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Schneider, residents discuss issues

By Staff | Oct 26, 2018

Dem-NPL House candidate Mac Schneider (center right) visits with area residents Monday afternoon at the Coffee Cottage in Rugby.

Healthcare, trade and polarized politics were among many topics between a North Dakota Congressional hopeful and attendees of a coffee with a candidate forum Monday afternoon at the Coffee Cottage in Rugby.

Democratic-NPL Party candidate Mac Schneider is challenging Republican candidate Kelly Armstrong and Independent candidate Charles Tuttle for North Dakota’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

On the issue of trade, Schneider said the Trump Administration had “correctly” identified the problem of China breaking rules with regards to currency manipulation and intellectual property rights. However, Schneider said he disagreed with “putting farmers on the front lines” of a trade war.

“[I’m] not willing to trade North Dakota farmers to benefit Apple,” said Schneider.

Heart of America Medical Center CEO Patrick Branco and area resident Joel Braaten asked Schneider for his thoughts on Medicare for All, a form of single-payer healthcare. Schneider said he was in favor of plans that increase choice for consumers and plans that would allow seniors 55 and older to “buy in” to Medicare. Schneider also said the U.S. should figure out how to build on what people like and cover more people.

Schneider also said he was not in favor of a Texas lawsuit to eliminate provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Jen Brossart and Amy Casavant discussed healthcare for their sons, Sawyer, and Pierce, respectively. Brossart said people “hear numbers” but don’t “see faces” with regards to healthcare figures. Casavant said that at one point four families from Rugby were on the same floor of the Ronald McDonald House at the same time.

“It could happen to any of us,” said Schneider, “let’s insure all of us.”

When the topic turned to politics, Schneider said some of the “saddest” conversations he had were from people who said they didn’t go to coffee shops anymore due to not wanting to discuss politics.

Branco said the days of compromise were “weakened.”

Rugby resident Elsie Davidson said for the first time ever she had voted straight party lines because she thought that party would accomplish what meant the most to her.

“I think we need a course correction. I really do,” said Schneider.

Area resident Christie Jaeger voiced concerns about higher education. Schneider said state budget cuts impacted colleges and universities within the state university system and that there needs to be an investment in education at all levels.

“At the end of the day the most valuable resource is our people,” said Schneider.

Schneider represented District 42 (which includes the University of North Dakota campus and parts of northern Grand Forks) in the state Senate from 2009 to 2016. From 2013 to 2016 he was the Senate Minority Leader. Schneider graduated from UND in 2002 with a history degree and from Georgetown University with a law degree in 2008.

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