Candidate Questionnaire for Jon Tollefson

Last Updated on 11/30/2017 10:13pm

Our Revolution MN Candidate Questionnaire

Wealth Inequality. This is worse in the United States than in any other developed nation in the world. This problem has been getting worse for 40 years, with the richest 0.1% now accumulating as much total wealth as 90% of all Americans combined. The Walmart Family alone has as much wealth as 40% of the population, and the Forbes 400 list has more than half of the country. CEO's now take a third of all the pay in America, and have an income 300 times what an average worker at their companies does. Meanwhile 40% of US workers have an income below the 1968 Minimum Wage, and the median individual income is only ~$30,000. What solutions do you support to fix these dangerous levels of wealth inequality? Check all that apply:
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1. Fight For $15 – raise the national minimum wage to $15 per hour
x
2. Tax The Rich – increase the top marginal tax rate (to at least 55%), strengthen the Estate Tax, tax risky stock market speculators, stronger tax on Capital Gains, >0.3% tax on high frequency computerized trading on Wall Street
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3. Close Loopholes that allow the rich and big corporations to hoard capital in overseas hideouts
x
4. Oppose corporate-written deregulated trade pacts like the TPP that outsource good jobs to polluter nations with poor safety standards and working conditions
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5. $1 Trillion fed investment in a public jobs program to fix our country's crumbling infrastructure
x
6. Break Up the Big Banks and Oligopolies/Monopolies – give small businesses on Main Street a chance to compete by breaking up the major cartels that dominate entire economic sectors
x
7. Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) – allow working folks a better opportunity to collectively bargain by making it easier to organize into unions
x
8. Support Prevailing Wages so nobody that works for a living is living in poverty
x
9. Oppose “Right To Work For Less” schemes that lower wages
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10. Cap CEO pay at 20 times the median wage of workers at that company
Environment. Destruction of our natural world is reaching disastrous proportions. Up to 10% of species have gone extinct in recent times and terrestrial animal population has been cut in half since 1970. Man-made Climate Change is the single greatest threat facing life on our planet. The debate is over, and the scientific jury is in: global climate change is real, it is caused mainly by emissions released from burning fossil fuels, and it poses a dire threat to the sustainability of our species and others on our planet. It also exacerbates the catastrophes of desertification, deforestation, ocean acidification, habitat loss, and the mass extinction event facing life on Planet Earth. How policies would you support to stop this devastation of our world? Check all that apply:
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1. Ending all public subsidies to the giant fossil fuel corporations
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2. Hard Caps on carbon pollution or a Cap and Trade system to regulate CO2 emissions
x
3. Green New Deal - support 80% renewable, clean energy by 2050 (solar, wind, etc.)
x
4. Preserving and expanding natural habitat for wildlife
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5. Opposing the worst pipeline projects (KXL, DAPL, Enbridge Line 3, etc.)
x
6. Moratorium on new drilling
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7. Ending the destructive process of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”)
x
8. More sustainable, organic agricultural practices including local food production, farm to table projects, farmer's markets, and the Minnesota Corporate Farm Law that limits corporate domination
x
9. Fighting for science (schools curriculum, scientists in charge of agencies like the DNR, etc.)
x
10. Fiercely protecting our parks other public areas, including the right of wilderness apex predators
Big Money Corrupting Politics. The right wing activist Justices on the Supreme Court have legislated from the bench in “Citizens” United, Buckley v. Valeo, and McCutcheon, ruling in essence that money is speech, corporations are people, and giving huge piles of undisclosed cash to politicians in exchange for access and influence does not constitute corruption. This pay-for-access gives an undue influence to the rich over our elected officials, and erodes the very foundations of our democracy and the principle of One-Person-One-Vote. One major study actually determined that the United States today is currently closer to an Oligarchy than a Democracy. As an elected public servant, how would you help fix the corruptive influence of big money on our political process? Check all that apply:
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1. Public Funded Campaigns – this would help those running for office actually spend their time talking to constituents instead of focusing so much on fundraising
x
2. Public Subsidized Campaigns – programs like the Political Contribution Refund (PCR), Public Subsidies for state legislative campaigns, etc.
x
3. Spending Limits on Campaigns
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4. Far lower campaign donations allowed per person to each candidate
x
5. Banning Political Advertising from Corporations
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6. Curbing the influence of Lobbyists – transparency (Lobbyist Disclosure Enhancement Act, etc.), outlawing the revolving door between politicians and lobbyists
x
7. Eliminate SuperPACs
Democracy. The American public has lost faith in our democracy to the point that nearly half don't bother to vote anymore. This is the lowest voter participation rate in the developed world. What would you do to protect, enhance, expand, and restore confidence in our democracy? Check all that apply:
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1. Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) – also called Instant Runoff or FairVote
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2. End gerrymandering (district line cheating)
x
3. Restore full protections of the Voting Rights Act
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4. Expanding early voting and vote-by-mail
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5. Automatic voter registration
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6. Make Election Day a national/state holiday
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7. Oppose voter suppression schemes: mandatory government-issued Photo ID, voter roll purges, denying felons who have served their time the right to vote, voter roll purges, etc.
x
8. Open or Semi-Open Primaries and Caucuses
x
9. Protect the wall of separation between church and state that keeps us a secular nation like the Founding Fathers intended
x
10. Eliminating Superdelegates in political parties
Immigration. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” -Emma Lazarus quote on the Statue of Liberty. This nation was founded by newcomers to this continent and has a long tradition of being open to immigrants from all over the world. However, increasingly there are repressive measures being taken against immigrants. How would you help support a fair and humane immigration policy? Check all that apply:
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1. Make Minnesota a Sanctuary State so immigrants are free to live without fear of persecution
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2. Support a short, clear pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants
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3. End For-Profit Detention of detainees
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4. Protect and expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), and the DREAM Act.
x
5. End the “Constitution Free” Zone – land within 100 miles of any US border or sea zone is currently considered a border zone where constitutional rights are restricted for everyone
x
6. Allow Drivers Licenses for immigrants – Help road safety and vehicle insurance coverage by allowing immigrants to get a clearly marked driver's license, regardless of immigration status
x
7. Support human rights by accepting refugees in our state
x
8. Oppose the discriminatory Muslim Ban
x
9. Oppose Trump's proposals for a costly, ineffective border wall
x
10. Support Visa Reform so greedy companies can no longer abuse immigrants with starvation wages
Racial Justice. Institutional and cultural racism continue to be a pervasive problem. Authoritarian laws by the incarceration complex and harsh tactics by law enforcement in particular impact people of color disproportionately, particularly the Native American, African American, Hmong American, and Latino American communities. Voter suppression schemes, like mandating a government issued photo-ID, hurt communities of color the most. There are also chronic issues with racism affecting the economic realities of minority communities. What measures would you support to help ensure better racial justice moving forward? Please check all that apply:
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1. Banning For-Profit Prisons
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2. End Policing of Minor "Broken Windows" Offenses that give Law Enforcement too broad of discretionary powers
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3. Always-On Police Cameras
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4. No mandated requirement for a government-issued photo-ID to exercise the right to vote
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5. Establish effective civilian oversight structures to Law Enforcement Agencies
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6. Demilitarizing Police
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7. End or severely curtail civil asset forfeiture
Gender Equality. Many of the achievements that have been made for women’s rights in the 20th century have been under attack recently — denying women control over their own bodies, preventing access to vital medical and social services, and blocking equal pay for equal work. Check which measures you support to protect the rights of women:
