Health care advocate takes on lawmaker who voted against smoking ban


Ginny Klevorn wants to be a champion for public health. Her Republican rival opposed bipartisan efforts to protect citizens from cancer-causing secondhand smoke.

Ginny Klevorn, the Democrat running for Minnesota's state House District 44A, wants to be an advocate for cancer patients and their families.

In a Facebook post, Klevorn talked about losing a parent to cancer and hailed the work of the American Cancer Society.

"I understand the ripple effect it has on families," Klevorn wrote. "I strongly support the issues that they are asking candidates their stances on: stopping kids from starting smoking, tobacco cessation efforts, and the need for affordable and accessible healthcare."

Klevorn noted that she would work in the Minnesota legislature "to advance these issues." Her strong support for "policies to end addiction and promote public health" is one of the main reasons Klevorn is running against Republican state Rep. Sarah Anderson.

An examination of Anderson's voting record shows she doesn't share that same dedication to ending addiction and promoting public health. Anderson voted against legislation that prohibited smoking in public places, including on public transportation, to protect Minnesota citizens from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of them toxic. The CDC also notes that about 70 of these chemicals can cause cancer.

The agency also explains that nonsmokers exposed to the type of secondhand smoke Anderson voted for have a 20 to 30 percent increased risk of developing lung cancer.

"Even brief secondhand smoke exposure can damage cells in ways that set the cancer process in motion," the CDC says.

The agency even highlights the specific risks of secondhand smoke to children, noting, "If your state still allows smoking in public areas, look for restaurants and other places that do not allow smoking."

The legislation Anderson voted against had bipartisan support in the legislature and was later signed into law by the Republican governor at the time, Tim Pawlenty.

While Klevorn has made clear that she will fight for those suffering from cancer and their families, Anderson's record shows disinterest in backing efforts to support and promote public health.