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Q and A: 3rd congressional district

Steve Toft (left) and Ron Kind

Democratic incumbent Ron Kind is facing challenger Steve Toft (R-Osseo) for the United States Third Congressional District seat.

Editor's note: Ron Kind (Democrat, incumbent) Did not respond.

Steve Toft (Republican)

Why should voters choose you?

It's time that the 3rd District has true representation that will do what's right for the people here, not Washington. After serving my country for 32 years in the Army, I gained experience that few can match. From leading soldiers into battle, running massive health care systems and commanding military installations, I have the skills necessary to make tough decisions. As a farmer, I am experiencing some of the same challenges that so many other farmers see every day. I want to go to Washington to represent the hard working farmers and veterans who need our help.

What role should the federal government play in combating the opioid epidemic?

First and foremost, the federal government needs to gain control of its own institutions. The tragedies at Tomah only highlighted a system that is failing too many veterans. The vast majority of the VA system is very good and helps a lot of people, but still too many slip through the cracks. Making sure that this doesn't happen again is a key part of the solution.

Do you agree with President Trump's "America First" approach to international trade and foreign policy? Why or why not?

I think the tough negotiating on trade is starting to show some great results. A new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico that will help farmers and manufacturers, progress with our European partners and even China are showing the strategy is working. Eventually, I want to get to a free trade system where everyone plays on the same level playing field. I strongly believe that we are headed in that direction.

Is the United States doing enough to reduce carbon emissions? What can the federal government do to promote homegrown energy?

Absolutely, problems with pollution aren't coming from our shores, it's China, India and other countries that don't have the standards we do to cut emissions and protect the environment. We absolutely need to protect the planet but we have to be realistic about it, we can't sacrifice everything we have to solve a problem we didn't create.

Is there any room left for bipartisan cooperation on substantive issues? If so, how would you work — or have you worked — across party lines on major items?

I am not a politician and I don't want to be. The only thing I care about is doing what is right for America. I am willing to work with anyone who has the same desire to serve their country. Too often career politicians like Ron Kind are more interested in being re-elected than doing what is right for their district. We need term limits and citizen legislators who are willing to go to Washington for a short time, represent their district and return to their lives at home.