Do you believe in a better future?
Four years ago, I introduced myself to our community as a mother and former small business owner who believed we could do better. I was troubled by the direction our state was headed, and I was particularly alarmed that Minnesota was risking our future – and our kids’ futures – by backing away from our long-standing commitment to excellence in education. I was frustrated that we were balancing the state budget on the backs of our schools, and I was concerned about the accessibility and affordability of higher education.
My experience in the private sector and as a local volunteer and advocate, in addition to thousands of conversations throughout our community, has helped me understand that Minnesota is strong today because past generations were committed to building for the future. I know that we must make the same commitment to our kids.
When I ran for Senate in 2012, I promised to work with others to reach common ground and find solutions that put people ahead of politics. I have remained committed to this pledge, and I am proud of the results. Results that are focused on our future.
I’ve heard consistently that you want our state’s budget and priorities to make smart use of taxpayer dollars for our future. I am proud that we have moved from a structural budget deficit to a sensible, modest surplus, allowing us to keep up our obligation to our schools, seniors and veterans. And we’ve done so honestly, without accounting gimmicks. This, plus our increase of the state’s budget reserve, has led to Minnesota’s restored AAA bond rating.
We have re-committed to education in many significant ways, including paying back our schools, providing all-day kindergarten and expanding access to high-quality early education for our young learners. We’re making smart investments to address the unacceptable achievement gap and persistent lack of support staff in schools. Maintaining our state commitment to school funding is critical to an excellent education for all students and our state’s highly-skilled workforce, plus it keeps local property taxes down. On the Higher Education Committee, I’ve helped keep administrative costs and tuition down at Minnesota’s public colleges and universities for the past three years.
I have supported initiatives that allow businesses to grow, such as small business incentives and tax credits, as well as investments in infrastructure that build our economy. I partnered with 3M and the City of Maplewood for the construction of 3M’s exciting new R&D lab, bringing good jobs to the east metro, as well as a modern public safety center. Bonding projects bring valuable assets to our region, including the new science building at Metro State, which supports healthcare jobs in Woodbury’s emerging medical hub.
As Vice Chair of the Transportation Committee, I continue to fight for a comprehensive transportation solution that brings a balanced approach to funding for roads, bridges and transit, across Minnesota. I have listened to people and businesses who ask for transit to connect people to jobs throughout the metro and suburbs.
But we all know that there is more work to be done. We must build a 21st century transportation system, make higher education more affordable, and continue to ensure Minnesotans are healthy and safe. I remain committed to always seek common ground and focus on our shared visions to create solutions that will keep Minnesota strong today and into the future.
And that gets at the heart of why I am running for re-election. I’ve gained experience during my first term, passed more than 30 pieces of legislation, and have a bipartisan track record of focusing on solutions. Since I took office, I have been an active member of the Purple Caucus, a bipartisan group of senators who work together to support issues that unite us, and I’m proud that I’ll step into the DFL leadership role for the Purple Caucus next session. As your state senator, with this experience, I will be a more effective legislator, with an even stronger understanding and relationships on the issues that matter to you.
Hanging in my Senate office are the words of Paul Wellstone, “We all do better when we all do better.” I will continue to follow his example by committing to compromise and taking a results-oriented approach to moving our state forward. Let’s build on this progress and partner for solutions that will keep Minnesota strong today and into the future.
Please email me with any questions or input at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.651.248.4472.
With deepest gratitude,
Mailing address: P.O. Box 251025, Woodbury, MN 55125
Prepared and Paid for by Susan Kent for Senate, PO Box 251025, Woodbury, MN 55125.