Senator Candidate Comparison

It is difficult to jump back and forth between the candidates websites to compare their values. This is why we asked the candidates to summarize their positions on different issues. To find out more, visit their websites. Amy Klobuchar’s campaign did not participate, so we filled in the available statements from her website instead.

NameTina SmithRichard PainterAmy Klobuchar
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Websitewww.tinaforminnesota.comwww.Painterminnesota.comwww.klobuchar.senate.gov
Self-descriptionI am a lifelong progressive who has spent my life working with Minnesotans to solve problems – always with the best interests of all Minnesotans at heart.Richard Painter is a Law Professor and former White House chief ethics counsel running for the United States Senate in Minnesota.Amy is one of the most effective members of Congress. She doesn’t back down from a fight, but works across the aisle. She goes to all 87 counties in Minnesota every year and focuses on getting results for the people of Minnesota.
AchievementsI have spent my life working with Minnesotans to solve problems – this has been my priority as a small business owner, Vice President of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, Lt. Governor and United States Senator. Co-chair for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which has challenged the illegal and unconstitutional actions of the Trump administration. Wrote books on campaign finance reform and financial regulation.Passed bi-partisan legislation to end human trafficking, to combat the opioid epidemic. Fought to pass consumer product safety legislation, keeping foreign toxic products off our shores.
BackgroundI started a small business, served as an executive at Planned Parenthood Minnesota, was Chief of Staff to Mayor Rybak and Governor Dayton and served as Lt. Governor of Minnesota. Served in the Senate since January 2018.Corporate ethics, business ethics, campaign finance reform. Daughter of a newspaperman and a teacher. Grew up in Minnesota. Graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School. County attorney for 8 years. Senator since 2007.
ISSUES
AgricultureI am working to pass a Farm Bill that prioritizes Minnesota farmers and invests in farm-to-table programs; including strong safety net programs for those dealing with low commodity prices, and keeping nutrition assistance programs.Richard opposes Trump’s dangerous trade war which would crush American agriculture.  He supports tax policy that helps put small scale and organic farming back in business.Minnesota's 73,000 farms represent a proud part of our state's heritage, history and economy. We are the nation's fifth largest agricultural producing state, and our farmers contribute nearly $21 billion/year to Minnesota's economy.
Civil rightsWe need to defend the progress that’s been made for LGBTQ equality and fight the injustices that still exist for too many LGBTQ Americans. Discrimination on any basis is categorically unamerican and should not be tolerated in housing, law enforcement, education, workplace, or anywhere else.not available
EconomyI am working toward a diverse economy that works for everyone so that businesses grow and workers get better jobs and better pay. I championed raising the minimum wage in Minnesota, and support expanding paid family and medical leave.Richard supports an economy that looks out for the middle class. Minnesotans believe in hard work, fair play, and personal responsibility. We believe that everyone who works hard, can achieve their dreams, give education to your children, and have security in their later years.
EducationEvery student deserves a strong public education. I have fought to establish all-day kindergarten in Minnesota, and am working to allow people to refinance their student loans and reduce the burden of student debt.Reduce the cronyism in the charter school system and increase funding for public schools.We must work to ensure access for all to early education, to (STEM) classes, to apprenticeships, training and credential programs, to community and technical colleges, four-year universities, and beyond.
EnvironmentI am fighting to protect our land, water, and air, while working with innovative, clean energy businesses to grow jobs. I support the Paris Agreement to fight climate change and I am a champion for growing Minnesota’s clean energy economy. Richard will be an aggressive advocate for the environment and opposes all copper-nickel mining in Minnesota. He also supports a carbon tax to fight climate change.We must commit ourselves to protecting our environment and preserving our natural resources for generations to come. We also need to chart a new energy future to respond to the challenges of global climate change.
Government debtThe federal government must be fiscally responsible. I believe it is the height of fiscal irresponsibility for the Republicans to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut tilted to the wealthy – while saddling our children and grandchildren with unsustainable debt.Government debt is an ever-increasing burden on our children and grandchildren.  Balancing the federal budget without touching social programs will be a high priority for Richard in the United States Senate. not available
Gun ViolenceNow is the time to pass much-needed gun reforms. I am the cosponsor of bills to expand background checks and to ban the sale of bump stocks, assault weapons, and high-capacity magazines. I never have and will never take money from the NRA.Richard has been a vocal critic of the NRA and politicians beholden to their influence. He supports common sense gun control measures, including much stronger background checks.not available
