Election 2020: US Representative, District 4

This is the St. Paul congressional seat currently held by Betty McCollum. The tl;dr is that I think you should vote for Betty McCollum.

On the ballot:

Betty McCollum (DFL)
Gene Rechtzigel (Republican)
Susan Sindt (Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis)

Betty McCollum

Betty McCollum is your basic normal Democrat. She’s fine. You can go read what I said about her in the primary if you want.

Susan Sindt

Susan Sindt ran in 2016 and 2018 but this is the first year she has a website. Also, she switched from Legal Marijuana Now to Grassroots. She’s definitely more of a weed socialist than a weed libertarian; her website has an issues list that includes single-payer health care and tuition-free college. (Each issue is a link, which led me to expect a somewhat more complete statement about her ideas on the topic, but the link just reloads the page.) She’s a former teacher and has been involved in marijuana legalization activism since the 1990s so she’s definitely not one of the stealth Republicans. I see no particular reason to vote for her; if you want to send a message to Betty McCollum about supporting single-payer health care, I would suggest writing her a letter.

Gene Rechtzigel

I linked to the Gene Rechtzigel website that’s linked from the ballot page on the voter information portal but he actually seems to have set up a separate page since winning the primary, which you can find here.

The City Pages dug through his website and found some pretty hilarious examples of Gene being a vintage crank (noting, “In the age of widespread disinformation campaigns like QAnon, it’s almost refreshing to hear from a good old-fashioned solitary crank like Gene.”) To the stuff they found, I will add:

  • He wants to repeal the 17th amendment (which allows for states to hold elections to determine their US Senators — rather than having the legislature do it). He calls the 17th amendment “unconstitutional,” which is an excellent argument for the mandatory Civics class my 11th grader is currently taking.
  • In response to the question “what makes you the best candidate for the job?” he wrote: “God has shown Gene Rechtzigel the vision of Equal Justice under the law of God’s Grace in providing equality, prosperity, and liberty with happiness to all joining (voting) together as one united this November 3rd, 2020, as the power of the Holy Spirit of God unlocks all the blessings God has awaiting us all who in Faith step forth and vote for God’s servant, Gene Rechtzigel, at your precinct voting location in Minnesota Congressional District 4, November 3rd, 2020 in claiming all the blessing’s God will grant us all in victory, Amen.” FYI, on his site, that’s all underlined, bolded, and blue.
  • After calling for the repeal of the 17th amendment he goes on to say: “Former Speaker Boehner, without God’s Spirit leading him, is a political zombie, being tossed like a ship without a rudder, drifting with winds of Lucifer, into the deadly spider’s web of Lucifer’s Financial Domain = Lucifer’s FEDERAL RESERVE wants TO KEEP the 19 Trillion National Debt SKY-ROCKETING OUT-OF-CONTROL, with unending No-win wars! Without the FEDERAL RESERVE BEING ABOLISHED, THERE WILL NEVER BE A BALANCED BUDGET AND THE PAYING OFF OF THE NATIONAL DEBT, BUT ONLY Lucifer’s FEDERAL RESERVE PLAN OF DEEPENING THE DARKNESS OF GROWING FINANCIAL DESTRUCTION!”

But, okay, unlike the Republican Party as a whole he specifically has a 2020 Platform so let me tackle that, because (surprisingly) it’s more coherent than the rest of his site.

First, he wants to pay homeschooling parents $18,400/year. I’m not sure he’s thought about the incentives he’s creating — is that per kid? Can you rake in $100K/year if you have and then “home-educate” six kids? Would there be any sort of standards — like, what if the parents are not able to do basic algebra, but think that’s fine, kids don’t need to know math anyway, can they still teach their high school kids and get this money? Is he worried at all about people deciding to “homeschool” and just parking their kids in front of video games all day because they’d like $18,400/year?

He thinks prayer in schools is the solution to crime; curious how he explains the fact that crime has been in steady decline since the 1990s. He’s not actually a fan of local control: “Gene Rechtzigel, after being elected, will author/promote a crime bill that will give all Congress members the authority to activate national guard and secure the area of their congressional district when state/local governments fail their duty and responsibility to protect the lives, property, and welfare of all the people to be safe and secure in their community.”

It’s his health care plan (“Genecare”) that really caught my eye, though, because a full decade after the ACA was passed, the Republicans still hate the ACA and still don’t have a plan of their own. Maybe they could adopt Gene’s? Here it is, cleaned up a bit:

  1. You get — from the government, I think? — a $4,800 voucher that you can use for whatever sort of medical care you like. You can use this for preventive care, you can use this for traditional Chinese medicine, whatever. If you don’t spend it, the money accumulates.
  2. You buy (and I think in his head this is optional) insurance coverage from the provider of your choice that covers $4,800 to $79,000 in costs.
  3. After $79,000 of health care expenses in a fiscal year, the government takes over costs, and your voucher card turns into a Medicare card until the end of that year.

I am really curious if this is an existing plan that he customized in some way, or if he came up with it himself. The amounts given are really specific. But, this means that your health care plan is never going to be out more than $74,200. I’ve gotta say, I would in fact expect health insurance to be a lot cheaper if their maximum out-of-pocket is $74,200. There are a lot of questions I’d want answered if someone rolled this out (like, are insurers allowed to gouge people with expensive health conditions? how are we funding this, because it’s a huge additional outlay of money from the federal government, so who are we taxing to cover the costs? is dental care covered? eye care? hearing aids?) but overall I look at this and think, “I’d take that.”

I’d kind of prefer to pass on the rest of his ideas, though, and Betty’s “let’s have a decent public option” approach also works for me. Still: Republicans! Look, it’s a Republican with a health care plan never mind that it’s a whopping $74,200 annually per citizen away from fully socialized medicine, look at how it emphasizes choice! and freedom! (Or you could really own the libs by passing Medicare for All.)

I am totally voting for Betty.

If you’ve read all the way to the bottom: I took the time to look over on Donors Choose for some Minneapolis public school teachers who could use some financial help during These Difficult Times and in particularly with distance learning. The three small projects I found have ALL FUNDED, hurray! But the big one still has a long way to go:

Ms. Stone is a teacher at Cityview Elementary in North Minneapolis. She will be teaching third graders this year, and to help them succeed with distance learning, she is requesting a set of Chromebooks for her class. To equip this class of children with the basic technology they will need for distance learning will require another $6,874 to be raised by October 3rd. Can my readers raise that much? If not, can they at least get it to within sight of the finish line so a corporation or foundation will be inspired to swoop in and match our donations? I think it’s worth trying.

(I don’t have a patreon or a ko-fi but I take a lot of satisfaction from seeing projects fund after I point people at them. Please donate!)

2 thoughts on “Election 2020: US Representative, District 4

  1. Betty has lost my vote (not that it matters), so I had to re-read this to see if the Weed candidate was an acceptable protest vote…. seems like yes. Otherwise I might have written you in 😉

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