House District 61A voter’s guide: State Rep. Frank Hornstein challenged by Kurtis Fechtmeyer

District 61A

The Southwest Journal’s voter’s guide includes stories on the three competitive races for the Minneapolis School Board and questionnaires with candidates running for the U.S. House and the state House and Senate. We also include a rundown of everything you’ll see on your ballot, including an explanation of the city’s two referendums. You can read our full 2020 voter’s guide here.

Incumbent Frank Hornstein is seeking his 10th term in a district that includes all or parts of 10 Southwest Minneapolis neighborhoods around the Chain of Lakes. He has consistently won around 80% of the vote in recent races.

His GOP opponent, Kurtis Fechtmeyer, is an attorney and investment banker who served under President George H.W. Bush.

District 61A

Frank Hornstein
Frank Hornstein

DFL: Frank Hornstein (incumbent)

Occupation: College instructor

Money raised/cash on hand: $17,256 (Jan. 1, 2019-July 20, 2020)/$9,345 (as of July 20)

Accomplishments and top priorities: During my tenure in the Legislature, I have been the lead author of significant legislation that is now Minnesota law.

These initiatives include Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit; statewide funding for public transportation, bike and pedestrian infrastructure; increasing recycling and organics composting; oil and ethanol transportation safety; enhanced penalties for hate crimes; HIV/ AIDS funding; school safety; the hands-free cell phone bill; and support for Minneapolis parks.

I actively supported marriage equality, increases in the minimum wage and expansion of public health care.

My 2021-22 priorities are transit improvements, hate crimes prevention, a Green New Deal, racial equity initiatives, affordable housing, health care for all and passage of the ERA.

Police reform and public safety: I am a strong supporter of legislative police accountability efforts, and co-authored new legislation passed this summer advanced by the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus. While the measures were a step forward, there is much work remaining at the state level to address racial justice in policing.

The Legislature banned warrior-style police training and use of chokeholds; required additional training related to mental health; addressed arbitration issues and formed new public oversight mechanisms. However, key provisions in a stronger House version were not included. I will continue to work alongside the POCI caucus to prioritize police accountability.

Affordable housing and homelessness: I am a member of the Housing Committee and as such have authored and co-authored several major affordable housing initiatives. My highest priority is to address the growing and extreme racial disparities in housing and home ownership in the region. These include preserving existing affordable housing, expanding the supply of affordable housing and protecting renters’ rights.

I strongly support constructing new transitional housing for the homeless, including on-site services for child care, counseling and assistance with education and employment. We must also work to expand similar opportunities for homeless youth such as The Bridge, which is located in our legislative district.

Systemic racial inequalities: Minnesota has among the worst racial disparities in the nation. We must look at all issues through an equity lens, particularly education, health care, housing, transportation, environment and criminal justice. A meaningful racial justice legislative agenda must include actively working with and following the lead of Black, People of Color and Indigenous led organizations, community leaders, citizens and elected officials in developing comprehensive solutions to the racial equity crisis.

The concurrent health, community safety, economic and climate emergencies have laid bare the failures to address racial justice and equity in our public life. Addressing these issues in the context of racial equity must be our highest priority in the coming legislative session and beyond.

Kurtis Fechtmeyer
Kurtis Fechtmeyer

GOP: Kurtis Fechtmeyer

Occupation: Investment banker

Money raised/cash on hand: No data available

Qualifications and top priorities: I have a 30-year professional career in law and banking and was an appointee in the U.S. Small Business Administration under George H.W. Bush. My first exposure to politics was working on the John Anderson for President independent campaign.

Police reform and public safety: Unbiased law enforcement is one of the most essential functions in a society. Politically motivated law enforcement is a danger to every citizen. We need to fully fund responsive, professional law enforcement that has the training and technology to serve each member of the community while respecting vital civil liberties.

Affordable housing and homelessness: Our current system of affordable housing support is broken. Too much emphasis is placed on new buildings that target a narrow part of the population and do not meet the broader community needs. The city, county and state need to work together to rebuild and reinvigorate neighborhoods consistent with local objectives that prioritize employment, quality of life and sustainable transportation goals.

Chronic homelessness is a very different issue than housing and requires a combination of resources related to addiction treatment, mental health, law enforcement and shelter facilities. The two issues are related, but distinct.

Systemic racial inequalities: Racism and prejudice in the delivery of government services are corrosive forces that need to be identified, addressed and ameliorated for society to function fairly. Public figures and those in the public arena have a particular responsibility to operate without bias and bigotry.