Both the Minnesota State House and the State Senate are up for election this year. In the two districts of Monticello and Big Lake, all four incumbents are seeking re-election.
In the house Dist. 29B, Republican incumbent Marion O'Neill competes against DFLer Joe Rosh. In the Senate Dist. Reigning Republican Bruce Anderson is challenged by Chris Brazelton, the DFL candidate. Mary Murphy, a grassroots legalization candidate for cannabis, is also on the ballot. District 29 includes Monticello, Buffalo, and Maple Lake in Wright County.
In House District 30A, Republican incumbent Paul Novotny is challenged by Chad Hobot. In Senate District 30, incumbent Republican Mary Kiffmeyer faces DFL candidate Diane Nguyen. District 30 includes Big Lake and neighboring communities including Elk River.
Candidates were asked for biographical information, including name, address, and professional background. Each was also asked about their involvement in non-profit groups / organizations and whether they had previously had a public service in a city, county or school.
Each candidate was then offered the following questions. The responses received by the deadline will follow.
1. Why are you running for office?
2. If you are elected, what is your top priority for the 2021 legislation?
3. What do you think is the main issue in your legislative district?
4. How do you assess the state government's reaction to the pandemic? Are additional measures required? If yes, what?
5. The legislator is tasked with adopting a two-year budget in 2021, which is emerging due to the financial impact of COVID-19. How are you going to go about balancing the budget by lowering expenses and / or increasing taxes and fees? Be as specific as possible.
6. COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way education is delivered. What weaknesses in the system did distance learning highlight? Have we identified best practices that should be included in the post-pandemic period?
7. What is your preference for raising extra money for roads and bridges? Or is the current financing sufficient?
8. Placeholders: Write anything you want to say to voters on topics we haven't asked about yet.
P.O. Box 372, Buffalo MN 55313
Occupation: Former business owner
Non-Profit Groups / Organizations, Legislative Boards / Commissions:
Currently: Legislative Energy Commission, Interstate Adult Offender Supervision Advisory Board, State Advisory Board for the Interstate Compact Youth, Wright County Drug Court Steering Committee, Buffalo Hospital Community Engagement Advisory Committee.
Past: Unemployment Insurance Advisory Board, Director of Central Minnesota Mental Health Center, Wright County Jail Volunteer, Buffalo Food Shelf Director, Buffalo Community Education Recreational Coach, Buffalo Evangelical Free AWANA Program Director, Buffalo Evangelical Free Angel Tree Director.
Finally, so far this year I have received the following endorsements: Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA), Minnesota Citizens Concerned For Life State PAC (MCCL), National Association of Independent Businesses Minnesota PAC (NFIB), Minnesota Gun Owners PAC, Housing First Minnesota PAC, and Minnesota Farm Bureau PAC.
Why Walk: I have been honored to have served the people of House District 29B for the past eight years. I served in the majority for four years and in the minority for four years, and achieved incredible results in both. I influenced changes in transportation funding that created the Corridors of Commerce program, which eventually funded the first expansion segments of the I94 corridor outside the metro. I expanded and funded specialty dishes across Minnesota, which paved the way for the Wright County Drug Court. I negotiated what everyone thought was impossible regulatory reforms to enable lean private investment and enabled 5G in Minnesota, the first in the world. I worked across the gang to make "revenge porn" a criminal offense.
The deeper I dive into a topic, the more I discover what needs to change. I have made strides in laws regarding sexual assault over the past six years and without COVID I would have passed my test on all rape kits to get justice for victims and to put serial rapists behind bars. I also worked on "Alternatives to Detention" in collaboration with the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge (MNTC). According to the Department of Corrections (DOC), between 85 and 90 percent of inmates suffer from addiction. If addiction can be combated, crime will decrease. For nonviolent offenders with multiple technical violations, the root causes of their criminal behavior are addressed by sending them for treatment rather than detention. The program is still in a pilot phase and I want to pull it off with the incredible resources of MNTC through to full nationwide implementation.
Top Priorities: Public safety, safeguarding our constitutional rights, and protecting the sanctity of life from conception to natural death are my top priorities. In addition to seeking justice for rape victims, I'd like to work on guidelines for sex trafficking that will allow our law enforcement agencies to save women and children from human traffickers who make billions each year. I was also the head of the Public Security Committee that stopped the “Red Flag” bill, which denies due process and gives the government the authority to take weapons from anyone not found guilty of a crime. I am the lead author of the Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Ending Act, but in full transparency a change would require a life-like majority in the House and Senate and a life-like governor. After the law was signed, it would face legal challenges. For solid legal reasons, an argument would have to be made to overturn an earlier decision of the MN Supreme Court. Decades of democratic control over the state has stacked the odds heavily in their favor, and the MN Supreme Court has 5 out of 7 justices appointed by former Dayton governor.
