Barr, Richardson prioritize health care in House District 52B race

After winning the open House District 52B seat in 2016, Regina Barr, Republican, is now running for re-election against Ruth Richardson, DFL. 

The district covers portions or all of Eagan, Mendota Heights, Inver Grove Heights and Sunfish Lake.

The Review asked the candidates via email why they are running, what skills and experiences they will bring to the office, what they believe to be the top challenges the district faces, and what issues or projects they would prioritize if elected.

 

Regina Barr, who did not provide her age, lives in Inver Grove Heights with her husband Kevin and is finishing her first, two-year term serving District 52B. Barr is a business owner, consultant, and has a master’s degree from Adelphi University in business with a concentration in marketing and a master’s degree in human development from St. Mary’s University. 

Barr said the skills she would bring with her if re-elected include being a hard worker, problem solver, strong communication, empathetic listener and relationship-builder. 

She said she is proud of the work accomplished during her first term, “I voted to pass the largest tax cut in 20 years, I worked on reforms to help reduce health care costs, and — one that I’m very proud of — I fought to ensure our schools were fully funded and received their fair share of education spending.” 

However, she said there is still work to be done, and the representatives need to work across the aisle. Barr added she is proud to say she has an 83.5 percent bipartisan voting record and is a member of the Civility Caucus. 

“If re-elected, I will continue fighting for our community and work hard to make sure that our community is a great place to live, work and raise a family,” Barr said.

Barr said while out door-knocking, she met many residents and business owners who are concerned with the direction the state has taken. She added the economy, jobs, aging workforce and preparing children for jobs of the future are areas that need focus and attention.

She said the number one issue she heard about was affordable health care.

Barr added other challenges include shortages or working in certain industries and an aging population.

If re-elected, Barr said she would continue to focus on “delivering affordable health care along with protecting our most vulnerable citizens because these issues are directly related.” She said she would continue to work on reducing double-digit premiums while making sure there is funding to protect seniors and vulnerable adults in long-term care facilities. 

“I will continue to support efforts to increase pricing transparency and improve access. And, I will continue to work to add funding for mental health centers and resources dedicated to helping children and other Minnesotans dealing with mental health issues and the opioid crisis,” Barr said.

 

Ruth Richardson, 42, lives in Mendota Heights and works as the director of programs and national strategic initiatives for the Minnesota Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  She has a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law. 

Richardson said she has experience as a business attorney and providing “technical assistance and support to small, minority, and women-owned business.” She added she has experience overseeing a health care clinic, “delivering crisis intervention training to corrections and law enforcement,” and in disability rights and support. 

Richardson said she is a professional problem-solver and has worked in senior leadership positions in a variety of sectors.

“My run for office is an extension of work that I have been doing behind the scenes in our community for almost two decades,” Richardson said, adding she has worked as part of bipartisan collaboration to help pass legislation relating to homeless veterans, people with disabilities, social workers, paraprofessionals in schools, people with disabilities and women with substance use disorders. “I am motivated to run for office because we need leaders that can stand up and work across the political aisles to get things done.”

Richardson said she and her campaign have knocked on over 21,000 doors over the last few months and she has found a number of concerns that constituents share. She said families are worried about accessibility to care and the rising cost of health care.

“Parents want to ensure our children are safe at school and in the community. There is a lot of worry about crushing college debt.  Many families are working hard, but still struggle to make ends meet,” Richardson said.

She added other concerns include safe water, protecting seniors from financial scams and elder abuse. 

If elected, Richardson said health care would be a priority. 

“We need to ensure that everyone in our community has the opportunity to make the choices to live a long, healthy life. It’s imperative that we ensure families have access to affordable and quality health care services to achieve the most optimal physical and mental health,” Richardson said. 

 

Election day is Nov. 6. To find your polling place visit pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.

 

-Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or hburlingame@lillienews.com

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