Why are you running for this position?
I am running to be a champion for the families of our district and put my experience as a small business owner and city leader to work as we help families and businesses get back on their feet after the devastation caused by the pandemic. I have a record of getting things done for folks in our community, and want to put the same energy and passion I brought to my years of service on the city council and apply it to the State Legislature.
What are the top three issues you would face during your term?
I’ve knocked more than 6,000 doors throughout my campaign and have had the opportunity to hear directly from voters about their priorities — they’re looking for leadership that will help rebuild our state’s economy, and ensure that our communities are safe for everyone and that we are supporting our law enforcement and first responders. With our state expected to face a major budget deficit, we're also going to have to dig in on our state budget, eliminate waste and fraud in our government programs, and find creative ways to protect families from tax increases.
What is the role of the Legislature when it comes to needs like housing or healthcare?
In Minnesota, it's significantly more expensive to build new homes in our community than in a similarly-sized community across the river in Wisconsin. We need to bring down the cost of building new homes and make sure that homeownership remains a realistic goal for families by scaling back the overly-burdensome mandates and building code requirements that do little to improve safety, but are adding thousands of dollars to the cost of building a home. On healthcare, we must take steps to improve price transparency and protect access to quality and affordable healthcare options.
What is the role of the Legislature in creating a healthy business climate in the state?
Minnesota is already one of the highest-taxed states in the country for businesses and individuals. Our excellent education and strong workforce help bolster our business environment, but there's no doubt that we can do more to attract business expansion and development here in Minnesota. That means not raising our already high taxes to fix the budget deficit, and not imposing mandates and regulations on businesses who are barely surviving during the pandemic. We also need to take steps to support our small businesses, particularly our bars and restaurants — many of whom may not make it through the next six months.
What transportation issues would you like to address during your term?
Transportation is a core function of government, and more than 95% of Minnesotans rely on our roads and bridges every single day. We need to focus our tax dollars on those critical infrastructure needs (roads, bridges, water, sewage systems, etc.) and not sink billions of dollars into expensive trains when other transit alternatives can be built for a small fraction of the cost. We are facing a major budget deficit, and need to make those tough choices and focus on the basics — not the 'nice to haves.'
What circumstances would prompt you to vote across party lines?
My opponent ran as someone who would be a moderate and independent voice for our community. Instead, she went to Saint Paul and voted more than 95% of the time with her party leadership, including major tax hikes that would hurt our community, and give more funding to Minneapolis schools over school districts in our community. I'm running to be the voice of our community — not a political party — and I will not hesitate to stand up to my party, or work with legislators from across the aisle if it's in the best interest of our district.
How should the Legislature respond to calls for public safety reform?
It's clear that there are cities where relationships between police and their communities are strained and reforms are needed. That doesn't mean we should be applying statewide mandates for police department even where our officers are serving communities with respect, professionalism, and dignity. Every Minnesotan, no matter their race and background deserves to feel safe and respected, and every officer should be able to go home safely to their families at the end of their shift. There were positive bipartisan steps taken recently by the Legislature — those should be implemented and we can evaluate if additional steps are needed.
How should the Legislature respond to the pandemic?
The Legislature provided significant funding to make sure our hospitals and healthcare facilities had the resources needed to respond and build up health capacity and supplies of personal protective equipment. Since then, the Legislature has largely been sidelined by the governor under his emergency powers. I want to see the governor and Legislature work more closely together to respond and eventually help our economy come surging back — including support for our small businesses, schools and more. My background in small business gives me direct perspective and experience into how we can help rebuild our economy.
Have you been charged in the past year, or ever been convicted, of a misdemeanor or higher, or been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy or foreclosure?
I have not had any convictions, misdemeanors, or bankruptcies/foreclosures in the past year — In the interest of full transparency, I have a DWI on my record from about 13 years ago. I pride myself on personal accountability and taking responsibility for my actions. It was a mistake that I learned from and helped make me the person I am today. Since that incident, I've always strived to be a better person and done my part to contribute to and serve our community, and help those around me.