Gubernatorial candidates St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, State Rep. Tina Liebling and State Rep. Erin Murphy — all DFLers — met with the CGMC Board of Directors on Nov. 15 or Nov. 16 in Alexandria, the first in a series of planned meetings with candidates running for governor. Several other candidates are scheduled to meet with the board at upcoming meetings in December and January.

To help the candidates prepare, CGMC staff sent them our “Elections 2018” information packet about the issues important to CGMC members including LGA, economic development, transportation, environmental regulations and annexation. At the meetings, CGMC Executive Director Bradley Peterson asked the candidates a series of questions on these topics before turning it over to the board for additional questions.

Mayor Coleman touted his experience in local government, noting his 12 years as mayor of St. Paul and six years on the City Council, as well as his involvement with non-partisan organizations like the National League of Cities. He emphasized the importance of “investing in our communities” through things like LGA and funding for local roads and other infrastructure. He said he wants to “stand with [the CGMC] on LGA” and supports an inflationary increase. He also expressed support for raising the gas tax to fund transportation needs. When asked about environmental regulations, Coleman said the state should not impose regulations that are financially impossible for cities to meet and said the state needs to give cities more resources to comply with standards.

Rep. Liebling, a seven-term legislator from Rochester, said she is running for governor because she believes “politics should be about improving people’s lives” and wants to help “ordinary Minnesotans.” She noted that she has supported LGA as a legislator and appreciates its role in preventing extremes (in terms of wealthy vs. poor communities) in our state. She expressed frustration at the “dishonest” way Minnesota does its budget because the state does not currently factor in inflation, and said that she would do so if elected governor. Other priorities for Rep. Liebling included health care, education and economic development as a priority, particularly providing more resources for cities to upgrade their broadband infrastructure. When it comes to environmental regulations, she said she would like to see the state take the cost burden off the property taxpayers and also look for alternative ways to meet standards rather than a “one size fits all” approach.

Rep. Murphy, a six-term legislator from St. Paul, stressed her passion for public service and her desire to build our state’s future by developing long-term solutions. When discussing her budget priorities, Rep. Murphy said she would “fully fund LGA,” and that schools and health care are also at the top of her list. She expressed concern about the rising costs that cities face, particularly in regard to health insurance and water infrastructure. She said she would make water infrastructure a top bonding priority and that she supports raising the gas tax to fund transportation. Rep. Murphy also said that if elected, she would work closely with city leaders to develop to environmental regulations and other policies that affect cities.

You can learn more about the candidates and their priorities at their campaign websites: