Senate District 2

Paul Utke.
Paul Utke.
Sen. Paul Utke (GOP): (incumbent)

  • Name/Age: Paul Utke, Age 63

  • Spouse/Children: Nancy Utke and we have two adult daughters

  • Hometown: Park Rapids

  • HS/College: Graduate of Enderlin High School in N.D., and North Dakota State College of Science

  • Occupation: Insurance Agent, Certified Legal Video Specialist and Commercial property landlord.

  • Past political experience: Currently 4 years in the Minnesota Senate, previously 7 years Park Rapids City Council.

1. If you were in charge, how would you handle the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota?

First, I would bring in numerous healthcare professionals to get the facts of what we are dealing with. Along with the healthcare professions I would have leaders from around the state participate in the process. Whether it is COVID-19 or any other major challenge, it is not good to have a single source making all of the decisions like we currently have. A good leader brings in the best and brightest to craft policies that are good for all.

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2. What are some changes, if any, you would make concerning policing in Minnesota?

Our police do a wonderful job. Have there been bad incidents, yes but they have a very tough job in todays society when people do not respect the uniform as they should. Because of all the additional challenges our society creates for our police, our police need our support more than ever. I will work to provide the tools and resources our law enforcement departments need to be successful in their mission to protect all of us.

3. What are your funding priorities at the state level? Why?

My funding priorities are that we create a balanced budget for the upcoming biennium without putting additional burdens on the backs of our taxpayers. We are taxed enough already so we must work within our means.

4. What are your views on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline? Why are you right?

The Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Pipeline project must be approved, and the work started ASAP. This project has been studied for more than five years, had the Route Permit and Environmental Impact Study approved three separate times, plus it is the most environmentally prudent thing to do. This project replaces a pipeline that is over 60 years old.

5. How do you view the current state of politics in the state of Minnesota and nationally? What would you do, if anything, to change it?

I just wish the efforts brought forth were to benefit the citizens of our country rather than to benefit a select group of people or to try and capture votes. We only hear about the bad things or sound bites that do not represent the truth and we rarely hear about the good thing that are taking place. Our nation and our state have had many great things take place in the past 3-1/2 years but all that we hear and talk about are the negatives. Prior to March 2020 our state had a large budget surplus, our state and nation had record low unemployment rates, manufacturing was coming back to the United States, trade was improving and much more. We can definitely return to the pre-March 2020 economy, but we need people that are willing to work hard for the common goal of what is best for our all of our citizens. Vote Paul Utke.

Leonard Alan Roy
Leonard Alan Roy
Leonard Alan Roy (DFL):

  • Name/Age: Leonard Alan Roy, 36

  • Spouse/Children: Henny Roy, 3 children

  • Hometown: Ogema

  • HS/College: Detroit Lakes High School/University of Minnesota

  • Occupation: Secretary/Treasurer, Army Reservist

  • Past political experience: The White House, Congress, Tribal Council, Tribal Executive Committee, Tribal Interior Budget Council, MN Legislature, County and Municipal

1. If you were in charge, how would you handle the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota?

We have learned more about the pandemic now than when it first arrived. The emergency powers arrangement between the Governor and the Senate needs to be revisited. Minnesotans need clear and concise leadership that works together for the health and welfare of everyone. With the President and other high-level officials being infected by the virus, each of us needs to take personal responsibility for our safety and health. Regular consultation with health experts is needed to make the best determination of next steps.

2. What are some changes, if any, you would make concerning policing in Minnesota?

I do not support defunding the police. We need to support our law enforcement officers and provide them with the tools and training necessary to be successful. Law enforcement is largely a local issue where urban issues are not necessarily the same as greater Minnesota. Taking another look at community policing models, community wellness officers, and Public Law 280 funding for Tribal law enforcement can assist with Senate District 2 issues. This will require additional funding rather than defunding the very people that protect us. As an Indigenous person that has experienced racism, I know and understand that it exists in Minnesota—and we need to address it proactively and as needed.