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1. Equal Rights Amendment, constitutional equality
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2. Expanded funding to Planned Parenthood
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3. Paycheck Fairness Act to achieve pay equity for women
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4. 12 weeks of paid maternal leave for new mothers
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5. Support Affirmative Consent
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6. Expand programs like WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)
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7. Protect the reproductive rights of women
LGBT Equality. In many states, it is still legal to fire someone based on their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. Sadly, today there are many places where it is legal to deny someone housing for being transgender. That is unacceptable and must change. We must end discrimination in all forms and secure access to education, healthcare, employment, housing, and all other aspects of public life to gender and sexual minorities. Check if you support:
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1. Marriage Freedom and Equality
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2. The freedom to be secure from being fired from work
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3. Stronger anti-bullying legislation in schools to help stop gay teen suicide epidemic
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4. Bar discrimination by creditors and banks
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5. Protecting the right to serve openly in the military
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6. The right to adopt children
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7. Legal right of transgender to use bathroom of gender identity
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8. Opposing so-called “religious freedom” laws that curtail LGBT Civil Rights
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9. Hospital visitation rights for LGBT couples
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10. Better training for police to prevent discrimination in enforcement
Empowering Tribal Nations. Native Americans are the first Americans, yet they have for far too long been treated as third class citizens. It is unconscionable that today Native Americans still do not always have the right to decide on important issues that affect their communities. The United States must not just honor Native American treaty rights and tribal sovereignty, it must also move away from a relationship of paternalism and control and toward one of deference and support. Do you support the following (check all that are applicable)?:
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1. Tribal Sovereignty and expanded consultation with tribes
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2. Native Americans opposing pipelines that cut through unceded tribal lands
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3. Stronger public health care for Indigenous Peoples
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4. Preserve the environment, including clean water
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5. Protecting sacred places and the cultural heritage of Native Americans
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6. Improve housing and educational
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7. Acknowledging generations of institutional racism against the First Nations
The Disabled. We are strong advocates for civil rights for all Americans, including those with disabilities who are often forgotten in the conversation. Check all of the following you support:
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1. Strong care for Disabled Veterans
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2. Help with employment, including stronger public funding of job centers for the disabled
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3. Ensure Access to health care, including high-quality mental health services
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4. Provide Education Opportunities, including technology
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5. A far stronger Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
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6. Implement Minnesota's Olmstead Plan
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7. Support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Veterans. As a nation, we have a moral obligation to provide the best quality care to those who have put their lives on the line to defend us, but far too often veterans are left on their own without the support they need once they are out of the service. Are you in favor of (check all that apply)?:
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1. Giving Veterans the strong public health care they deserve, including a well funded and good functioning VA with full optical and dental care
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2. Substantially improve the processing of Veterans’ claims for compensation
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3. Not sending our men and women in uniform off to war unless absolutely necessary as a last resort
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4. Support a new G.I. Bill that actually covers the cost of higher education
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5. Stop the epidemic of homeless veterans with strong public shelter and housing programs
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6. Ensuring the spouses and children of active duty members of the military are not living in poverty
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7. Mental health care, including depression therapy, treatment for PTSD (including cannabis therapy), suicide prevention
Seniors. There are various schemes to privatize, cut, or kill good programs that help Minnesota's elderly population. Some seniors get less than $1,000 a month from Social Security. Some have to choose between heating their home and getting their prescription drugs. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are understaffed and the workers underpaid. Our Revolution MN believes that we must strongly protect the benefits that our seniors have earned through a lifetime of hard work. Will you support the following? Check all that apply:
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1. Protecting and expanding Social Security
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2. Protecting and expanding Medicaid
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3. Protecting and expanding Medicare
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4. Making prescription drugs more affordable by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices
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5. Increased funding for Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities
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6. Public funding for Senior Centers
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7. A rate increase to home and community-based services to raise the wages of workers and fill the chronic understaffing, thus increasing the quality of care
Education. If there is one single way we can guarantee a prosperous future for our state and nation, it is through stronger education. This is the great equalizer that can potentially ensure that no matter if someone was born rich or poor, black or white, man or woman, gay or straight, that they can achieve their full potential. When they do, everyone benefits. Do you support the following? Check all that apply:
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1. All Day Everyday Kindergarten
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2. Universal voluntary Pre-K for 4 year olds
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3. Smaller classroom sizes
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4. The right of teachers to a continuing contract and collective bargaining for better pay, better health care, better working conditions, and more secure retirements
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5. Learning time beyond the regular school day (second shift, early start, summer programs)
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6. Opposing voucher systems that shifts money from public to private or religious schools
x
7. Protecting seniority, continuing, and tenure track educators
College Tuition/Student Debt. In this increasingly competitive global economy, the value of higher education for the future prosperity of our nation is getting even more important. However, the costs are so prohibitive that many of our brightest minds are unable afford access to college. It is more likely that a rich kid in the bottom quarter of his class will attend college than a poor kid in the top quarter of hers. How can we best encourage the youngest generation to attain higher education and how can we help with the existing student debt crisis (which is worse than credit card and auto loan debt)? Check all that apply:
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1. Public Funding of all tuition, books, and housing. Stipends for living expenses
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2. Public Funding of Tuition for every student at public universities
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3. Public Funding of Tuition for students whose household income is under $125,000 per year
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4. Expanding Pell and State Grants, more Work Study opportunities
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5. Debt forgiveness for all or most student loans
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6. Stop the federal government from making a profit on student loans
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7. Allow Americans to refinance student loans at today's low interest rates
2016 Presidential Endorsements. Did you endorse or support a Presidential candidate before the 2016 Minnesota Caucuses, if so, who, when, and why?

