Editorial: Marin is close, but Sparks is better pick

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sen. Dan Sparks speaks in generalities and points out the obvious. For instance, on the issue of health care he told us he believes plans need to be affordable. Certainly they do, but everyone agrees on that, right? He also said maybe a salary cap on executives for insurance companies is called for.

This is an election. Voters don&8217;t need maybes. They don&8217;t need generalities. They deserve answers. Yes or no. They need to know where candidates stand so they can compare. Sparks has the backing of the Minnesota Nurses Association and probably understands medical issues, so we fail to understand why he plays his cards close to the vest on that and other issues.

His District 27 opponent, George Marin, gives specific answers, often mixed with Christian commentary.

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He wants comprehensive reform of welfare, changes to immigration laws to keep illegal immigrants from tapping the health-care system, no Dream Act laws that encourage people to break immigration laws, more local government aid to help relieve the property tax burden, greater questioning on state spending for metropolitan interests, caps on &8220;fees&8221; that really are hidden taxes, caps on tuition, more equality for school funding and an amendment for the &8220;protection of marriage.&8221; With each issue, Marin shared why he supports them and how he arrived at his stances. They were very specific answers.

Frankly, Marin surprised us. He&8217;s an intelligent, well-spoken man.

But we cannot endorse a candidate who mixes religion and politics. If a campaign idea is good, it should stand on its own without needing a Christian overtone. Besides, painting issues with Christianity makes it difficult for opposing views to come forward for fear of seeming anti-Christian. We know some folks won&8217;t agree with us on this point, and that&8217;s fine. America&8217;s success lies in the free exchange of ideas, right?

Our endorsement goes to Sparks. This is not a ringing endorsement. He has done better than his predecessor in communicating with people in his district, but after four years in St. Paul he could display a better grasp on issues. He can speak extensively on education and identification theft, but he offers cagey answers for other topics. He offers a feel-good campaign, more than a drive for results.

Let&8217;s hope Sparks improves as a senator in the next four years.