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Pioneer Editorial: 'Minnesota Nice' needed in politics

Starting today, it's off to the races.

Tuesday's primary election served to set the final ballot for the Nov. 7 election, with a face-off between representatives of each partisan office and a simple face-to-face in non-partisan races.

It is our hope that as the smoke clears today, the campaign along the final stretch can focus on issues and on vision, not on personalities and sound bites.

At the highest end of the ticket, the race for U.S. Senate, we hope to hear solid plans for the future and what each candidate's solutions are to the federal deficit, the war in Iraq, the war on terrorism, balancing Social Security and Medicare, controlling health care costs, etc. We don't care to hear that one candidate is in President Bush's pocket because he votes 92 percent of the time with him, nor do we want a blow by blow of what Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean or Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy say and does the state party standard-bearer follow in lockstep. We can figure out for ourselves that one candidate will tend to vote one way, while we also know the other candidate wears the same stripe as Dean and Kennedy.

Mark Kennedy and Amy Klobuchar are individuals, too, and would bring Minnesota values to Washington, D.C. We want to know what those values are, and how they frame up on the issues. The campaign will be expensive, as control of the U.S. Senate may well be at stake. That's why we need to base our decision on who best represents Minnesota values, not what values we're supposed to embrace -- whether it be by the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee.

The ads will blister between now and Nov. 7, and we can only hope that they focus on the positive attributes each candidate brings to the job, not the horrible things the other candidate will do if we elect them.

And while we're at it, we hope the same can be said about other races down the ballot, such as the impending battle between Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Attorney General Mike Hatch, and to our local legislative races.

We seek a direction for Minnesota, and welcome a myriad of suggestions for education, health care, transportation, public safety and all the things we ask the state to do. We want to know what each candidate has to offer, not how much worse the state will be by electing the opponent.

To much of the nation, we're known as Minnesota Nice. We hope that continues this season into our politics.