3. What are your funding priorities at the state level? Why?

The pandemic and state shutdown has hit our business community hard. We need to rebuild our economy and prioritize legislation that will directly support our employers and workers so they can pay their bills and take care of their families. As someone that is endorsed by several construction unions, I fully support the bonding bill which will assist with business. We also need to prioritize health care due to the pandemic, and I support more funding for the education system as our educators and families face an unprecedented challenge of distance learning, hybrid models, and in-person education.

4. What are your views on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline? Why are you right?

According to Winona LaDuke, who has not entirely researched my Tribal voting record as Secretary/Treasurer or track record at the Tribal Executive Committee where I have the strongest record on the environment, she has implied and concluded that I support replacing the unsafe existing pipeline, because I do not entirely agree with her organization and its views. She also wants me to stand for the next economy—which sounds “cool,” but I need more details. This division is unfortunate, but it should not step in the way of progress. Since before I was elected, the White Earth Tribal Council has disapproved of the project and that position remains. I passed the Rights of Manoomin (Wild Rice) Ordinance that calls for clean water and protects wild rice—the very law that is often cited and recognized as trailblazing. My leadership in the Senate will be to serve as a bridge between workers and the environment, listen to all parties, and to make an informed decision. My disagreement with Ms. LaDuke will not prevent me from listening to all sides.

Line 3 has been approved by MN agencies and it is currently being reviewed by the courts. My opponent nor myself has any authority over the court or it’s decisions. The legal authority to approve or deny the project rests with Minnesota’s Independent Public Utilities Commission and courts. If or ever the project is approved, according to project supporters, prevailing wages will be provided and American workers will be put back to work during one of America’s worst economic catastrophes in modern history. Supporters also state that the replacement of the pipeline will provide a safer delivery of product, provide greater environmental protections, and provide local workforce training for workers in the area.

I have clearly and consistently stated that human trafficking, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, renewable energy, environmental social justice towards Tribal Communities, and emergency response capacity in local communities all need support and development. For this project, my position and views on the Tribal Council and for the Senate remains unchanged until these issues are addressed.

As an alternative, perhaps the principle behind the project could make significant investments in the “next economy.” I could stand behind building the next economy but to honestly believe that a complete switch from legacy energy to renewable will happen overnight is a fallacy. It will take time and that is where my support will go for the next economy. Market shifts take time, money and political courage.

5. How do you view the current state of politics in the state of Minnesota and nationally? What would you do, if anything, to change it?

We are too divided. As a moderate Democrat, I believe that we need to sit down and talk through our issues. I also avoid swinging to the extremes of policy issues so that I can make an informed decision that will benefit the people I serve. Unfortunately, leadership in the state and nationally have polarized the electorate too much. To change this, I will make an absolute effort to work across the aisle so that everyone’s voice is heard and represented. The system we live in requires discussion. I will represent all voices, not just one segment of the population.

Senate District 4

Kent Eken
Kent Eken
Sen. Kent Eken (DFL): (incumbent)

  • Name/Age: Kent Eken, 56 years old

  • Spouse/Children: Wife (Lori), Children (Kara 27, Samuel 23, Amber 18, Adam 16)

  • Hometown: Twin Valley, MN

  • HS/College: Twin Valley High School; BA in Political Science from Concordia College, Moorhead; MA in History from St. Cloud State University

  • Occupation: Teacher/Farm Worker

  • Past political experience: State Representative and State Senator

1. If you were in charge, how would you handle the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota?

I feel we need to work with legislators and local leaders throughout the state to develop a regional approach to addressing the pandemic that takes into consideration the different situations faced in different parts of the state. The metro driven (one size fits all) approach does not fit Greater Minnesota. We are not the Twin Cities and we should not be treated as such. The state should also provide the resources necessary to ensure there are adequate supplies of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), ICU beds, ventilators, and tests. We also need to ensure our businesses, local communities, and workers are provided with the support and resources needed to get through this difficult time.