District Issues: There are some very important issues that I am still working on. Because of the political power struggles between the branches of state government and the deep deficit we are now in, the 2020 Bonding Act and Tax Act were not passed by either the House of Representatives or the Senate. I have an undisputed provision in the tax bill that would allow an exemption from sales tax on building materials for the new Buffalo fire department. I also have a provision in the bond bill that would fund part of the new dental clinic at the Wright County Government Center for Medical Assistance (MA) patients. Current MA reimbursements are below the cost of almost all dentists, and this new partnership with a nonprofit would allow the new clinic to keep its doors open to serve our community when most dentists admit new MA – Patients cannot afford.
Pandemic Response: I wouldn't give the Walz government a very high rating for its response to COVID or the riots. The COVID modeling that was used to make most of the early decisions was grossly flawed, predicting over 75,000 deaths. The morgue purchase in May was a waste of $ 5.4 million in tax dollars. The administration's decision to close nursing home doors early to family and friends but leave them open to contagious COVID patients to complete their recovery proved fatal. For months, 80% of all deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities.
The riots and lawlessness in Minneapolis, St. Paul and up to Maple Grove were the straw that broke my camel's back. Citizens were left to their own devices to defend themselves and their businesses, while terrorists, block by block, destroyed all semblance of law and order, completely unanswered. The 3rd district was abandoned and burned down. The governor showed the same leadership over the riots as he did during the pandemic.
The governor's recent decision to impose further enforcement measures and fines on bars and restaurants that are already hanging by a thread was just the latest insult. Bars and restaurants account for less than 3% of community penetration, according to Hospitality Minnesota.
Distance learning: COVID-19 led to dramatic changes in educational offerings. What weaknesses in the system did distance learning highlight? Have we identified best practices that should be put in the ear after the pandemic?
Our public school system was not designed to be virtually effective. Simply keeping a virtual class time and assigning assignments cannot give proper attention to all students of different ages and maturities. When my now-adult children were in elementary school, I enrolled them both in the Minnesota Virtual Academy, an online public school professionally designed to provide cutting-edge virtual education. Each subject has been designed by successful professionals in these fields to provide the pedagogical basis for becoming a fellow subject in that subject. We were given books, arts and science supplies, a computer, a printer, and other items we needed to start a classroom at home. There were daily lessons, master-based tests, and unit tests to make sure they had mastered a topic before they were allowed to move forward. Because their schooling was purposely designed as an online program, allowing students to study at their own pace without worrying about the technology lag.
My son, who studied from 4th to 8th grade at the MVA, has now enrolled his own kindergarten teacher in the school to provide her with a safe, consistent and reliable learning experience. I think the public school system could learn a lot from the Minnesota Virtual Academy, which was founded in 2001 and caters to the individual needs of students. Unfortunately, many schools have failed to put together effective programs due to confusing government guidelines and a belated announcement of how schools can hold classes. There is no need to look any further for best practices than schools like MVA, which are specifically designed for an online learning environment.
Road / bridge financing: In my eight years in office and two years as a member of the Senate, I have found that a consistent problem facing the state government is waste, fraud and misuse of taxpayers' money. Transportation is no different. Let me give you just one example: The perfectly functioning rest stop in Harris on I-35 between the Twin Cities and Duluth has been completely demolished and converted into a $ 7.4 million bathroom, hanging sidewalk, picnic area with cement tables and Sculptures converted into a small closed dog park. The building was no longer rectangular and functional, it is now made up of two touching circles with curved floor-to-ceiling glass and imported Brazilian Ipe wood. I stopped there and quietly listened to the astonishment of the guests at its beauty until they were told that over seven million tax dollars had been spent on it. At a time when families are struggling and our economies have been badly hit by the devastation of COVID and the governor's response, I believe this is the wrong time to tax roads and bridges. If MNDOT justifies spending more than $ 7 million on a bathroom, what are they still spending on?
Wild Card: Over the past biennium, Democrats have tried to cut funding for nursing homes by $ 68 million while raising taxes for all Minnesotans by $ 12 billion – on the same budget. These clearly do not align with our district's priorities, and I plan to return to the Capitol next year and fight for the values we all share.