Health CareEvery Minnesota family deserves high-quality health care they can afford. My first bill helps lower the cost of prescription medicine by fixing a loophole that big drug companies use to keep affordable generic drugs off the market.Richard supports a single-payer healthcare system.Quality health care is a very personal matter to families all across our state. We must continue working to ensure all Minnesotans have access to the high-quality healthcare they need and deserve.
ImmigrationI stand with immigrant communities and will fight to protect Dreamers and create a pathway to citizenship.Sensible immigration laws including a path to citizenship for DACA must be implemented.  This cannot wait as our president continues to attack our immigrant communities.not available
InfrastructureWe need to invest in infrastructure to build the future we need, and ensure that these investments - from water infrastructure to roads, bridges, and rural broadband - is equitable and prioritizes the communities who can least afford to adapt and invest.Richard supports federal infrastructure projects that make sure Minnesota is given a fair shake.  Rural infrastructure is a major concern as we work to get our rural communities thriving again.not available
InternetAccess to reliable and affordable broadband is critical. I introduced a bill to expand broadband to areas not currently served. I’m also standing up for a free and fair internet and voted to restore net neutrality protections.Richard supports net neutrality. not available
Money in PoliticsIt’s time to end the system of unlimited dark money that is corrupting our elections. I support a Constitutional Amendment that would reverse the Citizens United decision and end the ridiculous influence of corporate money in politics.This is the most important issue that America faces today and the centerpiece of Richard’s campaign. We must get big money out of politics so that government puts people ahead of special interests.I believe ethics is something that must be woven into the very fabric of our government. Ethics goes to the heart of our American democracy - to the public trust and respect that is essential to the health of our Constitutional system.
NarcoticsI’m working with community leaders, health care professionals, and lawmakers to address the opioid crisis. I’m supporting a bill requiring prescription drug companies to pay a “penny-a-pill” and help fund treatment options.The drug war is a failure.  Richard supports policy that focuses on rehabilitation not incarceration. He supports medicinal marijuana and removing it from Schedule 1. Legalization is a states issue.not available
National SecurityI support a defense budget that gives our military the funds it needs to ensure every American is safe, and that troops have the resources and the pay they deserve to protect our county. Cyber security is a top national security concern.  Warfare of today means people behind desks, and not as many boots on the ground.  Protecting our nation from those who would do us harm is the first and most important responsibility of Congress. We must remain vigilant in deterring hostile nations and pursuing terrorist networks intent on bringing destruction.
PoliceI support our law enforcement and strong police-community relations. Also, I support a bill that makes sure public-sector employees, like police officers and firefighters, and their families receive full social security benefits.Body cameras and increased scrutiny on department targeting are just some of the ways we can help improve community law-enforcement relations in America.I served for eight years as the chief prosecutor for Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis and 45 suburbs. I know first-hand the vital role our law enforcement and public safety officers serve in keeping our citizens safe.
Senior CitizensI will protect and defend Medicare and Social Security so that Minnesotans can retire with dignity and the security they need to have a peaceful retirement. Single payer healthcare and adequate funding to Social Security are of paramount importance to help make sure America is keeping its promises to our older generation.With the number of Americans over age 65 set to double over the next 30 years, we must preserve and enhance the health care and retirement programs our seniors depend on and help families prepare for the demands of an aging population.
Small businessAs a former small business owner, I appreciate how essential small businesses are to our economy. I firmly believe that federal policy must not ignore small businesses while unduly benefiting big, powerful corporations and the wealthy.Common-sense policies such as single-payer healthcare and tax policy that looks out for small-business owners rather than large corporations.not available
TaxesI support tax reform that makes Minnesota families the priority, not huge giveaways to the rich and big corporations. Tax reform should prioritize providing relief for middle class Minnesotans. Richard supports a progressive tax-system that helps small-business owners and working Minnesota families.not available
VeteransVeterans make a selfless commitment to our country, and deserve the utmost respect when they return home. That is why I am working with Minnesota businesses so that they hire veterans, and pushing for timely access to quality health care.Veterans are tired of being pandered to with lip service and empty promises. Proposed budget cuts to programs for the men and women who served our country is a non-starter. If we must sacrifice to honor their sacrifice, then we will do it.I have always believed that when we ask our young men and women to fight in defense of our nation, we make a promise that we will give them the resources they need to do their jobs, and to take care of them when they return home.
Worker's rightsI support working together to strengthen the rights for unions to organize, collectively improve their working conditions and protect the pensions of hard working Minnesotans. Supporting unions and workers rights are vital to having a robust American economy. not available

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