2. What are some changes, if any, you would make concerning policing in Minnesota?

I think we first need to acknowledge the critically important role police play in public safety and our quality of life. It is unfortunate that the focus has simply been on the negative stories and almost nothing about the outstanding service police officers provide to our communities and our citizens on a daily basis. The vast majority of law enforcement officers are doing great work under very difficult and often dangerous circumstances. They need to be recognized and compensated for their incredibly valuable work and service. I am vehemently opposed to defunding or cutting the police and will strongly fight against any such efforts. In fact, I feel we need to invest more into law enforcement in order to attract and retain the best officers and develop the highest quality law enforcement in the country. We also need to provide more support to law enforcement through greater investment in mental health services. Our police officers are often called upon to deal with mental health crisis situations because the state is not doing enough to deal with these issues in a proactive way. Police are being asked to take on more than they should because of this lack of action by the state.

I do believe there are things we can and should do in the area of law enforcement reform including better training, but any such reforms need to include the input from those who work in law enforcement. I also believe we should not develop policy for the whole state based on things that are happening in Minneapolis. It is a much different situation in Greater Minnesota and this needs to be taken into consideration whenever we develop policy at the state level. As I mentioned in the first question, we need a regional approach and more local control. Our police in Greater Minnesota are much more connected to the communities they serve than those in Minneapolis and it shows in the top quality service and protection they provide to our communities.

I am honored to have received the endorsement of the Minnesota Peace and Police Officers Association which represents law enforcement officers all across the state. I will be a strong advocate for top quality law enforcement.

3. What are your funding priorities at the state level? Why?

I have introduced a constitutional amendment to create a dedicated fund to provide long term care for our most vulnerable citizens including senior citizens who are facing serious health issues and people with disabilities. The demand and need for these services is growing fast because people are living longer and because many in the baby boom generation are fast approaching the years when many of them will need these services. A much larger percentage of our population are in their senior years than at any other time in world history. We are facing demographic changes the likes of which have never been seen and we need to prepare for this. I feel strongly that we owe it to our seniors who have given us so much to ensure they receive the good quality care they deserve when they need it.

I also feel strongly that we need to invest in education at the state level to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential no matter where they live (whether in the metro area or Greater Minnesota) and no matter what the financial position of their families (whether rich or poor). This will pay big dividends and increase the quality of life for everyone across the state because those who receive this educational opportunity will contribute more back to our state. The best investment we can make is in our people and their education.

We also need to invest more in our healthcare system to ensure everyone has access to good quality affordable health care. I support allowing individuals the option of buying into the Minnesota Care insurance program. This would provide an affordable option for many who would otherwise not be able to afford good health care insurance. I also feel we should invest more into public health programs like the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) which focuses on prevention of illness and maintaining good health. It is much more cost effective to prevent illness than to treat it. It also greatly improves quality of life to prevent illness.

Funding for roads and bridges is also critical for our economic success and our quality of life. I will support the increase in funding necessary to maintain and improve our transportation system in Greater Minnesota. I will advocate for a stable, long term, and constitutionally dedicated source of funding that benefits Greater Minnesota communities most.

4. What are your views on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline? Why are you right?

I support the replacement of Line 3. It received regulatory approval from the Minnesota PUC and would replace an aging pipeline and I believe the pipeline is a safer way to transport the oil than by rail.

5. How do you view the current state of politics in the state of Minnesota and nationally? What would you do, if anything, to change it?

I am concerned about the bitter partisanship that has poisoned the political environment in Washington DC and is also seeping into our state’s political environment. We need to turn the volume down on the rhetoric and stop yelling at each other. We need to start listening to each other more in order to find the common ground necessary to move forward. I am a member of the Civility Caucus in the legislature which is a bipartisan and bicameral group of legislators. It’s purpose is to create an environment in which political compromise is possible. Unfortunately, many today seem to think compromise is a negative thing that is the equivalent of surrender. The fact is compromise is absolutely essential for a democracy to function. Our U.S. Constitution was the product of compromise. Our country’s very foundation was built on compromise and our future as a democracy depends on it. Compromise requires that we listen to each other and find common ground. I will continue working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to avoid the gridlock that has been so damaging to our country and state.



Mark Larson
Mark Larson
Mark Larson (GOP):

  • Name/Age: Mark Larson, 38

  • Spouse/Children: Spouse: Amy Larson, Kids: Paul, Preston, and Josie

  • Hometown: Hawley, MN

  • HS/College: --

  • Occupation: self employed

  • Past political experience: --

1. If you were in charge, how would you handle the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota?

Mandatory Masks and gloves immediately when Covid first was announced. And, I believe the state should have supplied proper PPE to everyone.

