Priorities

I am running for the Minnesota Senate because I am frustrated and alarmed.

 

I am alarmed for our democracy, alarmed at the authoritarianism that is taking over this country, and alarmed that rights and freedoms are under attack or are being taken away.

 

I am frustrated by the hate and division, by the partisan politics, and by the inability of our legislature to get things done.

 

My priorities reflect these concerns.

 

Priority #1: Pass a Budget Bill

My first priority is to pass a budget bill, one of the most basic things a legislator is supposed to do!

 

The inability to do this in the last legislative session left cities, agencies, organizations, and schools in this district in the lurch, scrambling to find the money to fund basic services that enable our communities to operate. $9 billion dollars was left on the table, which could have been used for public safety, schools, and nursing homes–all of which provide vital services in our communities. This is unacceptable.

 

Priority #2: Reproductive Freedom

A second priority is protecting reproductive freedom and the choice if or when to start a family. Reproductive freedoms are under attack all around this country. Currently in Minnesota, women and families still have these freedoms, but some want to change the laws in Minnesota to restrict a person’s access to basic reproductive healthcare and the right to bodily autonomy. I will be a fierce advocate to preserve, protect, and defend the reproductive freedom that people currently have in Minnesota.

 

Priority #3: Defend Voting Rights

A third priority is to defend voting rights for all. There is a movement afoot in this state to pass more voting restrictions and to make it harder for people to vote. This is ridiculous. I am proud that Minnesota has some of the highest voter turnout rates in the entire nation. This is because we have such an exemplary voting system already in place. We also have a secure voting system, as audit after audit (at every level: state, county, and precinct) has shown. Our voting system is secure. As they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

 

Priority #4: Fund Education

I will champion funding for our public education system. Schools are the lifeblood of our rural communities. Good schools, with adequate staffing levels, qualified teachers and support staff, as well as modern facilities strengthen rural communities by providing children with the best education possible. Good schools also attract families to move (or move back to) rural towns and help retain those currently living there.

 

Priority #5: Gun Violence

We are experiencing an epidemic of gun violence in this country. There are mass shootings in our schools, churches, shopping malls, and grocery stores on a regular basis. Enough is enough! Polls show that a majority of Americans – including gun owners – are in favor of commonsense gun law reforms. I support red flag laws, universal background checks, and raising the minimum age at which a person can purchase an assault weapon.

Radio Interview, KLQP-FM, Madison, MN

October 13, 2022

KLOP-FM Radio InterviewMaynard Meyer & Anita Gaul
00:00 / 10:38

 

Maynard Meyer- KLQP-FM: Well, it's election time coming up in November and in an effort to make sure that all of our listeners out there are aware of what the issues are and who the candidates are, we are attempting to get on the air with as many of the candidates as we possibly can to talk about what's happening and what they're seeing out there and their feelings on a variety of issues. Today we have with us, Anita Gaul from Marshall, Minnesota. Anita is the Senate District 15 Candidate in our upcoming election here. Anita, welcome to the airwaves here.

 

Anita Gaul: Well, thank you for having me, Maynard, I really appreciate it. 

 

Maynard: Well, tell us a little bit, give us your background and a little bit about why you chose to throw your hat into the ring.

 

Anita Gaul: Well, I’ll first give you a little, a little personal information about me. It's always hard to boil down who one is, you know, in a couple sentences, but I'll do my best. I am a teacher. I'm an author and I'm a historian. I grew up on my family’s farm in Murray County, which is a bit south of Madison. I grew up by the town of Slayton, but then I left the state to attend Calvin University out in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I earned my Bachelor's degree there, and then I earned a PhD in history from the University of Iowa in 2009 and I returned to live in this area. I currently work as a history instructor at Minnesota West Community and Technical College. And I live in Marshall with my husband and three school-aged children. 

 

Maynard: Okay, now, have you had an interest all your life in politics?

 

Anita Gaul: Actually, yes, I majored in political science when I was in college and I initially thought I was going to be a foreign diplomat and work for the Foreign Service. That's what I went to college, thinking I was going to do. And then I actually spent some time living in Germany and I realized about myself that I didn't really fit in living abroad. I loved home too much and what my true passion was teaching history. So I changed my major and went into becoming a history educator instead, but my interest in politics has always been there. 

 

Maynard: Alright, well, how did you, what made you decide to get into the race here this time around?

 

Anita Gaul: Well, there's a number of reasons, but if I had to boil it down, really, I’d say I'm running because I'm frustrated and I'm alarmed. I'm alarmed, frankly, because I'm alarmed for our democracy. I look out and I'm afraid that the strain of authoritarianism is taking over this country. I'm alarmed that rights and freedoms are under attack or are simply being taken away. So I'm alarmed at that situation. And I'm also frustrated -- and I think a lot of people share this feeling -- I'm frustrated at the current state of politics. I'm frustrated by the hate, by the division, by the partisanship, and just by the inability of our legislature to get things done. So I look at the situation and when I was growing up on my family's farm, I was always taught, well, don't just sit around complaining about things, do something about them. So here I am. I am doing something about it. I’m gonna try go to Saint Paul, bridge the divide, get stuff done, and not just sit around complaining about things, but try to find, be part of the solution, right? Not be part of the problem, be part of the solution. So that's why I'm running. 

 

Maynard: Alright, very good. Well, you've had an opportunity now to get out and about and do some campaigning. And we've talked you up here a time or two, you've been to some of the events up here and dropped by the radio station. So obviously you've been able to find out what some of the concerns are of the constituents, or your potential constituents, up here in the area around the district. And what are you finding? What are the concerns that people are talking about? 

