Cradle to Career Opportunities
We have a child care crisis in America. At its core, it’s an economic issue. Without child care, parents with young children struggle to work and employers struggle to fill critical positions. As a society, we need to address this issue with bold action at a local, state, and national level. Affordable, accessible child care made available to all families is an investment in both the public good and our economy.
Public investments in early childhood education are just as important. I’ve spent the last 20 years working in public education as an early childhood special education teacher. Studies show that a child’s first five years of development establishes the foundation that will determine much of the rest of that child’s life. As a professional who advocates for our youngest learners, I believe that every child should be guaranteed quality child care and an early childhood education – made affordable for all families.
Public education investments give our society a very high rate of return and lack of investment yields costly outcomes. Public education prepares students to become full members of our communities. Students require access to high-quality programs and opportunities that create an environment for high achievement, proper mental and developmental stimulation, and socialization. Education is the key to achieving better outcomes at graduation. But we can’t stop there. Affordable, quality programs at the two or four-year college level, technical schools, and on-the-job training or apprenticeships make up the foundation of a healthy workforce and engaged citizenry.
And, upstream investments in post-secondary public education, reducing tuition costs and offering expanded grant opportunities, is the best way to address high student debt. Today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce. Our education system trains learners to do the jobs of the 21st Century. Our state’s history of innovation and good jobs is built on this commitment. As a state we must commit the necessary resources to ensure that our workforce isn’t burdened by a crushing education debt. High student debt unfairly burdens our students, drags down our state’s economy, and ultimately impacts our communities.
One of the most important lessons I learned as a career teacher is, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” —John Dewey. As a career teacher I couldn’t agree more. We need to be focused on providing our children an education that will give them the life-long ability to thrive. We must provide safe schools for our students and safe working environments for teachers and staff. Anything less is a betrayal to our educational system and our way of life.
Fighting for small businesses and farmers
Small businesses are the backbone of our rural economy. For too long, those in power at the Capitol have bowed to the special interests and huge corporations, and not done much to help farmers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. More than 90% of all Minnesota businesses are “Microbusinesses”, firms with fewer than 10 people in the business. Most farmers are in the same category. Their needs, priorities and issues are very different from those of big business. We need to do more to support them to level the playing field to realize greater rural economic prosperity.
When I’m in the Minnesota Senate, I will fight for small business and family farmers and support those who aspire to start their own businesses. As a rural champion, I will fight for our interests, our fair share. Rural Minnesota is a crucial piece of our state’s economy.
Affordable • accessible • quality
As a mom, I gained firsthand experience of how efficiently and effectively our healthcare system can work when my children and I qualified for MinnesotaCare. This public option of healthcare was easy to access and allowed my family to get the care we needed without the worry of how we were going to pay for it. After we no longer qualified, we were back in the position of having to decide if our kids were sick enough to seek care. Too many Minnesotans are forgoing needed medical and mental health care due to the enormous costs. That is a broken system. It is a system that too often puts the profits of big pharmaceutical companies and huge medical conglomerates before patients. I see many examples of profit over health and I’m committed to put health and prevention over profit.
No one in Minnesota, or anywhere in the United States, should needlessly suffer or even die because they can’t afford quality care or health insurance. Emergency rooms should not be the first time someone sees a doctor for an illness and drug prices need to be brought under control.
When I get to St. Paul, I will fight for the rights of every citizen in Minnesota to be able to see a doctor promptly and receive the help they need without being forced into financial hardship, bankruptcy or further jeopardize their health. Many of us learned that our greatest asset is our good health. And prevention is the best health care strategy there is.
And to be perfectly clear, I strongly support Roe v. Wade and think any attempt to control women’s reproductive rights is an affront to all women. Being pro-choice is different than being pro-abortion. I support each person’s right to assess their own situation and best interests and to access safe reproductive health services if they so choose. As a future state legislator, it will never be my place to make personal health decisions for my neighbors or fellow Minnesotans.
Fighting pollution & supporting clean energy
We have seen what happens when corporations are allowed to pollute our air, land and water—people get sick and the land suffers. That’s simply unacceptable!
I will fight for our environment by ensuring those doing business in our state know that Minnesotans will not tolerate pollution or environmental harm of any kind. I will work to make sure our state holds them accountable when they break the rules.
The impacts of climate change are real. The science is irrefutable. We must continue to transition toward clean renewable energy sources and away from fossil fuels. And let’s be clear, we don’t have to choose between a clean environment and a strong economy. We simply don’t have to choose between growing jobs and a clean environment – the data proves that we can do both.
Reasonable, sensible responses to gun violence
As a resident of Ortonville and gun owner, I support gun owner rights but not at the expense of our public safety. I come from a long line of safe hunters and my twins are members of the trap team. I want to cut through the partisan rhetoric once and for all. I will roll up my sleeves, and work together with other legislators to enact reasonable, sensible and sustainable responses to the epidemic of random gun violence in our country.
We have to create the conditions where kids and families feel safe at school, the movie theater, or when attending a concert. Our kids should indeed be safe everywhere.
My professional background as a teacher will help me make the case to other legislators that we can create sensible, consensus legislation on this important set of issues. We can change policies and minds around public safety and safe, responsible gun ownership.
One of the most important priorities of the government at all levels is to keep people safe.
We must always make the necessary investments in our local public safety agencies—police, fire, EMT services,, medical facilities, and state patrols to help keep us safe and well-served when any emergency situation arises.
Equal access to the Internet
There are hundreds of small businesses including farmers that have insufficient or unworkable broadband which affects their ability to do business, earn income and serve their current or prospective customers. Many others depend on the internet for professional consulting, distance learning or the sale of their products or services to make a living. As a teacher, dependable, affordable high-speed internet access for all students, both in schools and at home, is crucial.
Universal broadband access in the 21st century is similar to “Rural Electrification” almost 100 years ago. We decided then that citizens should have electricity. Similarly, all citizens should have access to affordable, dependable broadband.
I will take the stories of countless Minnesotans to the Capitol and to the media to fight for affordable broadband and dependable access. This is an issue about equity, education and economic opportunity that can no longer be ignored.
Support for our Family Farmers and Ranchers
Our families, communities, economy and culture
I support farmers and ranchers and their families.
Farmers and ranchers deserve fair prices for their production and support when the market fails them. All farmers and ranchers need safety nets for when things go wrong – weather, markets, and health challenges to name a few.
We must create expanded pathways for beginning farmers to have a strong chance to succeed. Rural communities depend on the next generation of farmers and ranchers.
I also support a sustainable, statewide, locally adapted food economy from source-to-table that is designed to be inclusive, expands SNAP benefits and helps create health and well-being for all people in rural and urban communities. With that, I support full funding for all nutrition programs at public schools and Early Ed programs including healthy food at breakfast, lunch, and snack time.
Affordable Housing for all Minnesotans
A safe, warm and comfortable place to live
Everyone deserves to have a roof over their head – a safe and affordable place to live. I support expanding resources for a range of affordable housing options to meet the diverse needs of our changing communities. It’s important to accommodate all families, families with disabled family members or others with living challenges. I believe that real solutions must include safe neighborhoods, removal of income and racial barriers to decent housing and ensuring no one spends more than 30% of their monthly income on permanent housing.
One of the most important measures of a “quality of life” is our citizens having a safe, affordable and pleasing place to live and to care for their families.