Only 4 days until the DFL endorsing convention for Minnesota District 63 convenes at South High School an March 24, 2018. I’m still trying to figure out which candidate will get my vote. It has not been an easy task, so I was glad that Emily Antin agreed to meet with me to discuss MN politics and the issues most important to me. Emily was the 3rd of the 5 (or is it 6?) DFL candidates for the 63B seat in the MN House. Because I have taken the initiative to reach out to the candidates on multiple occasions, those that failed to respond are going to have to work harder to get my vote. Thank you to Husniyah Dent Bradley, Leili Fatehi, and Emily Antin for taking the time and making the effort to earn my support. Other candidates take note, it is too late to make videos with me, but if you’re planning to stay in the race for the primary – get in touch.

Before we delve into Emily’s take on the issues, take a minute or so to listen to her introduce herself and explain why she is running for the MN House. Antin emphasizes 3 main issues, education, healthcare, and equality, but points out that these issues are intertwined with all other issues that will likely come before the MN Legislature.

One of the main issues I’m focused on in the 2018 election is Full Legalization of Cannabis. Emily, like the other candidates I’ve highlighted on New Hughes, supports the effort. It is encouraging that Antin also recognizes the need to address the records of those Minnesotans that have been, or are, serving time for cannabis-related offenses. This must be part of the legalization issue. It is the fair way to go about legalization because no one should be punished for doing something that is no longer illegal. It is also important because the war on drugs has predominantly targeted people of color, particularly black men. I appreciate Emily’s desire to reach out to law enforcement in an effort to bring them on-board with legalized cannabis, but I don’t think it will be successful. The main argument used by police against legal cannabis is the debunked idea that it is a gateway to other drugs and a life of crime. That argument needs to be shredded, not negotiated.

Another of my concerns is how to address the racial disparities in Minnesota. I’ve split Antin’s response into two clips. The first deals with the overarching disparities and the second addresses racial disparities in the context of the educational system, one of Emily’s main concerns. Pay attention to her comment between 49 and 60 seconds in the first clip. I was taken aback when Emily suggests that she cannot think of any specific laws that could be passed to address racial disparities, because “you can’t regulate people and how they treat other people.” That may well be true, but you can regulate how institutions and organizations treat people, and how resources are distributed. It was shocking to hear someone that worked to pass laws ensuring marriage equality for all people in Minnesota say that the same cannot be done to ensure racial equity in the state. Watch the clip and see what I mean.

When Antin spoke about racial disparities in the context of Minnesota education, as in the next clip, the argument implies that a free college education is the answer. Much as I like the idea of reducing the financial barriers to colleges and universities, I’m not convinced that simply providing access to educational institutions is the solution.

Emily’s response to my queries about how the MN Legislature can help to protect immigrants in the state from the over-reach of the central government and ICE was thoughtful. It is clear that she understands their plight. Her offer to initiate conversations with Federal representatives and pressure them to check the aggressive approach of the President is important. I also appreciate that Antin expressed support for immigrants, documented or otherwise, as critical to the economy and culture of Minnesota.

The last topic we covered was Emily’s take on the recent resignations at the state capitol for sexual harassment and assault.