I helped both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders before the 2016 Minnesota Caucuses. In my work at the Minnesota Nurses Association, we were among the first to endorse Bernie and I called over 500 Minnesotans before the caucuses on behalf of the nurses. I worked with Hillary when I served as a U.S. diplomat and was president of the LGBT employee association at the State Department and supported her positions on international LGBT rights and the rights of LGBT families working for the U.S. Government. I supported her in the Caucuses and the General Election. I would rather either of them instead of the current disastrous President.

Thank you for participating in this questionnaire for Our Revolution MN. In the space below, please add any questions, clarifications, or comments that were not covered.

As Our Revolution members know, we win elections by campaigning on our progressive values. For far too long, Democrats have reluctant to boldly communicate our ideals. We have suffered for this, and the country’s progress has been delayed because of this. We must stand up and fight for what we believe in – that’s the only way we can build communities that serve us all. That means Single Payer healthcare and removing the profit-motivated insurance companies from healthcare, the wealthy paying their fair share of taxes, and much greater investments in education (early childhood, K-12, AND higher education), transportation/transit/infrastructure, renewable energy, rural broadband, and economic security.

On the Wealth Inequality question, box 2, I want to clarify that I especially want to ensure tax effectiveness: making sure corporations and wealthy individuals are actually paying their fair share of taxes versus writing off everything they can to make their effective tax rate zero.