Election 2020: O’Driscoll, Carollo in House District 13B
UNDATED -- Running for the Minnesota State Legislature in House District 13B are the incumbent Republican Tim O'Driscoll and the Democratic challenger Benjamin Carollo.
O'Driscoll is seeking a 6th term down in St. Paul.
Carollo used to be an intelligence analyst in the United States Air Force and is currently doing cybersecurity for the National Guard.
O'Driscoll has been a member of the elections committee in the state legislature for the past several years. He says he's not concerned about the state's current absentee ballot system right now, however he says he would be worried if the state went to an all mail-in ballot system due to COVID-19 concerns.
What the concern is, would the state then go to a full mail-in where the counties would send out ballots to everyone? Well, we've got a problem because we've got ballots that are coming and going right now. We've got ballots that would go to people that might not live at those addresses anymore, and that's where I would have some real angst.
O'Driscoll says the governor could potentially make that change if he continues to have his executive powers extended.
Carollo says generally speaking he is a deep skeptic of the use of executive powers. He is currently finishing up his master's degree in biosecurity and biodefense, and he says the legislature would benefit by having more people with his expertise.
Most of the biosecurity and biodefense field is a combination of preventing pandemic diseases, preventing bioterrorism, making sure the scientists that are doing research aren't putting people at risk. And then also focus on agriculture too, because pandemics and agriculture is a really big thing.
O'Driscoll says House and Senate Republicans are trying to work out an agreement with the Governor to end his executive powers.
People elect the governor, they also elect their local State Senator and their local House member, and they look to us when they have problems, because they don't pick up the phone and have a conversation with the governor as quickly as they would with their senator or house member, and so we feel that since we're the closest to the people we have a lot of valuable input to offer.
Carollo says one of the top issues he'd like to tackle if he gets elected is legalizing recreational marijuana.
Because I just think ultimately we have too many people right now who are sitting in prison and jail for nonviolent drug offenses and I think there are better things that we could do if our goal is to deal with the opioid epidemic and things like that and drug addiction in general.
Carollo also wants to work on the housing crisis and universal health care coverage for Minnesotans.
Carollo says he's supportive of having a broader range of professionals working with local police departments to more appropriateLY respond to community issues.
Things like nurses and social workers and things like that. Basically people who can engage with the community and deescalate situations without necessarily having to have a gun on them. That's going to be a more effective way to interact with the community.
O'Driscoll says during a recent special session the state legislature already passed some police reforms, but he cautions against overreacting.
I think we don't want to be like a pendulum swinging too far one way or too far the other way. There have been some commissions and committees that have been appointed that will start looking at these things. The last thing that a good cop wants is a bad cop working next to them.
You can vote by absentee ballot starting already Friday (9/18). The general election is Tuesday, November 3rd.