Why are you running for this position?
I ran for the first time in 2018 because as a physician, I wanted to be a voice for positive, constructive problem-solving, and a voice for science and evidence based policy. I’m running for re-election because I want to continue the work we started and build on the healthcare reform, protection of our lakes from aquatic invasive species and support of our local schools and infrastructure that we accomplished in my first term. In the midst of a global pandemic, I think it’s important to have legislators with science backgrounds at the decision making table.
What are the top three issues you would face during your term?
We must work together to combat COVID-19 using science and evidence so that our health and economy can recover and thrive. We will likely be faced with a budget deficit, so we will need to examine all programs with an eye toward eliminating those that have not functioned well. We must continue our transition toward a clean, renewable energy future so that our children and grandchildren can thrive.
What is the role of the Legislature when it comes to needs like housing or healthcare?
The government has an important safety net role for our most vulnerable in terms of both housing and healthcare. The pandemic has laid bare some of the inequities that exist in our society and has highlighted the importance for all of us in investing in public health and housing. If a significant portion of our population is not healthy and/or doesn’t have shelter, that impacts all of us.
What is the role of the Legislature in creating a healthy business climate in the state?
We want Minnesota to continue to be a great place to live, work and do business. To attract new businesses to our state and retain current ones, we must maintain a balance between investing in our state and its infrastructure and making our tax code competitive.
What transportation issues would you like to address during your term?
The evidence suggests that we need to continue to transition away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy to supply our energy needs. I believe that we should create incentives and support to make that transition so that our economy and our environment can both thrive.
What circumstances would prompt you to vote across party lines?
I would vote across party lines when the legislation aligns with my values and the values of our district. I am proud that 80% of my healthcare bills had bipartisan co-authors in the House and I have worked with Senate Republicans to pass several pieces of legislation into law.
How should the Legislature respond to calls for public safety reform?
We can both support law enforcement in their challenging profession and hold them to high standards of excellence and acknowledge that some reform is needed so that all Minnesotans can be safe in their communities. I do not support defunding the police. I think it is important in these partisan times for all of us to listen with open hearts and minds. We have more in common than we don’t. We don’t have to agree on everything. But let’s put our partisan gripes aside and work together to forge a path forward to a better and more prosperous Minnesota.
How should the Legislature respond to the pandemic?
We are living through unprecedented times which have challenged all of us. This year the Legislature passed important legislation to support the health of all Minnesotans and those working on the front lines during the pandemic. It also appropriately provided support and assistance to small businesses to keep our economy running. Minnesotans will continue to need support until COVID-19 is under control, and the Legislature must remain nimble and flexible as it responds to needs as they arise.
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?