BURNSVILLE, Minn. — State Auditor Rebecca Otto held a town hall on education Monday night with congressional candidate Angie Craig and several education professionals.
Otto, a candidate for governor of Minnesota, spent a few minutes talking about her background and what she hoped to achieve if elected to the governor’s mansion.
“I will be an evidence based governor, in terms of policy and decision making,” Otto told the crowd. “It’s really important.”
Referring back to her time working in education, Otto claimed that it was education that led her to the governor’s race.
Otto talked about running for state representative during a special election in 2003, after teaching seventh grade for seven years, and years more as a stay-at-home mom and school board member.
“I had always said I would never get into politics,” Otto said of her initial run for state representative, but she said it was legislation for education funding that pushed her to run and win the race.
Otto beat current State Rep. Matt Dean, who is now a Republican candidate for governor, in the 2003 special election. She went on to lose the seat to Dean in the 2004 regular election.
At several points during the beginning of her talk, she consistently referenced “the politics of greed.”
“A lot of the politics that end up getting passed by the politics of greed end up running over our interests and the common good. The people’s interest and our values, 2018 will really be defined by the politics of greed versus the politics of people and the common good,” Otto said. “The politics of greed say all taxes are bad and need to be slashed. That all regulation is bad and must be repealed. That all government workers are bad and must be privatized – that’s our roads, our airports, and our schools. As your governor, no public funds are going to private schools.”
The privatization of schools, per Otto’s comment, references a push by House and Senate Republicans to pass school choice in Minnesota. As Alpha News reported, school choice would allow parents to receive a voucher to send their children to any school of their choosing.
“Minnesota has been a leader in education nationally,” Otto told the crowd.
In some aspects, Otto’s statement holds true. A 2017 WalletHub study found Minnesota to be ranked eighth in the nation for best community school system, whilst having the best community college in the nation – Leech Lake Tribal College.
Minnesota is one of several states in the nation leading in education with one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation. As Alpha News reported in 2016, Minnesota led the nation with the highest achievement gap when it came to science scores between white and black eighth grade students.
Otto also shared the floor with Angie Craig, who announced months ago that she would challenge sitting U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis a second time.
Craig, who lost by less 1.8 percent against Lewis in 2016, spoke of importance of education under the current administration telling the group, “I’m running for Congress in 2018 and I’m coming back to claim our seat.”