Address: 1584 Harvest Ln, Shakopee
Family: Katy, Jean (13), Ila (9)
Education: BS Horticulture from Iowa State University
Hobbies/Interests: Camping, hiking, baseball, and craft beer.
Previous experience that would prove helpful in position: Former Mayor of Shakopee, Former Shakopee Chamber of Commerce Board Chair, current Shakopee Chamber member, former Shakopee Parks and Recreation Board Chair
I am proud of the work we have been able to get done together in my first term representing Shakopee. I have passed significant legislation — some that has been attempted for over a decade — by working together with my colleagues. Yet, there is still a lot of work to do for our community. As a State, we must tackle major budget, equity, and transportation issues. Crafting these solutions requires effective leadership and the ability to work together with anyone. I am honored to represent our community and hope to earn your vote for re-election to the Minnesota House.
What are the top three issues you would face during your term?
The top three issues facing Shakopee in the next two years are: properly handling Minnesota’s continued response to COVID-19; successfully managing our budget shortfall and navigating our new economy; and working to make sure that Minnesota is the best place to raise a family no matter the color of your skin. I will also continue to work on transportation issues. Under my leadership as the Vice-Chair of the House Transportation Committee, the Minnesota House passed legislation to expand Highway 169 by adding a MNPASS and Bus Rapid Transit lane from Shakopee to Downtown Minneapolis.
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?
Racial equity has been a topic of national interest in recent months. What are some bills or programs that you’d like to get behind that would specifically address equity issues in Shakopee?
It is unacceptable that Minnesota is ranked second-best in the nation for raising a family while also being second-worst in the nation for families of color. We must do better. After the murder of George Floyd, Governor Walz signed major legislation on police reform and accountability. We worked hard to find bi-partisan compromises respecting the incredible work of our police while also recognizing the need for change. To address our systemic racism, we must focus on racial equity in Minnesota’s education, transportation, and housing systems.
The Shakopee School District says much of the reason for its budget shortfall is due to underfunding from the state, especially when it comes to state-mandated programs. Do you agree with this, and in what ways would you support education if elected?
We must fully fund education. The State of Minnesota has not been meeting its obligations to educate our students. This puts the burden of funding schools onto our local property taxes. I carried a bill for equalizing building costs across the state that would have saved our district over $3 million each year. Unfortunately, we could only find a compromise with the Senate that increased our school funding slightly above the rate of inflation. It was extremely unfortunate but I’ll keep working.
Several executive orders have been made in the past few months related to COVID-19. Which of these orders do you most agree or disagree with? How should the state move forward to continue protecting both its residents and the economy?
COVID is the number one issue constituents discuss with me. The Legislature came together with Governor Walz to pass COVID-related funding and legislation. I have consistently been advocating for businesses to reopen safely while also keeping protections in place to protect Shakopee residents. As we look at what is happening in states around us, COVID is not over no matter how much we want it to be. All fifty US states plus the Federal government are in a Peacetime Emergency. This gives us the flexibility to efficiently purchase PPEs, share data with law enforcement, and protect first responders.
National discourse has been severely polarized between political parties. In what ways would you work across party lines to get things done?
In my first term, I worked with one of the most conservative Senators on a bill allowing college athletes to be compensated. I passed a bill with the most liberal House members allowing hunters to use tracking dogs. I worked with our Republican Senator on bills for Canterbury Park, ValleyFair, and local residents. We need leaders who are willing to work together to get great things done for Shakopee and Minnesota. From my first day as a candidate, we have pledged to run civil campaigns focusing on policy and the future of Shakopee; not politics of division.
Affordable housing in Shakopee is scarce, and waiting lists are long. How do you envision mitigating this issue on a legislative level?
Affordable housing was a major focus of mine while I was the Mayor of Shakopee. I am very pleased Shakopee has since added hundreds of affordable units throughout our community. The housing market is not set up to build the large number of affordable housing units that we know we need throughout Minnesota. I worked together with housing advocates on a bill based on a North Dakota program. It incentivizes private investment in affordable housing and has had incredible results. If re-elected, I plan to continue this work which would build more affordable housing here in Shakopee.