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Our View / Endorsement: Schultz remains the choice in 7A

Rep. Jennifer Schultz ran for the state House four years ago "to work on health care reform — real health care reform," as she emphasized during a News Tribune-sponsored candidate forum this month — "and to make health care and health insurance more affordable."

Jennifer SchultzAnyone opening a doctor bill anytime lately knows there's still a ton of work to do on that front. So eastern Duluth voters can do their fellow Minnesotans a solid on Nov. 6 by once again sending Schultz to St. Paul to share her expertise. She's co-director of the Health Care Management Program at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she's also an associate professor of economics. Her fields of research have included health economics, pharmacoeconomics, and health policy. When she was at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., she analyzed consumer decision-making in health care, how health care information gets used, and the perceptions of quality among health care providers. She has a lot to offer.

In the Legislature, as a two-term representative of District 7A, she has been an advocate for "MinnesotaCare buy-in," a proposal that would allow more Minnesotans to be covered under the state program now primarily for lower-income residents. Expanding MinnesotaCare can spread out costs and save consumers money, Schultz and others have argued.

"I'm very eager to get back to St. Paul and the Capitol to be an effective legislator to get work done to make sure that everyone in Minnesota has a better future," Schultz said at the forum. "Our economy is doing well. We need to make sure it is doing well for everybody in the state. That is my goal."

Schultz sits on the House tax, higher education, and health and human services finance committees. So her work extends beyond health care, including also bridging Minnesota's income and achievement gaps and making taxation fairer for everyone.

District 7A voters can re-elect Schultz, but they also can urge her to tone down partisan rhetoric that only divides our state and that can shortchange our community. Last session, for example, after ongoing negative comments about the Republican-controlled Legislature from Schultz and other DFLers in the region, Republican lawmakers snubbed a sales tax that would have paid to fix Duluth streets. The new tax had been overwhelmingly supported by Duluth voters, so it was hard to see its lack of approval as anything but political payback.

"Republicans were a barrier," Schultz said at the forum, continuing the rhetoric. She also said the Legislature has been "crazy" and "frustrating" under Republican leadership.

Her Republican opponent on Nov. 6 didn't give a pass to the party-first statements. Give Dana Krivogorsky, a native of Ukraine who has worked as a research scientist at both Johns Hopkins University and UMD, credit for that. Unfortunately, though, the preparedness for public office and deep knowledge of issues she demonstrated during an unsuccessful bid for Duluth School Board last year is lacking in this run for the Legislature.

"I will talk to anybody with respect," she said. "Their opinion, even if it is 180 degrees from my own, it's just as important as my own, and I'm willing to work without hating the other side. ... My goal if elected is to bring common sense to government and to bring some fiscal responsibility."

As well-placed as Krivogorsky's commitment and desire to give back to her community may be, the choice for Minnesota House District 7A remains Schultz. Her health care expertise and thoughtful work on other issues well-serves Duluth and the state of Minnesota.

This News Tribune endorsement editorial was determined entirely by the newspaper's editorial Board. The board's members are Publisher Neal Ronquist, Editorial Page Editor Chuck Frederick, employee representative Kris Vereecken, citizen representative Julene Boe and citizen representative Denise Wise.