U.S. House candidates talk health care and environmental protection

Citizens in the 4th Congressional District will be seeing three candidates on their ballot in this year’s midterm. Incumbent Betty McCollum is being challenged by Republican Greg Ryan and Legal Marijuana Now candidate Susan Sindt.

The candidates answered questions via email including why they are running, what skills and experiences they will bring to office, what they believe to be the top challenges the district, state and country face and what issues or projects they would prioritize if elected. 

Ryan did not respond to the Review’s questionnaire.


McCollum, 64, is divorced and has served as a representative for the 4th Congressional District since 2001.

McCollum has a bachelor’s degree in political science and education from the College of St. Catherine. 

She said the skills and experience she would bring to office come from not only serving the 4th Congressional District, but also having served four terms representing Minnesota House District 55B, being a former North St. Paul City Council member, working in the private sector for 25 years and being the mother of two adult children.

“The experience I bring to decision making is critical to being an effective legislator and public servant,” McCollum said. “My goal is always to bring people together to solve problems and find policy solutions that will bring real benefits [for] our families, communities and businesses.”

McCollum said she is running for re-election to “put a check on President Trump, hold his administration accountable for the dangerous, disastrous, and backwards policies they are advancing, and, finally, use my position on the House Appropriations [Committee] to make responsible investments with federal dollars that will meet the needs of Minnesota families and all Americans.”

The top issues McCollum said she sees for Minnesotans include “keeping healthcare affordable and protect existing guarantees like coverage for pre-existing conditions from the constant attacks taking place by Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration.”

She added, “For seniors, I completely reject using Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to pay for Republican tax cuts benefiting the wealthiest Americans. There is a critical need to invest in infrastructure that will yield long-term benefits to families, communities, and our economy. This requires a federal-state-local partnership with far less partisanship and more focus on getting results.”

If re-elected, McCollum said the issues she would prioritize include environmental protection and combating climate change, keeping healthcare both affordable and high quality, and working to expand opportunities for post-secondary education to keep the workforce growing with less student loan debt. 


Sindt, 56, lives in Maplewood with her husband Craig. She is the owner and CEO of Simply Vapour, a nicotine vaping liquid manufacturer. She has a bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University in biological sciences. 

Sindt said the skills she would bring to office include being an “honest, compassionate, and motivating leader.” She said she is also persistent, patient and optimistic and “can often understand, simplify and explain complicated technical information.”

On why she’s running for office, Sindt said, “Minnesota is a non-initiative state, which means we do not have the constitutional right to petition our legislators to put a question on the ballot. However, we do have the right to petition to put a candidate on the ballot.”

She added, “We have collected enough signatures to guarantee a spot on the ballot this fall, and the name of the political party will be on the ballot along with the candidates’ name. A vote for a Legal Marijuana Now candidate is a vote for legal marijuana now, no question about it.”

Sindt said the challenges she sees the district, state and country facing includes properly funded schools and taking care of local infrastructure. She said the state should legalize marijuana for adult personal use and should “promote the cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes.”

She added that at the federal level, “we need universal healthcare, a fair and just legal system and very low cost, high quality education for all.” 

“Our government must stop regulating the personal lives of individual citizens and start protecting citizens rights to make personal decisions free of persecution,” Sindt said.

If elected, Sindt said the issues she would prioritize would include work to “protect our medical freedom and bring an end to the unconstitutional war on drug users.”

“I would like to remove insurance companies from their position between us and our healthcare and reign in prescription medication costs,” Sindt said. 

She added she would also prioritize protecting the environment and “ending our addiction to fossil fuel and expand our use of clean renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, tidal and geothermal energy.”


Election Day is Nov. 6. To find your polling place visit www.pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.


-Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com. Follow her on Twitter at @EastSideM_Otto.

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