Issues & Vision
Here in Minnesota I know we are capable of achieving so much if our work is based on:
- Protecting the vulnerable
- Remaining respectful
- Embracing opportunities
- Keeping optimism balanced with reality and
- Focusing on the common good of Minnesotans
VOTE November 6 for Common Sense VALUES
• Protect the vulnerable • Respect • Opportunity • Optimism • Fairness
I am committed to fighting for:
• Better Health Care at Lower Costs for All Minnesotans
• Safe and Appropriate Care for Seniors and People with Disabilities
• World-Class Education with options from Early-Childhood through College
• Rural Minnesota Economy with Support for Our Family Farmers
Health Care for All Minnesotans
Health Care Access and Affordability: It is time to move forward and to a solution that helps all Minnesotans! Our goal is to develop a comprehensive plan so that every Minnesotan will have access to affordable health care. First, we need to take a hard look at what we currently have in place. We must roll up our sleeves and get to work across party lines, to identify what is not working (and what is). Moving forward together, we develop principles and a plan to build a healthy health care system.
In the meantime, open up MinnesotaCare to anyone who wants it, with sliding fees based on ability to pay. Those on employer-based programs could either stay put or opt in with other Minnesotans. The state contracts directly with providers (nurses, doctors, clinics, hospitals, etc.), putting the people and their providers in control so we see better results and lower costs for care.
Prescription Drug Costs: As costs continue to skyrocket, we need action to make sure medications are affordable. When everyone has prescription coverage we are in a better position to negotiate reasonable prices.
Opioid Crisis: While we need to ensure that law enforcement has adequate resources, jails and prisons cannot continue to function as default rehabilitation clinics. Funding effective addiction and rehab services will lower law enforcement expenses by reducing crime and overdose incidents.
Mental Health Care: Similarly, law enforcement and our prison system are bearing the largest burden for Mental Health Care in our state. We must make mental health care affordable and available for everyone by supporting cost-saving community mental health programs.
Care for Seniors and People with Disabilities
Seniors: As our population ages, we need to create more and better options that are less expensive for our seniors. We can work together to provide safety, independence and dignity they deserve.
People with Disabilities: There is a lot to be gained by looking at services and assistive technologies that people with disabilities have been using for decades. Like seniors, they deserve safety, independence and dignity.
Law-makers have a responsibility to protect both groups and ensure that they:
• have options to live at home as long as possible
• receive the care needed to live safely
• get what they (or the government) are paying for and
• have more options for safe and reliable transportation services, especially in rural areas
Public education is the commitment we make to provide opportunities for all students to succeed.
Early-Childhood: Expanding voluntary pre-K for three and four-year old’s prepares young children to learn, especially children of low-income families. Early Childhood Family Education equips parents to encourage readiness to learn.
According to research, every $1 that provides high quality early learning programs for low-income children, tax-payers save up to $16 down the road. (Rolnick, Art “2018 legislative session: Minnesota should double down on early education now.” Star Tribune 4/13/18)
Support Services: Ensure comprehensive support services in schools to address needs of students with learning differences, disabilities, health issues, limited social skills and those who struggle to learn due to various personal circumstances.
We must continue and improve our efforts to address and reduce the incidence and ramifications of bullying and other behaviors disruptive to the learning atmosphere.
Student Achievement: We should encourage multiple forms of assessment for a broader range of students’ learning styles, and not rely only on standardized testing.
Training for Jobs that Pay Well: High School students need more opportunities to explore and discover an array of career options. This includes certificate programs and additional vocational/pre-college education and training best suited to their abilities, interests and strengths.
School Funding: Fully and equitably fund our rural schools, because all kids should have access to a high-quality education. School funding should be stable and fair.
Supporting Teachers: Our teachers are highly skilled professionals and deserve appreciation, respect and fair compensation. In order to address the growing teacher shortage, we should provide student loan forgiveness to encourage people to enter the field. Just as we focus on student safety, teachers deserve safety in their workplace.
Economy - A, B, C . . .
Agriculture: Family farmers are the backbone of our rural economy. We can help support their success by reducing health care costs through the MinnesotaCare buy-in, increasing investments in:
• research such as The Forever Green Initiative
• public crop breeding programs and
• renewing our commitment to a strong University of Minnesota Ag Extension System that focuses on local research
Broadband: Since much of our district is either unserved or underserved by fast, reliable internet service, we need to work so that all of our communities have access to affordable broadband. Similar to rural electrification efforts, it is vital to the future of our economy. We must obtain grant dollars to provide options that help reduce prices and ensure better service. Even at the state level we need to fight for reestablishment of a free and open internet and net neutrality that protects our privacy and security.
Childcare: The need for childcare that is affordable, safe and within reasonable distances continues to grow. It impacts businesses by reducing the available workforce and limits families to lower incomes. Communities like New York Mills and Battle Lake have citizens, businesses and area agencies working together to develop and expand more childcare businesses and facilities. Recognizing that childcare requires more than a “one size fits all” approach, Minnesota needs to expand sustainable efforts, address affordability and make real gains to address this issue.
Housing - Affordable & Safe: Housing makes a significant difference in our health, education and employment. Wages of working people are not keeping up with housing costs – for renting or home buying. Minnesota housing agencies need to continue working to address shortages and rewarding communities that maximize public-private partnerships (businesses, agencies, nonprofits etc.). All housing projects, renovations or new construction, should incorporate energy saving features to keep housing more affordable by reducing energy costs. Proximity to schools, shopping, health care, jobs and transportation should be considered as well.
Retail: The loss of large retail in this area is having an impact. This is an opportunity to support our small, local businesses and explore ways to cover the gap left by larger ones that left the area. We can do this by looking at tax credits for small business operators, reducing health care costs for small employers, and promoting downtown revitalization efforts across the district.
Transportation: The tradition of going around and around on transportation funding has been a colossal failure. It is time to work together and develop a long-term, sustainable solution to the transportation needs across the entire state.
Old and poorly maintained roads are costing Minnesotans $1.2 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs. Minnesota businesses, including those in rural Minnesota, are spending $232 million on freight transportation due to traffic congestion.
Smooth roads and safe bridges are NOT partisan issues but affect all of us—directly or indirectly. It’s time for a real solution, not shifting from the general fund or occasionally taking baby steps as part of a bonding bill. We need to adopt a responsible, comprehensive transportation plan that identifies a stable, ongoing income stream.
Water Quality: Healthy lakes and rivers are vital to tourism, fishing and boating in our communities. They also impact real estate values and property tax revenue. It seems obvious that it is more effective and less expensive to protect our water, a crucial Minnesota resource for all of us, rather than to correct impairments. Resisting a comprehensive plan that ensures clean, clear waterways is detrimental to our economy and our treasured way of life. That’s why we need to bring all stakeholders together and work out a plan that is financially responsible, protects our water quality and benefits all of us.