2. What are some changes, if any, you would make concerning policing in Minnesota?

Get them more funding to battle terrorism, racism and riots. I support the police. As long as they're doing their job to the best of their ability with no racism.

3. What are your funding priorities at the state level? Why?

To battle child exploitation and human trafficking. Education and teacher work force. Infrastructure, and a reform vehicle tax and farm tax.

4. What are your views on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline? Why are you right?

Line 3 is a wonderful thing, as soon as line 3 gets built they're going to decommission another line that's old and that has problems. People need to remember we need oil we need gas. We need to stop importing when we have so much oil right here and the amount of jobs it will create.

5. How do you view the current state of politics in the state of Minnesota and nationally? What would you do, if anything, to change it?

I cannot stand when somebody does a good job, and people don't respect it. My father once told me whether you like the president or not he is still our president you respect him and show him respect no matter what side of the fence you're on.

House District 2B

State Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston
State Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston

Rep. Steve Green (GOP): (incumbent)

  • Name/Age: Steve Green, 60
  • Spouse/Children: Wife: Cindy, 6 grown children
  • Hometown: Fosston
  • HS/College: DLAVTI
  • Occupation: Contractor
  • Past political experience: Served on the local Township Board as well as the Minnesota Association of Townships. Served as a State Representative since elected in 2012

1. If you were in charge, how would you handle the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota?

The First days of the virus were uncertain. Allowing hospitals to prepare was proper. However, continuing the lockdown and emergency powers removed the checks and balances of the Legislature.

It took away the voice of Minnesotans. This should never have happened.

We knew early on the virus affected seniors and those with health problems more.

The practice of moving Covid positive patients to long term care facilities should have never been allowed to continue. Lock downs and shutdowns could have been implemented differently based on positive cases in different regions of the State.

2. What are some changes, if any, you would make concerning policing in Minnesota?

If changes need to be made to the policing policies, they should be done based on the needs of an area. Incidents that need to be addressed will be addressed for the safety of all parties involved. This includes the safety of the police.

Every day officers walk into potentially dangerous situations. No one seems to be talking about the lives that are saved because Men and Women choose put on the uniform to protect us.

3. What are your funding priorities at the state level? Why?

The coming session will present some challenges. The Governors shut down has left Minnesota an uncertain future.

We are entering a year of deficits that will likely reach to over $5 billion. Many main street businesses have suffered. Our attention in the next session must turn to policies that will no longer hinder job growth.

  • I would like to see at least 5% reductions in state agencies across the board.
  • I would also encourage local governments and School districts provide suggestions on what the State could do to relieve costly regulations. At least until we see an economic recovery.

4. What are your views on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline? Why are you right?

Enbridge line 3 needs to move forward as soon as possible. It has undergone extensive scrutiny. The Governors PUC agreed it needs to be completed.

The Governors Dept. of Commerce stopped progress, throwing more sand in the gears.

Not the best use of tax dollars, and another example of the lack of leadership we have witnessed from this administration.

It is the safest way to move oil. It will relieve over stressed rail lines. The old line is deficient.

It will create thousands of good paying jobs. And bring millions in revenue to our State for years to come.

5. How do you view the current state of politics in the state of Minnesota and nationally? What would you do, if anything, to change it?

Minnesota Politics mirrors the nation. Divided Government is polarized by ideology. The lines are clearly defined.

The Republican party supports the Constitution. The Democrat party, by their own admission has embraced Socialism.

Turn out in this election will determine the path ahead. By the time this goes to print, we will be roughly 30 days from the election. It is time to unite under the banner of our Constitution.



David Suby
David Suby

  • Name/Age: David Suby, 70
  • Spouse/Children: Wife: Sally (49 years), Children: two accomplished daughters who are both doctors and three fun grandchildren.
  • Hometown: Pickerel Lake, which is NE of Detroit Lakes
  • HS/College: University of Minnesota and graduated with a degree in chemistry
  • Occupation: I started and operated a concrete contracting business which I ran for 43 years.
  • Past political experience: I have never sought public office, but strongly felt that the incumbent representative should not run unopposed and am concerned about the many unaddressed and unmet needs in District 2B.

