There are three candidates running for Minnesotas 4th U.S. House; Democrat, Betty McCollum; Republican, Linda Runbeck; and Independent, Tom Foley. The issues at hand are; Healthcare, prescription drugs, and education.

Betty McCollum graduated with a B.S. degree out of Cathrine College. She taught grade school and was a sales manager for twenty- five years up until her political career began in 1986. She served on St. Pauls City Council from1986 through 1992. In 1992 Betty was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and was the only legislator to defeat two incumbents in a single year. Her Legislative accomplishments include the passing of Minnesotas most comprehensive school bus safety laws and two constitutional amendments which; a) allows citizens to recall elected officials for wrong doing , b) provides bonuses to veterans of the Persian Gulf War. She currently serves on the Mississippi Parkway Commission, a ten state joint commission to protect the environment.

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Betty McCollum wants to invest over half of non-social security surplus to insure a long-term solvency of Medicare that can be extended to prescription drugs and other medical necessities for seniors and people with disabilities as a means of getting quality, affordable health care. She also wants to hold drug companies accountable drug pricing policies in order to make prescription drugs more available for seniors. Finally McCollum wants to reduce class size improve teacher quality, modernize school buildings and expand available technology to better education.

Republican, Linda Runbeck graduated Bethel College with a B.A. in sociology/ social work. Her political career consists of being the state senator in district 53, from 1993 to the present; state representative 52A from 1989- 1992; and council member of City of Circle Pines from 1984- 1987. Her professional career began as a caseworker for Ramsy County social servicesbetween1968-69. Later, Runbeck was an advertising executive for County Seat Stores & Dahlberg Inc., and owned a Miracle Ear franchise from1991-1995. Today she is the co- owner of Braham Monument Co.
McCollum supports state standards on local school implementation and encourages a zero tolerance for violence within the schools. Also, she wants to allow kids to transfer school districts if their current school is too dangerous. McCollum wants to make the government less influential in health care. She feels through individual responsibility in the form of co- pays and deductibles. She supports Minnesotas Senior Prescription Drug Program, which offers financial help to senior living on a fixed income and whose said income largely goes to prescription drugs. Also, McCollum wants to allow people to invest their Social Security moneys into places where it has potential for greater return.

Former Democrat now Independent, Tom Foley holds both Bachelors and Law degrees from the University of Minnesota. He was Director of the Washington D.C. Office of Governor Jesse Ventura. In September 1995, Foley was appointed by President Clinton to serve as a Commissioner to the National Indian Gaming Commission. He is a partner in the St. Paul, Minnesota law firm JOHNSON HAMILTON QUIGLEY TWAIT & FOLEY PLC, which focuses on Administrative Law, Indian Gaming & Economic Development matters and Governmental Affairs. He served four terms as Ramsey County Attorney in St. Paul. He is backed by Independent Governor Jesse Ventura, which could either promote or hurt his campaign due to Venturas decline in popularity.

Tom Foley has an Action Plan to better education. Some key points within this plan are to increase accountability performance and consequences for failures, push schools toward a 12/12 schedule, bonus pay to teachers based on the improvements they bring their students, creating higher education incentives, and give non-college bound high school graduates a skill development option. He believes that Medicare should be modernized to provide better benefits (especially for prescription drugs). Through a system of competing choices, patterned after the health benefits available to federal employees, will allow Medicare beneficiaries to save money for themselves and taxpayers, as well as enhancing benefits. He wants to give tax credits for the purchase of insurance for long-term health care encouraging more private insurance.

This race has national significance because Minnesota’s 4th District is one of a handful of places where third-party candidates are influencing congressional politics this year. This race appears to be the only one where a third-party candidate might win. Also the major party nominees, Democrat Betty McCollum and Republican Linda Runbeck would be the first woman elected to Congress from the state since 1954. Former incumbent Democrat Bruce Vento had been diagnosed with cancer and was going to step down from office but was killed in a plane crash the day before the first Presidential debate. Ironically, the debate was held in Minnesota.

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