MARSHALL (KMHL) – What should be done about the state’s increasing crime rate – especially in the metro area – was a key issue during the House District 15A debate last night at Southwest Minnesota State University. Representative Chris Swedzinski proposes a minimum 10-year sentence for those convicted of car jacking. “…instead of having a revolving door where these kids aren’t being held accountable, aren’t being held. I mean, they said literally you could run from a cop, high speed, cause an accident and the prosecutors aren’t going to hold you for more than three hours and you’re back on the street. That’s not how you solve a crime problem,” Swedzinki said.

His opponent, DFL candidate Keith VanOverbeke, says he agrees for tougher sentences for adults convicted of violent crimes, but says more needs to be done to help the kids committing many of those crimes.  “…and yes you to be very tough on the criminals that are bringing in the drugs, that are selling the drugs, that are profiting from the drugs, but you have to have some compassion for these young people coming up in these broken homes, broken communities, and figure out another way to transition them to more positive lives. Part of that is solving some of those school problems, and community problems, and activity problems,” VanOverbeke said.

Senator Gary Dahms and DFL candidate Anita Gaul were also at the Candidate’s Forum. Another key issue, abortion was brought up. Senator Gary Dahms said the legislature can’t change the abortion law in Minnesota anyway, and thinks issues like inflation, education and crime should be getting more attention. “So why are we making this such a big issue in Minnesota? Because the DFL Governor and all the other DFL’ers, they don’t want to face the music of what they’ve done in the last four years to the State of Minnesota, the position they’ve put us in. And so let’s keep talking about abortion, when, whoever gets in, is not going to make a change in abortion because you can’t do it legislatively right now in the State of Minnesota,” Dahms said.

His opponent, DFL candidate Anita Gaul says it’s a big deal to women in the state. “And we have a Gubernatorial candidate who has pledged to sign abortion bans into law if they come to his desk, even in the cases of rape and incest. That’s why it’s a big deal, because half of the population got stripped of their consti-, what they thought was a constitutional right this summer. And now, now we’re upset,” Gaul said.

Last night’s candidate’s forum was sponsored by the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce.