Minnesota governor candidate Scott Jensen announces plan to tackle crime

Republican-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen announced his 10-point public safety plan to address the rise in violent crime across the state.  

The candidate said Minnesota needs to put what he calls a "genie of lawlessness" back in the bottle. His new plan proposes harsher sentences for carjackers, banning nonprofits from bailing people out of jail and stiffening penalties for repeat violent criminals. 

"When I ask people across the state of Minnesota, whether it’s greater Minnesota or in the urban areas, ‘Do you feel safer than you did four years ago,’ they’re saying not," Jensen said during a news conference Thursday.

As a part of his plan, Jensen said he would utilize the National Guard when needed and provide them with the tools and training needed to succeed. Jensen said DFL Gov. Tim Walz's indecisiveness on utilizing the National Guard has led to "a culture of lawlessness." 

"Tim Walz has had his chance and his soft on crime, ‘do nothing’ policies obviously call for new leadership in our state so we can feel safe again," Jensen said in a news release.

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The former state senator and physician in Chaska said he would appoint judges who hand down longer sentences to stop the "catch and release" of violent criminals and seek to increase sentencing time for carjackers. 

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party criticized Jensen’s plan for not including any additional funding for local police departments, while Walz proposes giving hundreds of millions in funding directly to law enforcement agencies.

"After seeing how hard he has been trying to sink a bipartisan budget deal that would provide $450 million for public safety, it’s unsurprising that funding local police departments isn’t a priority for Scott Jensen," DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said in a statement. "From opposing universal background checks to the budget deal on public safety, Scott Jensen has shown that he’s unserious about stopping crime and gun violence."