Senate District 18: Twyla Ring calls healthcare a major issue

Admitting that some of her supporters were more confident of her winning the primary than she was, Twyla Ring, 62, handily defeated her opponents in a crowded field to become the DFL candidate for Senate in District 18.

Urged by the family of the late Sen. Janet Johnson to seek office, Ring said she doesn’t fee qualified to fill the late senator’s shoes but can certainly follow her path.

She did reflect on her standing among the DFL primary candidates, she said.

“And I thought I was qualified, and if elected will serve well,” she said.

Dating her DFL involvement back to the days of Eugene McCarthy, Ring cited a number of issues she sees as important to the district.

One such issue is healthcare — a big issue, she said.

“I think the ‘M’ in HMO does not stand for management and does not stand for medicine. It stands for money,” said Ring.

Looking to education, Ring said she believes the graduation standards incorporated into the Profile of Learning should not be thrown out, though the Profile needs improving.

“As the system has been put into place the last two or three years, we’ve seen a lack of local control,” said Ring.

Besides the excessive paperwork, the school districts across the state are not on equal footing in terms of resources able to implement the Profile.

And what works in one school district won’t necessarily work in another, she said.

“So the whole process of the system is very frustrating to all concerned,” said Ring.

In general, education in Minnesota is in very good shape. Labeling it otherwise is “a bad rap,” she said.

“I think public education is the cornerstone of the country,” she said.

Another big issue for the district is transportation, said Ring. It’s high on her list of things affecting seniors, and critical to the effort of getting people off public assistance and into the job force.

You have to be able to get to a job in order to have one.

“So I will be a steadfast supporter of public transportation. I think we have to look outside the box at all forms of public transportation,” said Ring.

Property taxes are always high on her agenda, said Ring. Property taxes, commercial tax bases, and school funding all form a kind of circle, she said.

Although she wouldn’t want the state to wholly fund education — she’d fear a parade of mandates — Ring would like to see the state take over a larger share of educational funding in an equitable manner statewide, she said.

This would help keep the farmers on their farms, families and senior citizens in their homes.

The development of a proposed technology center along the interstate would also serve to bolster the tax base, keep people near home, and should be pursued, she said.

Ring also wants to see the vehicle registration tab tax lowered.

On other issues, Ring believes:

•Chisago Project: There’s no need for the powerline. There’s been no demonstration of need. “That project is not going through my county,” she said.

•Green Corridor Project: Favors the project, saying people are confusing it with some government grab at property development rights. It’s not. It’s all voluntary, she said.

•Development: Area is growing too fast. Further, the growth has caused the price of land to skyrocket. Farmers are going to need more property tax relief to keep their fields, she said.

•Abortion: Pro Choice. Doesn’t believe the issue should be dealt with legislatively.

•Stadium: Not a penny for a stadium. Questions whether building a stadium would actually benefit the host city, but if a city wants, finance it.

•Commuter/light rail: Would consider all forms of transportation. It might be necessary to subsidize rail transportation, but highways are subsidized too.

Thinking of traits that make her the best choice for the voters, Ring said one of her greatest aspects is the 21 years she spent in the newspaper business.

“If any of these candidates have been at more meetings of school boards, town boards, county boards, local meetings, I’d like to know who it is,” said Ring.

“I feel I have my finger on the pulse of the regional issues more than any of them,” she said.

Ring considers herself a consensus builder, saying “I have no ax to grind.”

She recently retired as editor of the Post Review, a weekly newspaper serving the communities of North Branch and Rush City and surrounding areas.