Radinovich says health care, jobs are top priorities in District 8
BEMIDJI -- A common topic Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Joe Radinovich hears on the campaign trail is a concern over health care. "What we're hearing a lot of right now are the same things. People are generally feeling that the economy outwar...
BEMIDJI -- A common topic Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Joe Radinovich hears on the campaign trail is a concern over health care.
“What we’re hearing a lot of right now are the same things. People are generally feeling that the economy outwardly looks alright, but that there are a lot of underlying problems,” Radinovich told the Pioneer. “One of them is that people are having a difficult time affording health care and they’re worried about being able to afford prescription drugs.”
The candidate for Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District spoke with the Pioneer on Monday following a campaign meet-and-greet with District 2A DFL candidate Michael Northbird in Bemidji.
Radinovich said he’s an advocate for a single payer health care system.
“That’s the vision, that’s where we need to go in this country,” Radinovich said. “Too many of our health care dollars in our country go to insurance executives, advertising and lobbyists. The Medicare system operates at about 5 percent overhead while private insurance operates between 13 and 18 percent overhead. For all that extra money, what are we getting? I don’t think there’s a good justification for that.”
In addition to health care, another topic on Radinovich’s radar this election season is the future of mining in the Iron Range, located in the Eighth District.
“I come from a family where the first three generations in this country were miners. I realize the economic benefits these jobs can bring,” Radinovich, from Crosby, said. “But, I also recognize that there’s a potential environmental impact. It’s the job of government, in my mind, to be able to fairly evaluate these projects and determine if they can be done safely. If they can’t, then they shouldn’t move forward.”
If new mining projects are approved, Radinovich said he advocates for financial assurances to hold companies accountable for any environmental impacts.
“I look at this problem and see it from a different perspective than a lot of people do,” Radinovich said. “The No. 1 issue facing this district, and working people across the country, is mechanization. It’s misplaced a lot of them. A concrete example is that in 1980, there were 14,500 iron miners in the Range producing 40 million tons of iron ore. In 2015, they still produce the same amount, but it takes 4,000 miners.
“We’re more productive than we were in the past, but working people aren’t seeing the gains of that productivity,” Radinovich said. “What we really need to do is not cater to corporate special interests, but instead fight to make sure that we have affordable health care and that schools in the district have access to the best teachers and opportunities because I think that’s how economies are grown.”
Radinovich is facing Republican St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber and Independence Party candidate Ray Sandman for the District 8 seat in the Nov. 6 General Election.