Why are you running for this position?
As a psychologist, it’s all about healthcare. When I say “healthcare,” I mean everything that impacts health. If you have insurance, but can’t afford to see the doctor or fill a prescription due to high deductibles is or the drug company gouging you, then you don’t have true access. Quality education is associated with improved health, so a strong public-school system is about healthcare. A strong economy also enhances health. When the environment is protected, fewer get sick, which is not just better for the individual, but for all Minnesotans. A healthy state is a prosperous state.
What are the top three issues you would face during your term?
COVID-19: We will need to rebuild. Small businesses will need help. We must return Minnesota to the boom of 2010-2019.
Education: The state’s share of educational costs has dropped over the years. This means that the school system has to come to local folks and ask for more money in the form of tax increases. More state funding levels the playing field and reduces our tax burden.
Healthcare: We MUST build a system where all Minnesotans have access to affordable healthcare. What we in the industry know is that good healthcare is cheaper than bad healthcare.
What is the role of the Legislature when it comes to needs like housing or healthcare?
It is the role of Legislature to reduce barriers to quality healthcare and affordable housing. We need laws that support Minnesotans over special interests. All too often, our legislators listen to their big money donors, like the pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. Legislators have a duty to represent the PEOPLE of their district and of Minnesota. This means ensuring that workers have access to housing and healthcare they can afford, as healthy people build a strong and prosperous state.
What is the role of the Legislature in creating a healthy business climate in the state?
It is Legislature’s role to ensure a strong and healthy business climate. Our economy is most strongly built on small businesses and Minnesota residents. The Legislature can ensure a level playing field to grow small businesses and prevent large, national and multinational companies from drowning out Minnesota companies. Healthcare costs often cripple small businesses, so I’d like to increase transparency in pricing and bring down costs to small businesses, allowing them to better compete for employees and customers. Large, non-Minnesota corporations undercut our economy and underpay their workers, taking dollars out of the state.
What transportation issues would you like to address during your term?
2020 was to be a bonding year, which is when much of the transportation and infrastructure needs are addressed. As of my writing of this, a combination of COVID and partisan politics (I’d argue mostly partisan politics) prevented a bill from being passed. In my term, I hope to work across the aisle on passing a bonding bill to provide needed transportation, such as improvements to Highway 41 through Chaska; Highway 5, past Chanhassen to Victoria; and 82nd Street to Bavaria Road. These projects benefit our district, while providing good paying jobs, which will help our economy recover from COVID.
What circumstances would prompt you to vote across party lines?
Legislators should represent the district that elected them, not a party or an ideology. 47B is a solidly purple district and its representatives’ votes should reflect that. I will cross party lines when it is right for my district and the people of Minnesota. A current example is the “provider tax” that pays for MinnesotaCare. Usually passed on to the patient, the tax is not really on providers, but on the sick and elderly. Since treating illness is cheaper than not treating illness, and because it’s right, we must find a way to ethically fund MinnesotaCare without this tax.
How should the Legislature respond to calls for public safety reform?
I applaud our local police for seeking community input. I attended their meeting in downtown Chaska, where many shared concerns, and our police leaders listened. In legislature, the House passed a list of reforms with the goal of improving relations between police and communities, while increasing safety and accountability. Many reforms never got a Senate hearing. They did ban choke holds and “warrior training,” but left many reforms on the table. 2021 is another opportunity to examine police reform. I’d like to see legislature leave behind politics, serve the people, and make additional safety reforms.
How should the Legislature respond to the pandemic?
The Legislature’s initial job is to provide a check on the governor’s executive authority. Fortunately, Minnesota is one of 49 states where the governor’s ability to engage in science-based leadership has been repeatedly upheld by the Legislature. Decisions about how to handle an ongoing crisis need a strong leader, acting on advice from experts, not a committee of competing politicians acting on party and ideology. After this, Legislature’s most important job is to aid this state in recovery, putting Minnesotans back to work safely, while creating an atmosphere that supports workers and industry alike, in the road back to prosperity.
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?