Governor Debate Highlights Key Differences on Spending, Health Care

October 22, 2018 10:34 PM

The two major party candidates for Minnesota governor tangled over a wide range of issues in their final statewide televised debate of the 2018 campaign. Republican Jeff Johnson and Democrat Tim Walz disagreed over everything from spending to taxes to health care.

Johnson said Walz is promising billions in new spending without saying how he would pay for it, other than raising the gas tax to pay for highways, roads and bridges.


"I know the response to this is going to be, 'Well, Jeff doesn't want to spend as much money as I do so he doesn't care. He hates people,'" Johnson said in a debate Sunday night televised statewide on Hubbard Broadcasting stations in the Twin Cities, Duluth and Rochester.  "And I would argue just the opposite. I actually want our government programs to help people for crying out loud. I want them to be held accountable."

More from KSTP:

KSTP Day of Debates: Gubernatorial Candidates Walz and Johnson

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Walz said Johnson exaggerates the amount of new spending he proposes.

"Just saying it's rampant spending, that's fear-mongering." Walz responded, saying that spending money in some areas can often save money in other areas or create new revenue. "What we know is if I can keep someone from getting sick, or getting a preventable disease like diabetes, we save in the long run. And if we keep them working, we improve the tax base."

On health care, the two disagreed on the best approach. Walz said Johnson's plan to push the state toward more market-based health care insurance could jeopardize people with pre-existing conditions, including a young woman in the debate audience.

"If we move away from the current system and choose to go in the direction of this fantasy world of free-market in health care, Kelly will lose her health insurance and she is two years into her recovery from brain cancer," Walz said.


Johnson said Democrats continue to misrepresent his position on covering pre-existing conditions.

"That means making sure people who can't afford insurance actually get help so they can afford insurance and continuing to guarantee affordable coverage of those with pre-existing conditions, despite what the commercials on television will tell you," Johnson said.

The two candidates have just one more debate scheduled before Election Day.


Tom Hauser

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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