Senate Candidates Discuss Trump Tariffs at Farmfest

August 07, 2018 11:06 PM

Five U.S. Senate candidates debated at Farmfest near Redwood Falls Tuesday in what has become a political rite of passage for Minnesota politicians. 

The unique thing about the Farmfest candidate forums is that Republicans and Democrats debate each other before primary winners have been decided.


Although Farmfest started Tuesday with heavy rainfall that soon turned the grounds into puddles of mud, there wasn't much mudslinging between the candidates.

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During the forum, some of the DFL candidates went after President Donald Trump

"President Trump has been reckless," Democrat Richard Painter said. 

Painter took part in the forum with fellow Democrats Tina Smith and Nick Leonard, along with Republicans Karin Housley and Bob Anderson.


Many in the crowd of 200 farmers and others involved in agribusiness were interested in where the candidates stand on trade and tariffs.

"What's the plan here?" Sen. Tina Smith asked. "How are we going to get out of this endless round of disputes and into a permanent solution that goes beyond a $12 billion Band-Aid."

Smith was referring to President Trump's plan to provide relief to farmers and others hurt by the trade battles.

"This trade war has been an unmitigated disaster," Painter said. "We've seen trade wars before conducted by a Republican administration. It was an administration of President Herbert Hoover with the Smoot-Hawley Tariffs. It lead to a depression that lasted for 10 years."

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Housley said as a member of the president's party she'd have a "direct line" to the Trump administration.

"Being on the same team when issues come up, I've already done this once already," Housley said. "I've gone straight to his administration to say, you know what, people here in Minnesota aren't happy with what you said or how things are going. So when it comes to the trade issue, we've gotta be patient and hopefully the president can get this done sooner rather than later to ease the anxiety that's happening."

The candidates also debated everything from health insurance to renewable energy sources like ethanol.



Tom Hauser

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