with my wife and kids. We have some of the best events in our area, and I am proud of community support in those events.

Max Kaufman, Fulda

Why did you decide to run for this position?

Growing up in Fulda, I have seen firsthand the challenges that our small communities face. Furthermore, our state is plagued by an ever-deepening urban/rural divide. I am running for state representative because not only am I passionate about seeing southwest Minnesota reach its full potential, but I am also the candidate who has the background needed to bridge the urban/rural divide. Having spent my formative years in southwest Minnesota, I am very familiar with the needs of our neighbors, and with seven years living in metropolitan areas, I am also familiar with the worldview of the urban population. I want to bring that understanding to St. Paul to put an end to the regional hostilities at the Capitol that are holding all Minnesotans captive.

What would be your top priority if elected?

My top priority, without a doubt, is health care. Right now, we have a health insurance system that is based on profiting from denying care. Through increasing costs, out-of-network restrictions and prior authorizations, the entire basis of our system is profit instead of actually providing quality care for our families. This has left many of us, particularly self-employed people, paying exorbitant annual premiums. Farmers are among the hardest hit by this. A developed country like the United States has the resources to provide quality care to everyone affordably, and Minnesota — a state with one of the highest qualities of life — is innovative enough to lead the way toward a better system. Whether that is finding a way to pool self-employed people or moving toward a single-payer system (e.g. "Medicare for all"), my top priority is ensuring Minnesota's health care system starts serving the purpose it was meant to.

Tell us more about yourself.

I was born in Worthington and raised in Fulda, where I attended high school. My mother, an in-home daycare provider, and my father, a union laborer, raised my four siblings and I and instilled us with the values of kindness and community service. In 2013 I graduated from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Global Studies, spending some time studying Arabic in Amman, Jordan. I then moved to Detroit, Mich., where I worked on community development, housing and foreclosure issues. From 2015-2016 I conducted research on government efficiency in India, after which I made the choice to move back to southwest Minnesota. I currently work at the Southwest Regional Development Commission, providing hazard mitigation and transportation planning assistance to units of government in the nine-county area. It is my aim to use these experiences to best serve the citizens of southwest Minnesota as state representative.

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