Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Independence candidate looks to shake up race

Marcus White
Posted 9/26/18

REGIONAL – Some political candidates take in big political donations from committees and corporations, others sell fry-bread tacos – Ray “Skip” Sandman is one of the latter.

“Voters need …

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Independence candidate looks to shake up race


REGIONAL – Some political candidates take in big political donations from committees and corporations, others sell fry-bread tacos – Ray “Skip” Sandman is one of the latter.

“Voters need another choice outside of the two-party system,” Sandman said. “The other candidates can be bought, their donators won’t let them carry out their own plans. Democracy needs to be brought back to the hands of the people, not with corporations.”

Sandman is running on the Independence Party ticket and mounting his second run at the Eighth District. His first was four years ago on the Green Party ticket.

While his opponents, Pete Stauber (GOP) and Joe Radinovich (DFL) have been going head-to-head, largely ignoring the third-party candidate, Sandman has been quietly working to gain grassroots support, one fry-bread taco sale at a time.

He has already been to every county in the district and has won endorsements from far-left voters and anti-copper-nickel mining activists in the Duluth area, including the city’s contingent belonging to the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist group in the country, which has nationally backed the independent campaign of Bernie Sanders and some Democrats, including the congressional bid of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York.

Sandman’s campaign is based on forward thinking and not kneejerk reactions to major issues.

“I am looking at seven generations down the line,” he said. “What will they have if everything is destroyed? It’s time to step up to the plate.”

That destruction comes from two major problems he sees in the country today – the whittling away of democratic values through outside interests and the endangerment of the country’s water system, especially through proposed projects like the PolyMet mine.

“They don’t have the technology and the procedure to protect the environment,” Sandman said. “Even their own scientists have talked about 500 years of pollution if a dam would fail. That would destroy our tourism industry. For 150 jobs, it’s not a good gamble. We need to look at sustainable options like wind power. We need to start working towards that goal right now.”

To add to his case, Sandman said the PolyMet mine would only be sustainable for two decades or so, and that, he said, is not enough to be worth the investment.

Being against projects like PolyMet does not mean Sandman is against the mining industry as a whole, and he admits the only thing he has agreed with President Trump on is steel tariffs to try to reinvigorate the Iron Range.

He admits taconite mining has its own risks, but they are not the risks of copper-nickel mining that could bring what he said would be a disaster to the region.

Sandman also said he knows his support for steel tariffs is a double-edged sword, with the district’s agriculture industry taking a huge hit.

He said, however, the president’s plan to subsidize farmers won’t give enough aid to the people working the fields, and too much of the $12 billion promised will go to agricultural corporations.

Sandman said his work for 25 years as a correction officer is what influenced him to support policies that help people.

Whether it is his stance on providing free college tuition, at least through community and technical colleges, or his support of universal healthcare through a single-payer system, his campaign is about recognizing where people need help and then giving it to them.

“When the voices aren’t being heard, it leads to desperations,” Sandman said.

Sandman is highly critical of the president’s immigration plan. He said it unfairly attacks people crossing the country’s southern border, when there are 600,000 European immigrants still in the country after their work and travel visas have expired.

Sandman said if the wall is built, people will just fly over it, and the money would be best used fixing the nation’s problems.

Of his opponents, Radinovich and Stauber, Sandman said they were much of the same that came before them.

Stauber, he said was “just an empty suit” who will be unwilling to challenge his own party because he will be in debt to them for all of the monetary support they’ve given him. He added that too much support has been given to a president who disrespects women, the disabled and pays off porn stars.

“Radinovich is really wishy-washy on environmental opinions,” Sandman said. “We need to become more progressive. I think the voters are seeing that. I look at both parties, and if they are accepting money from corporations, you can find the talking points of each party will never happen.”

With endorsements from the left, Sandman said he isn’t concerned Democrats will split between him and Radinovich, giving a near certain victory to Stauber.

“We can protest all we want, scream and shake our fists, but if the leadership doesn’t change, your protest goes nowhere,” he said. “If I can become a leader, I could be in a place to make those hard decisions.”

And if he does win, he said he is under no illusion that it will be easy to serve in congress with his ideals. Until then, however, Sandman plans on keeping on the road, financing his campaign, one fry-bread taco at a time.


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Steve Jacobson

I agree with Mr. Sandman - Radinovich has been tip toeing around the Polymet issue so I believe those thinking about voting for Radinovich should vote for Sandman!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

So Steve is that your ploy to get Stauber to win? Yes that may make the difference? Personally I really don't care for any of them.

Thursday, September 27, 2018
Steve Jacobson

Yes it is! Like it or not I feel history has proven up here in the Ely/Iron Range area that a vote for a candidate who opposes new mining will lose the election.

Friday, September 28, 2018

A question I really don't know the answer,but really not to hard to figure out. Of the total vote in the Congressional district is from the range? Much of the southern half has grown significantly. It is a huge district geographically.

Friday, September 28, 2018