Go Vote.

Edda Bortel-Fielder, Staff Writer

Election season is upon us. Though the 2022 state election places many candidates on the ballot, the epicenter of debate is around the gubernatorial race between Republican Dr. Scott Jensen and Democrat Tim Walz. 

As inflation soars, crime rates go up, Minnesota schools struggle to stay afloat, bans against abortion loom and the candidates remain opposed to one another on virtually every issue. 

Walz, the incumbent governor, is a former Minnesota school teacher and member of the National Guard. According to his website, he runs on an economic policy of “cutting taxes while balancing the budget”. He believes in equal opportunity for Minnesota students, ensuring Minnesotans feel safe in communities while also advancing aspects of police reform, and assuring that “an abortion ban will never become law under [his] watch.”

The conservative group “Walz Failed” claims that he is not tough enough on crime and that his administration’s COVID-19 transmission prevention procedures were simultaneously excessive and ineffective. 

Dr. Jensen, a practicing physician, is running with a stronger focus on the current inflation issue. On his website, he said he wants to “fund kids, not broken institutions” with a focus on “parental rights.” In terms of crime, his plan revolves around harsher penalties for felonies, as well as bringing in armed state patrol officers to regulate “high crime areas.” Lastly, Jensen’s claimed stance on abortion is to “protect the sanctity of human life” by advocating against already illegal “late-term” and “partial-birth” abortions.

However, many videos have surfaced of Jensen and his running mate, Matt Birk, explicitly stating they would try to ban abortion when elected to office. In an interview with WCCO in May 2022, Jensen said “I want Minnesota to be a pro-life state, so any legislation that would come to my desk, I would sign it to reduce or eliminate abortions”. When asked whether he would provide exceptions for rape or incest, he said “unless the mother’s life is in danger.”

As of early October, Walz maintains his steady four point lead above Jensen according to polls. 

For many students at Minnetonka High School, this will be their first chance to vote. Alexandra Zedania, ‘23, said “It feels odd that I now have a route to insert my beliefs and what I think would be best for the public.” She says she feels lucky to vote, and that “voting may also be a privilege in a way,” due to the fact that “people with a history of being marginalized by their own governments choose not to vote because of the lack of existing representation they deserve.” Aside from voting, she believes “that being generally politically active in other ways is just as important.”

         Laura Mortenson, the Communications Manager at Minnesota Council of Nonprofits in St. Paul, concerns herself with the way the government will manage the whopping nine billion dollar budget incoming in 2023. As a voter, she asserts that “It’s essential that we protect people’s rights to have the healthcare they need when they need it, that means bodily autonomy and abortion rights.” Her message to Minnetonka students is: “This is your voice, your chance to ensure that the people who are making policy decisions that will impact you and your community every single day reflect the values that you hold.”

                 To the students of Minnetonka high school, do not be intimidated or dismiss the importance of voting. As American politician Christine Todd Whitman once said, “anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never tried to fall asleep with a mosquito in the room”. Be that mosquito in the ears of the politicians who represent us, and never let them forget you’re there.