Questions to

Ask the Candidates

Here are questions to ask candidates running for local office in your community. We've included background information to help you better understand these issues. Occasions to connect with your local candidates will look different this year, but we encourage you to seek opportunities to determine if your candidates share your conservation values. 

Find out who’s running for local offices in your community, enter your voting address at the Secretary of State’s website.

Clean Energy—Jobs & Cleaner Air

While Minnesota’s clean energy revolution is already underway, we need to improve policies to capture all the benefits the transition to 100% clean energy will bring. Minnesota’s economy currently supports over 61,000 clean energy jobs, and the sector has huge growth potential. Yet more needs to be done to protect air quality for all, including addressing those disproportionately affected by unclean air. Ask candidates where they stand on clean energy :

  • Will you invest in affordable and reliable wind, solar, and other clean energy projects?
  • Do you support improving energy conservation and efficiency policies?
  • Do you approve of Xcel Energy and other utilities’ economic stimulus plans to frontload clean energy and infrastructure investments?
  • Do you support implementing Clean Cars MN and a Clean Fuels Standard?

Clean Water 2050

Today, 56% of Minnesota’s lakes and streams don’t meet water quality standards. Drinking water polluted with nitrogen and other contaminants impacts a growing number of communities. Minnesota should set a clear goal to have all of our waters meet quality standards by the year 2050. To learn more about candidates’ views on water, you might ask:

  • Will you fully implement plans to protect drinking water sources?
  • Will you fund water infrastructure improvement projects?
  • Do you support expanding participation in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program?
  • Do you support the innovation of new water treatment technologies and cropping systems that prevent pollution?

Protect & Expand Natural Resources

Minnesota natural resources should be supplemented by the constitutionally dedicated funding from the Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) and the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment. Unfortunately, in the past, the legislature has attempted to raid these funds. Ask candidates about funding natural resources: 

  • Will you permanently protect ENRTF proceeds from future raids?
  • Do you support restructuring lottery funding to provide additional resources that address historic inequities in access to safe drinking water, pollution prevention, and parks and natural areas?
  • How will you broaden the stakeholders who benefit from and care about constitutionally dedicated funding?

Less Waste, More Jobs

Recycling and waste reduction conserve energy, save money, prevent pollution, and support over 37,000 Minnesota jobs. Innovative businesses in Minnesota are doing more to create a circular economy—reusing existing products for new purposes to keep them out of our waste stream. Ask candidates about waste policies:

  • Do you support creating recyclable and compostable packaging from agriculture and forest products?
  • Will you work to incentivize compostable packaging and the collection of on-the-go containers?
  • Do you support turning remaining waste into energy with a goal of phasing out costly and polluting landfills?
  • Will you vote to direct all proceeds of our solid waste tax to support local waste reduction and recycling programs?

Equitable Communities & Healthy Families

In a state with some of the worst racial disparities in the country, some residents are disparately impacted by pollution and do not have the same opportunities to benefit from time in nature. Communities of color, indigenous communities, and under-resourced communities often bear the most impacts from air and water pollution. Ask candidates questions about their commitment to equity and health, such as: 

  • Will you work to remove remaining lead drinking water pipes? No level of lead exposure is safe.
  • How will you protect lower income communities from paying higher prices for safe drinking water and wastewater treatment?
  • Do you support preventing pollution from mining and agriculture operations that make local sources of drinking water unsafe?
  • Will you work to ensure equal, safe access to enjoy open spaces and nature in all communities and throughout our park systems?