House District 43A candidates discuss district challenges

On Election Day, the State House District 43A seat will be defended by incumbent Peter Fischer, DFL, against GOP candidate Robert “Bob” Cardinal, a former Maplewood mayor. 

District 43A includes Maplewood precincts 1-9, White Bear Lake precincts 3-5, Mahtomedi and Willernie.

The Review asked the candidates via email why they are running, what they believe the top challenges will be in the district in upcoming years and what project they will prioritize if elected.


Cardinal, 66, lives in Maplewood with his wife Sharon Cardinal and works full-time in the business services department of Calhoun Companies. 

He holds a liberal arts degree from the University of St. Thomas, and said that if he is elected, he will bring to office the skills and experiences he gained while serving as the mayor of Maplewood from 1999 to 2005. He said he will also bring his experiences gained while on the Ramsey County Board of Appeal and Equalization, the Ramsey County Citizens Advisory Council and the St. Paul City Business Council.

Cardinal said he is running for election to pursue truth, citing a need to improve test scores in Minnesota schools and reduce the state’s achievement gap. He also said he is running because he does not support taking away health insurance from people with pre-existing conditions and because Fischer supports the adoption of a single-player health care system.

When responding to a question about the top challenges the district faces, Cardinal said, “Schools are changing because of open enrollment; public schools, charter schools and private schools, all face new challenges that create a need for more resources to educate students. This all entails the fact, tax dollars follow the student except to private schools.”

He added, “Over 1 in 5 Minnesotans have a mental illness. Many youth and adults with mental illnesses are ending up in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Far too many people with mental illnesses are not receiving the treatment they need.”

Cardinal said that if elected, he would prioritize education, including early childhood, K-12 and higher education, and healthcare.

“Our leaders must first learn to identify the true problems facing the state. I would welcome the opportunity to serve,” Cardinal said.


Fischer, 60, who lives in Maplewood with his wife Kristi Fischer, is finishing up his third two-year term as state representative. 

He works full time as the director of finance operations at Avenues for Homeless Youth and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas.

Fischer said that if re-elected, he would bring to office “over 20 years of experience in bringing people together to help solve issues that the community has faced.” He added he also has “a very strong business and finance background from over 35 years of running and managing small service-oriented businesses.”

“The last 11 years I have spent working as the director of finance and operations of a homeless youth shelter in North Minneapolis, where I helped bring financial stability and turn them around to be successful,” he said. “This gives me proven experience of working together to solve problems that face us, while keeping things in a business prospective.”

Fischer said he is running for re-election to continue serving on the Legislative Water Commission that he helped re-establish to address local and state-wide water issues. 

He also said he is running to, “Continue to work in a bi-partisian way to address the issues facing our local communities, whether it is issues around firefighter pensions, issues impacting our local businesses or issues impacting our environment.”

According to Fischer, the top challenges the district faces includes the cost of education, affordable health care, living wages for personal care attendants and protection of water resources.

He said that if elected, he would prioritize “protecting and using our water resources in a sustainable way” and providing funding for all-day bus service throughout the area.


Election Day is Nov. 6. To verify your voting location visit,


-Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or

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