 

Anita Gaul: Well, you're right. I've been putting on a lot of miles on my car this summer, door-knocking different towns around my district. I've door-knocked over a thousand doors this summer. And honestly, when I door-knock and I come up to people's houses, most people honestly don't really engage. I think they seem a little distrustful of politics and politicians in general. And they just say something about, oh, you know, the system’s broken. I don't know if it can be fixed. And I tell them, you know, honestly, I share your concern. I think the system's broken, too. That's why I'm here and I'm trying to do something about it. And I tell them that I'm pledging to, you know, to do better, to do my job, to try bridge the partisan divide and I always say, you know, if I don't do my job and I don't do a good job at it, well, heck, vote me out in four years, you know. (Laughs) Vote me out!

 

Maynard: That’s right

 

Anita Gaul: Well, she didn't do a good job, either, vote her out! So the number one issue I really hear is people are just frustrated -- like me -- and feel that our system’s broken. 

The second issue is when I go around door to door-- and this is what I'm especially hearing from women in my district -- is they're asking me, well, what do you think of the Supreme Court decision that was handed down this summer regarding women's reproductive freedom? And when they ask me my opinion and I tell them, well, I was really disappointed by it. I mean, this is a constitutional right that I thought I had -- that was, you know, that was solidified, but it was taken away. And they express gladness that I feel this way. And to be honest, Maynard, this really surprised me, because that even so many women bring up this issue because I thought many people had mostly made up their minds about this issue and our stances are kind of hardened, but I think maybe the Supreme Court decision has prompted a lot of people -- particularly women -- to rethink this issue and, and really consider well, you know, what happens when my rights and freedoms are being taken away, and this has brought the issue back up to the fore, in a way I really never expected. So those are the top two things, really, that I'm hearing when I door-knock. 

 

Maynard: And our budget is of concern to a lot of people, a state sitting on about 8 billion dollars or something in surplus right now. And really haven't made a move to do much with that. What are your feelings on the budget? What we'd like to see? Where should spending go? 

 

Anita Gaul: Well, I really think, you know, so this last legislative session, they walked away they left, yeah, maybe eight billion, nine billion, I've heard of surplus money. Yeah, and I think it's maybe even growing now?

Maynard: It seems to be getting larger every time they come out with a report.

Anita Gaul: I know, you are right! Every time they say it, I'm like, how many billions is it?

Maynard: That's with a “b”, right? 

Anita Gaul: That’s with a “b”, you are right! So much money was left on the table. When Senate Republicans walked away from the deal that originally had been negotiated between SenateDemocrats and Republicans about how to spend this surplus. The deal on the table was to take a third of it and give it as tax breaks, a third of it to go to spending, and the third of it to go to reserves -- which seems a very sensible plan to me, right? You know, divvy it up, put it into the different pots that that we need funding for. But then Senate Republicans retracted on their deal and walked away and left those bills unsigned, unforwarded to the governor's desk. So I say when the legislature comes back, next session, let's take that up again. Let's reintroduce that onethird, one third, one third split -- seems sensible to me. Let's reconsider and see if we can’t get that passed this time around. 

 

Maynard: Alright. How about education? Being an educator, obviously, that's something on your plate. What kind of things and changes would you like to see there?

 

Anita Gaul: Oh, you are so right! I am a teacher. Schools are near and dear to my heart and to be honest, schooling has provided me so many opportunities in my life. I am where I am today because of the wonderful education that I received. So I am committed to champion funding for our public education systems -- particularly for our rural schools. I mean, we all know that schools are the lifeblood of our communities. When a school closes, a part of that community dies. And so it is really important that we get the funding we need to keep our schools open, to keep them adequately staffed, not only with teachers, but also with the support staff. We need good bus drivers and janitors and paraprofessionals and special ed teachers. We need all of that and we need modern facilities, so that we can meet, we can provide our children with the modern education and the modern technology they need to succeed in the world. So I really think one way to keep our rural communities, you know, thriving and a place that attracts people, not only to stay there, not to leave and go to the big city for work. It keeps people here and it attracts other people to our communities. So let's fully fund our public schools and help our rural communities that way. 

 

Maynard: Well, I know there are a lot of other issues that we can talk about. We're kind of running out of time on the radio here to do that, but if anybody wants to engage, talk a little bit to you or find out more about your campaign, why don’t you give us your information? How do we find you?

 

Anita Gaul: Absolutely. Well, my campaign website is my campaign slogan and it is: Anitayour vote.com.

 

Maynard: That’s the best, the most creative slogan I have seen so far this year.

 

Anita Gaul: (Laughs). Thank you! I know. It’s almost as if I was meant to go into politics, right, with a name like Anita! Yeah, it was actually the clever brainchild of my husband. It was just a moment of inspiration. He said to me over the supper table one night, he said, you know what your campaign slogan should be? I said, what? He said: Anitayourvote. I said, that’s brilliant! I am going with it. So it’s Anitayourvote.com. 

 

Maynard: Alright, very good. Well, I appreciate you taking time out of your schedule campaigning there, Anita. And we look forward to chatting with you in the future and best of luck in the elections coming up in November. 

 

Anita Gaul: Well, thank you! Again, I appreciate the time and I appreciate this opportunity to tell you what I'm about.

 

Maynard: We’re talking today with Anita Gaul, who is the DFL-endorsed candidate for state senator in District 15. And we look forward to talking to some of the other potential legislators and candidates out there as we go heading toward that November election. Thanks again, Anita.

 

Anita Gaul: Thank you.