Why are you running for this position?
Plain and simple, I enjoy serving our community. I have served on the city and county planning commissions, addressing land use and planning and zoning questions, while hosting public hearings to provide opportunities for discussion. Serving on the city council for 10 years was another positive experience, and I am grateful for that opportunity. Now, serving as a legislator for eastern Carver County has allowed me to bring my science foundation, understanding of local government, and experience with energy, the environment, and transportation infrastructure into various discussions. I enjoy being your voice in St Paul, and sharing your family’s concerns.
What are the top three issues you would face during your term?
Until this spring the biggest issues for most Carver County residents were taxes, healthcare, transportation infrastructure, and individual rights. We are now facing the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown of our economy. We are also facing division, rioting, looting, and calls for defunding the police (changing how we police). These are all important issues, which I believe remain front-and-center for many Minnesotans. How will we address the damage to our economy and our communities, the needs of families and schools, challenges for businesses, while assuring public safety and addressing our growing deficit? We must work together, and solve these problems.
What is the role of the Legislature when it comes to needs like housing or healthcare?
The state will undoubtedly play a large role in determining the type and quality of healthcare we have in Minnesota. We must assure that transparency and competition is prominent, so that the open market and consumer choice will drive prices lower. The state can and should take steps to assure that occurs. There are many factors at play creating today's housing problems in Minnesota, and there are no easy answers. Affordable housing can always be encouraged by creative zoning. I have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, and I know that programs like that can also provide affordable options for families.
What is the role of the Legislature in creating a healthy business climate in the state?
Our Legislature plays a huge role in creating a healthy business climate in Minnesota. We are currently one of the highest taxed states in the nation, and those high taxes are chasing away businesses and residents. Surrounding states with lower taxes continue to attract Minnesota companies. And yet, new proposals for more spending continue. We must work to reduce our tax and regulatory burdens. As an environmental professional I will work to make sure our regulatory climate makes sense, and creates positive impacts. Let’s reduce our tax burden, so that Minnesota businesses can compete with those located in surrounding states.
What transportation issues would you like to address during your term?
Carver County has many needs within our transportation infrastructure. Working with the Southwest Corridor Transportation Coalition has given me understanding of the challenges associated with Highway 212 and Highway 5. I know that Carver County has taken positive steps to address the shortfalls within our local roads and bridges. I am proud to have authored and co-authored several bipartisan bills seeking funding for projects connected with Highway 212, Highway 41, and County Road 18. I will continue to seek funding and bipartisan support for improving our roads, streets, and bridges. We must stay ahead of the maintenance and improvement curve.
What circumstances would prompt you to vote across party lines?
Common sense should drive our decision-making. Each issue, and each proposed solution, should be considered on its own merit. The majority of bills I have supported have had bipartisan support. I work with friends on both sides of the aisle. We must all work together for the good of Minnesota. When a vote comes up, I look at the problem we are trying to solve, and how the proposal seeks to address that problem. Will it bring positive results? Will there be unintended negative consequences? Is it sustainable? Are there better ways to accomplish these goals? Then I vote accordingly.
How should the Legislature respond to calls for public safety reform?
The defunding or dismantling of our law enforcement agencies is a bad idea. It is not an option in my opinion. I fully support our first responders: police, fire, and emergency responders, and have for many years. There are positive changes that we can make to improve our police departments, and I have voted for some of those proposals already. There is room (and a need) for reformation and improvement. But, with riots and unrest happening in our communities, we must remain vigilant, strong, and supportive.
How should the Legislature respond to the pandemic?
The Legislature is currently locked out of the governing process. Our three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) are designed to function as co-equal entities, providing a natural checks-and-balances level of safety to our state government. I would like to return to that condition, as our state government was designed to function. Then the House and the Senate can work with the governor to move forward, addressing issues as they arise, thereby seeking to improve the health and safety of Minnesota.
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?