1. If you were in charge, how would you handle the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota?

I have a degree in chemistry from the University of MN. With that background, I believe in science and facts. I would rely heavily on epidemiologists, public health specialists, and historical data. Their knowledge would not be discredited. We now know that carefully planned pandemic guidelines must be followed by everyone. This requires a strong, decisive, yet empathetic leader who with confidence and clarity guides and educates the public at every step and ensures that the guidelines are backed up by all state, county, and city leaders. This is no time for partisan politics. I believe in prevention. For the future, a pandemic committee should be formed in the legislature to have a plan in place for the next crisis. Hospitals, police, fire departments, manufacturing plants, transportation system officials, food distributors, etc. need to be part of this planning. We cannot be caught again, without proper procedures at the ready.

2. What are some changes, if any, you would make concerning policing in Minnesota?

The relationships between the police and the public needed to be reshaped. It needs to break away from the us vs. them culture. Without reform we cannot prevent future deaths like that of George Floyd. The ban on chokeholds and “warrior-style” training, additional training on autism, crisis, resources for managing stress, and a duty to intervene when an officer sees a colleague acting inappropriately are part of the new legislation. Legislation still needs to include what will the penalties be for officers who are found at fault and how to deal with communities that have been impacted by police brutality. Police unions, while protecting police officer rights, could also be helpful in educating the public about the job of policing and they could help to set moral and professional standards for officers. The good news is in the legislature, votes on police reform were overwhelmingly bi-partisan.

3. What are your funding priorities at the state level? Why?

Lack of child care and housing, inadequate broadband which affect education and jobs, a shortage of skilled workers and infrastructure needs remain the biggest barriers to economic growth in Greater Minnesota, so these would be my funding priorities. All of these are even more concerning with the impact of the virus. The bonding bill has been held up by Republicans because they don't want the Governor to have emergency powers. Reaching a compromise is the first hurdle to get the bonding bill funds working in our state. Being in the legislature is all about compromise. The passage of the bonding bill will create over 27,000 shovel ready jobs.

4. What are your views on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline? Why are you right?

I want to support the District 2B workers who would gain 6 - 9 months of pipeline work through Enbridge. All the major investment companies and large banks in the world are divesting themselves of fossil fuel investments. Even the three largest oil companies are pulling out of the Alberta tar sands area. BP is not investing in oil exploration anymore. The writing is on the wall. The future is in renewable energy. The passage of the bonding bill would have provided these workers with much needed construction jobs. We have a chance to be a leader as the nation transitions to renewable, cleaner energy. We are already building the infrastructure for solar and wind energy. With forward thinking, workers can be trained for the jobs in renewable energy. This is where the legislature can be ready with funding to help with the transition. This can be a net job gain instead of a job loss.

5. How do you view the current state of politics in the state of Minnesota and nationally? What would you do, if anything, to change it?

In 2016 my life-long feeling of the security I had always felt living in America slowly unraveled. I watched the long respect for our constitution and the historical reverence and honor for the highest offices in the land disintegrate. We all witnessed the trickle-down of outrageous disrespect for institutions and the fabricated conspiracy theories reach our own District 2B.

The good news is I have talked with so many wonderful, thoughtful, caring people who want the best for our towns and rural communities. They are busy planning and organizing with purpose and passion. The people in our district are strong and resilient. We have a choice. We can fight against ourselves with partisan politics or solve our problems together. We have examples in our history to guide us and with good leaders and firm guidance we will see this through.

House District 4B

Paul Marquart
Paul Marquart
(incumbent)

  • Name/Age: Paul Marquart, 63

  • Spouse/Children: Wife: Colleen, married 39 years. Children: Lindsey, married to Grant, with two children Addison (7) and Lincoln (2) and Ashley, married to Andrew, with one child Hadlyn (1 month).

