Issues

Healthcare for All

Imagine being able to go to the doctor without financial worry. No co-pays. No high-cost deductibles. No having to choose between your healthcare and paying your monthly bills. No having to shop around for the least expensive cost for the same service. A single-payer healthcare system ensures all Minnesotans get the care they need when they need it. Plus, it ensures individuals and families will no longer have to gamble on their health with the complicated plans currently available or low-cost/high-deductible plans. A single-payer system is the prescription for success in Minnesota, and an opportunity for our state to demonstrate real leadership in healthcare.

Clean Water

The Land of 10,000 Lakes cannot afford a water crisis, whether we’re talking about the lakes and rivers we are so fond of or access to clean drinking water through city services and rural wells. Crystal clear education and regulation to curtail effects of runoff in our waters is a must. We also need to ensure out-state communities have access to resources that allow them to upgrade aging and potentially dangerous water infrastructure. Restoring Local Government Aid (LGA) to 2002 levels — at the very least — is a start; committing to keep LGA on pace with inflation is also important, especially for communities that do not have the residential or commercial tax base to support safe, clean drinking water and wastewater. Moreover, we can entertain a comprehensive constitutional amendment that designates a sufficient and sustainable stream of funds for water, roads and other infrastructure maintenance and upgrades.

Defending Women’s Reproductive Health Rights

As women’s healthcare continues to be under attack at the Minnesota Legislature each session, I’m committed to defending women’s reproductive health care rights. Iowa’s recent vote to eliminate women’s healthcare choices is a wake-up call to remain steadfast in protecting our rights.

Restoring PreK-12 School Funding

Unfortunately, the conversation has shifted in recent years to school safety and shifted from talking about teachers, technology and textbooks to bulletproof glass and arming educators. The focus should not be on whether or not our kids survive the school day but that they thrive during the school day.

Across Minnesota, state aid has not kept pace with the rising cost of ensuring excellent educations for every Minnesota student. A recent study from the North Star Policy Institute demonstrates how real funding for each Minnesota student dropped by $2,000 from 2003 to 2012. Recent investments championed by Governor Dayton have increased funding by more than $1,000 per student, but that still leaves Minnesota schools forced to do more with roughly $1,000 less, per student, than they had 15 years ago.

The government is responsible for ensuring access to an exceptional education for all Minnesota students. These kids are our future and need a consistent, reliable source of funding.

Gun Safety

As the Second Amendment promises, I believe individuals have the right to bear arms; in fact, I have a gun range in my basement. I come from a family that marks the year not by the changing seasons but rather by the various hunting and fishing openers. I also know many women who are permitted and pack pistols in their purses for protection. These are perfectly reasonable examples of individual rights under the Second Amendment. What is unreasonable is the notion that an individual has the right to own a military-grade weapon or weapon accessory that gives the power to mow down a crowd of innocent people in a manner of seconds. I support mandatory background checks for all private and personal sales or transfers; banning assault-style rifles, high-capacity magazines and accessories that convert semi-automatic to fully-automatic weapons; and a waiting period.

High-speed Access to the Internet

Outside of the Metro Area, only 44% of households have access to fast, reliable Internet service. This lack of service stifles education, economic opportunity, healthcare and quality of life. While rural communities have access to grants through the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Program, these funds are limited to laying fiber optic cable and discouraging innovative solutions by smaller companies to provide more affordable, efficient access to the Internet through wireless services. To achieve Minnesota’s 2026 broadband goals — and empower all Minnesotans with the access to information and resources that the Internet provides — we must allow these grants to support less expensive, more efficient and effective broadband development.

Union Membership and Right to Work

I am a union member (IFO) and have led teams of union members (AFSCME and MAPE). In both roles, I have come to appreciate the defined scope of work, safe working conditions, clearly outlined compensation, and benefits packages that surpass those available in non-union organizations. This framework does not magically happen. Instead, it is the result of many negotiators advocating on behalf of its membership for workers’ rights and better working conditions. This advocacy comes with a price tag, and you get what you pay for. If you want the many benefits of belonging to a union, pay union dues.

 

Recreational Marijuana Use

At this time, I am neither for nor against legalizing recreational marijuana use. What I am for is embracing the opportunity to watch and learn from the seven states that have recently legalized marijuana for recreational use. In some cases, we’ve already heard about the economic boost and entrepreneurial spirit in these states, but there will be more to the story. A move of this nature requires fully understanding the potential impact on the health and well being of our communities. Luckily, Minnesota has several pilot programs to monitor.

 

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