2614 Meadow Oak Lane Monticello, MN 55362.
Occupation: Monticello High School History Teacher and Assistant Varsity Baseball Coach
Nonprofit Groups / Organizations: VFW Post 8731 Baseball Coach, Monticello Help Center / Children's Kitchen Volunteer, Member of Monticello United Methodist Church, Monticello Paws for Parks Committee, Monticello Youth Basketball Coach, Member of the Minnesota Historical Society.
Previous city, county, or school citizen service: Education Minnesota – President of Monticello (Local 2010).
Why run: I am running for an office to get young residents involved and to fight for middle-class families. I am also running for office to raise awareness of the importance of local politics. The reality is that those you represent in state and local agencies make policies that affect your daily life much more than the President of the United States or Congress. Additionally, state and local officials are accessible and responsive to your needs, or at least they should be. Finally, I am running for office because I see a need to invest in education, mental health, affordable health care, safety for workers and the environment, and want the best for the residents of Buffalo, Maple Lake and Monticello. I promise to put the people on the local level before partisanship to get things done for the residents of District 29B and the great state of Minnesota!
Top Priority: I would work with Democrats and Republicans right away to respond quickly to our mental health crisis. A crisis that has only worsened with Covid-19. Mental health is not a partisan problem, it is a popular issue. As we speak with teachers, school counselors, social workers, law enforcement officers, and nurses, there is one common theme: we need to come together and do a lot more for our community members who deal with mental health issues. All individuals and families should have mental health services that are responsive to their needs: social and physical barriers need to be removed, access to rural areas expanded, and wellness and recreation programs (with an emphasis on professional training and community integration) in place. must be fully funded and expanded. By being fully committed to mental health care, we will devote time and resources to teaching our teachers, nursing and healing to our nurses, and protection to our law enforcement officers. More importantly, we support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Top Local Issues: I believe the top issues our district faces are related to families and safety (work, health, education). To increase the opportunities for families, I would fight for a fully funded education. As a teacher, I see the most positive force in our church every day. The public schools in Buffalo, Monticello, and Maple Lake are the best representation of who we are. good, hardworking residents who, in times of need, face the occasion to improve people's lives. With this in mind, I am disappointed with the need to pass a referendum to keep our schools alive (I am sure I will vote yes to referendums, but there is a better way). I am frustrated that these referendums often divide our communities. It shouldn't be like that. The reality is that our state government has failed to comply with its constitutional mandate to adequately fund our schools. I am committed to ensuring that the state no longer evades its responsibility. With an increase in school funding, our districts could invest in pre-school and pre-vocational education, reduce class size so that there would be no more than 25 students in an elementary school class and no more than 30 children in a middle / high school classroom, and hire more counselors , Social workers and school psychologists to meet the needs of all students and give our teachers the opportunity to better focus on academics.
Pandemic response: The state government's initial response to the pandemic was good. The federal government was under-prepared and Minnesota was stepping up. The vast majority of Republicans and Democrats came together and early adopted measures to protect and compensate first responders and small businesses. Unfortunately, the partisan traffic jam took over and lawmakers failed to pass a bonding bill that would have given workers and communities the jobs they needed and improved infrastructure across the state. For additional help, our state must support both small businesses and workers. We must act boldly and provide tax incentives for hiring as companies start rebuilding due to the impact of Covid 19. Businesses want to grow and workers want security, and both of these can happen if we stop legislating as employers and employees are constantly at odds with each other and there is always an interest in topics like paid family leave and sick leave that businesses in the community are growing. In addition, after Covid-19, the money that has been given to small businesses needs to get to those who need it most. We don't want the money to go to chain stores or companies, and we no longer need a stable in St. Paul. After all, companies need to be prepared when the Covid numbers rise. With ingenuity and willingness (websites, online presence, retrofitting rooms), many companies have made it through Covid-19 and are starting to thrive again. My goal would be to ensure that all small businesses make the same transition through small business loans and government investments in broadband infrastructure.
Budget Balancing: When it comes to budget balancing and making sure Minnesota is one of the top states in the country, I believe the money is there for the most part, we just need to re-evaluate / re-evaluate our priorities. For example, an effective way to balance national budgets and tackle criminal justice reform is to condemn the reform. Millions of dollars can be saved through treatment versus incarceration. I support bonding bills that create jobs and invest in things like broadband internet services and solar power for our rural communities.
