Put first things first
We can do better. It is time to end partisan politics and focus on the real priorities of Minnesota. As a Woodbury resident with family ties to the community, I have had the opportunity to get to know people in our area. I’ve been listening as I’ve knocked on thousands of doors across Woodbury, Landfall, Maplewood and Oakdale, and what I’ve heard is loud and clear. Focus on jobs, the economy and education.
I am ready to fight for our core values. I can help restore Minnesota’s focus on its people, their education and good jobs. We must work together toward a bright future.
A strong economy
As we are coming out of difficult times, we face a choice. We can continue with divisiveness and distractions, or we can focus on our economy and our future and make the most of our opportunities. We must marshal our resources and build a strong economy that provides good jobs and a stable middle class, and I want to build coalitions across the board to meet this challenge.
I will promote economic development through smart investments, sound infrastructure and clean energy. As a former small business owner myself, I well understand the need for policies to help small businesses start up and grow, creating living wage jobs for area families. I will work to keep these businesses strong and successful. And here in Minnesota.
By supporting our businesses, we can put more Minnesotans back to work. There are many examples of private-public partnerships that maximize economic development. I want to look at all venues for job growth – investments in infrastructure, business-friendly tax reform, improvements in our regulatory system – that will lead to more jobs and greater financial security for the middle class, our real job creators.
And education is an important part of our economic puzzle and our long-term strength, as it has been in Minnesota for generations. We need to prepare our children for the future. But now, Minnesota ranks 48th in the nation for technology in schools. We must do better because an educated and skilled workforce is key to a strong economy, good jobs and a stable middle class.
In more than 20 years in marketing, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a tremendous range of organizations, from the largest of corporations to small, local businesses, and a number of arts and non-profit organizations, as well. In this time, I’ve had a seat at the conference table in many industries, including retail, consumer goods, business-to-business, healthcare, banking, electronics, travel and tourism and more. I have gained a deep understanding of the private sector, and I want to bring this perspective to help create good jobs that pay well for Minnesota families.
Because ultimately, to grow our economy, we must put more people back to work in good jobs.
I will promote real incentives for main street businesses to grow and hire more employees. I will work to build our economy in a way that is consistent with Minnesota values – an economy that rewards hard work and responsibility.
A strong education system is a cornerstone for our economy and our communities. Each child of Minnesota deserves the opportunities to the American dream that are available through a strong education. All parents want their children to have good schools and a good education. Beyond that, good schools become a strategic advantage in our economy. Companies want to be here because their employees want to raise their children here. Further and into the future, companies want to be here because we have a highly educated and skilled workforce.
Recent events and policies have put our tradition of excellence in education at risk. I believe strongly that we must act now and restore our commitment to this important part of our state’s overall strength.
I oppose measures to balance the state budget by borrowing over $2 billion from our schools. Reduced school funding has caused schools to make drastic cuts that led to class sizes that are 4th highest in the nation. All students should have the opportunity to receive a quality education and be trained for the jobs of the 21st century.
We must recommit to a strong education system. We must pay back our schools, reform education and reduce class sizes to allow teachers to do what they do best… teach.
Reduce the cost of higher education. Recent cuts to higher education have caused tuition to increase by nearly 10%. Students and middle-class families can’t afford such hikes. I support stable funding for higher education because an affordable college education is a good investment for an educated workforce.
State Finance: Stable and Fair
We have faced recurring budget challenges in recent years as a result of a variety of factors – economic cycles, demographic trends, and policy decisions, including the irresponsible “shift” of $2.7 billion from our schools. These challenges and some policy responses have left our tax system out of balance, disproportionately reliant on regressive taxation, namely property and sales taxes. As a result, middle income families are paying a disproportionately high share. We need common sense, stable and balanced solutions that ensure our strong economic future.
We need to restore fairness to our property tax structure. Unfortunately, Republican leadership in the legislature, including my opponent, voted to eliminate the Homestead Market Value Credit. This short-sighted policy increased property taxes on middle class Minnesotans and local businesses. The state budget should not be balanced on the backs of our families.
As a former small business owner, I support initiatives that reverse the property tax increases and restore fairness to our property tax structure. This will help businesses hire more employees and grow our economy. Ultimately, I understand that we cannot tax or cut our way out of the state’s budget deficit. We must put more people back to work to grow our economy.
Working together for a better tomorrow
As I’ve been out in our community, knocking on doors and listening to parents, grandparents, business owners and students, the advice they give has been crystal clear: work together, stop the gridlock.
It’s the right advice, but politicians too often ignore it once they’re in office. Last year, we saw what happened when our elected officials refused to compromise and dug in their heels for a 21-day government shutdown. Nobody won, and instead of solving the state’s budget problems, the legislature shifted billions in debt onto our schools and left a projected $4.5 billion deficit for next year. Political party loyalties won out, and“compromise” became a dirty word.
The people I’ve met while campaigning do not want government to be the answer to every problem in the world, but they do expect results to go along with the talk they hear each election year. I’m running for state senate because our community and our state deserves better. I’ll put our people ahead of extreme politics, and work together with anyone from any party toward reasonable, common sense solutions.
Even though this is my first run for public office, working together to solve difficult problems and achieve results is nothing new to me. In more than 20 years in the private sector, collaboration is an expectation and gridlock is not tolerated. It should come as no surprise that bringing people together to build consensus around a shared vision was the key to success.
I know that bi-partisanship at the legislature is not easy, but surely there is always a path to common ground and hard-earned compromise. My commitment will always be to my constituents and, given the chance, I will be a leader among those ready to set political ideologies aside and get to work on leaving a better community and state for our kids.
Working together, we can get back to a Minnesota that works. Join me in finding solutions for challenges we face.