  • Hometown: Dilworth

  • HS/College: North Dakota State School of Science, Univ. of North Dakota, Tri-College University at Moorhead

  • Occupation: Social Studies Teacher at DGF High School

  • Past political experience: Former Mayor of Dilworth, State Representative

1. If you were in charge, how would you handle the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota?

We need to strike a smart balance between the safety and health of our at risk residents while assuring that we protect jobs, businesses and schools from extended shutdowns and overregulation. The state needs to make investments to build up our capacity to fight this pandemic and future ones in terms of ICU beds, personal protection equipment, ventilators and testing. It’s important to take a regional approach when addressing personal safety and economic concerns. A “one size fits all” approach does not work for the entire state.

2. What are some changes, if any, you would make concerning policing in Minnesota?

First, I’m proud to be endorsed by law enforcement in this race. The most important role the government provides in our lives is keeping citizens safe in their homes and neighborhoods. We need to assure that our law enforcement officers are supported and fully funded to provide this important service. Recent legislation provided common-sense accountability measures for police departments that will allow law enforcement to better serve their residents. I pledge if re-elected I will continue to go to bat for our police in rural Minnesota because they keep us safe in our neighborhoods, businesses and schools.

3. What are your funding priorities at the state level? Why?

My top funding priorities are education, healthcare, job creation and property tax relief. Education provides Minnesota the well-trained and qualified workforce that we are known for around the country. Our businesses need more investments in the trades and manufacturing to create a robust rural economy. Healthcare funding would assure that families, farmers and small business owners would have access to affordable and high quality healthcare coverage. Property tax relief, through increases in Local Government Aid and targeted refunds, would provide needed tax cuts for families, senior citizens, farmers and small businesses.

4. What are your views on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline? Why are you right?

The replacement of Enbridge Line 3 pipeline should be completed. It’s safer to transport oil by pipeline than by railroad or highways. While I support continuing to move towards more renewal fuels, we simply do not have the energy supply today to meet existing demands without the use of fossil fuels. The project will provide many good paying jobs that rural Minnesota needs right now.

5. How do you view the current state of politics in the state of Minnesota and nationally? What would you do, if anything, to change it?

Politics have become way too partisan. That is why I always work to be an independent and a common-sense voice for my constituents. The Pioneer Press did an analysis of how legislator’s in Minnesota have voted and said I was one of the few legislators to work with both political parties. Providing real results that improve people’s lives is much more important than trying to make political points. I am sick and tired of the attack ads financed by Twin Cities big monied interests during recent campaigns. I think everyone has had enough of the onslaught of negative ads that keep us from the important issues that matter to us all.



Brian Anderson
Brian Anderson
Brian Anderson (GOP):

  • Name/Age: Brian Anderson, 42

  • Spouse/Children: --

  • Hometown: Detroit Lakes

  • HS/College: St. Cloud Tech High School

  • Occupation: Arvig- Fiber Optic Technician

  • Past political experience: None

1. If you were in charge, how would you handle the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota?

We are currently at the point where we are beyond an emergency. We know where the numbers are. We need to get our businesses opened back up so they can operate without relying on a hand out from the government. Schools need to be educating in person. Children learn best in person where the teacher can better guide them through learning. There is a lot more that children learn in school beyond the book that they aren't always getting at home.

2. What are some changes, if any, you would make concerning policing in Minnesota?

I think there is always some room for improvement in any organization. We could look at some additional training for the law enforcement as well as for the general public. Being questioned or confronted by a law enforcement officer can be an intimidating experience and knowing what to do can make everything easier for the public and the officer. I think our law enforcement officers in our district already do a great job.

3. What are your funding priorities at the state level? Why?

--

4. What are your views on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline? Why are you right?

The replacement of Line 3 will have many impacts on our State. It is expected to bring 8,000 jobs and boost the local economies. Enbridge will also increase their property taxes in the state by around $5 million. They would be increasing the size of the pipe from 34" to 36". The safety of the pipeline is critical, with the new pipeline and upgrades to the system it could provide safe oil travel through our state for may years to come.

5. How do you view the current state of politics in the state of Minnesota and nationally? What would you do, if anything, to change it?

What would you do, if anything, to change it? Our current state of politics in Minnesota is broken right now. We elected people into office for a reason, to do their job. With the governor seizing those powers away from our elected officials and not allowing them to represent us, it takes away our vote. It is beyond the time for him to continue to use his executive powers and allow our state to return to normal operations.