I support laws that provide deliveries, protection, and payment for our first responders. It's about priorities and about creating the best possible life for our residents. If we vote for or against a bill, we cannot allow progress to be perfect. If we want a prosperous district, we need to study where taxes are going, and occasionally collect taxes if residents so wish, and provide private funding and grants to supplement the cost. A good example of this is the Bertram Chain of Lakes. This is where county, city and private funds and volunteers come together to create a great place that improves the wellbeing of our residents. In addition, the Bertram chain of lakes has become a destination for people outside of our district. These visitors end up spending money at many of our local businesses like the Rustech Brewery or the Cornerstone Cafe. From a community perspective, this is a win-win situation.
Distance learning: Education and local public schools are personal to me. As a 20 year old teacher, I see the most positive force in our church every day. I have the privilege of seeing leaders young and old from all walks of life come together and build bridges for a stronger future. When the pandemic hit, we were reminded that all of our school staff, from bus drivers to paraprofessionals to administrators, teachers and coaches, not only teach our children and brighten our day, but also provide vital services. In addition, our schools offer psychological support, child care and catering services that enable a holistic approach to education. The pandemic and distance learning have highlighted the differences in our communities, particularly food insecurity and access to reliable broadband internet services. In a hurry, our schools faced the challenge of meeting many of these students' needs. It was great to see, but there is a lot more to do. As we speak, the schools in Buffalo, Maple Lake, and Monticello are developing programs that will ensure future success and improve lifelong learning for our children. Programs such as partial online school, flexible / contemporary planning and nature school here in Monticello are innovative and nuanced and give us an idea of best practices that should be incorporated into the post-pandemic period. If our schools rethink and expand best practices, the state must fully fund broadband for all schools in Minnesota. When this essential service is provided, I have great confidence that our schools and students will thrive.
Road / Bridge Finance: It is time for our state to invest in a wide variety of infrastructure needs. From roads and bridges to broadband internet to water treatment plants, a first-class infrastructure enables our state's economy to function and grow. In addition, investments in infrastructure improve people's quality of life (clean drinking water, access to nature and access to learning). One starting point would be to increase our state's gas tax by five cents. We are currently below the national average. A five cents increase would greatly improve our state's ability to improve the lifestyles of our citizens, create jobs, and stimulate our state's economy.
Wild Card – Nowadays it is obvious that too much emphasis is placed on politics, not politics. In large part, this is due to the fact that many of our elected officials hold multiple terms in a row. Sometimes the concept of the “career politician” becomes an unfortunate reality. Simply put, those who have served multiple terms tend to develop relationships with lobbyists and interest groups, and they tend to hamper progress, thwart new ideas and, consequently, prevent voter engagement. In 2020 we need leaders who listen to ALL residents and who put people above politics and power. If I am elected, I promise not to serve as your representative for more than two terms. With this promise, I hope that the well-known American phrase “a government of the people, the people, and the people” will become truer than ever in District 29B and throughout the state of Minnesota.
State Senate, House Seats 29 & 30
3222 Aadland Avenue N.E. Buffalo, Minnesota 55313
Occupation: 30 years retired military veteran; Current MN State Senator SD-293.
Family: Married Dottie – 1973-06 (deceased) – 5 children; Married Ruth 2009 – 2020 – with 3 children; 12 grandchildren and 2 foster children (soon to be adopted) Lived in Buffalo from 1976 until today – 44 years old.
Other Civic Service: Member of the Board of Directors of Functional Industries, Inc. and the Board of Directors of Wright County Community Action
Background: 70 years old. Grew up on the dairy farm; High school graduate – 1968; Ag Business Graduate – A.A. – 1974-76; Business Administration (B.A.) – 1998-2001 US Navy (Active) – 1970-75; MN Air Natl. Grd. – 1986-2005; US Air Force Reserves – 2006-2010; Retired sergeant. Employed – Centra Sota Cooperative – 1976-1986; Surge, Inc. – 1986-1987; H.V.A.C. Kind regards. co. – 1987-1992; Member of the Functional Industries Board & W.C.C.A. Board & American Legion Post 270; Conservative Republican Representative – 1995-2012; State Senator Four (4) years
Notes: MN Chamber of Commerce; MN Farm Bureau; MN Gun-Owners Association; National Rifle Association; MN Citizen Concerned About Life Association; National Federation of Independent Business Associations.
I am running for the Senate to strengthen policies that support job growth and government reform for today, creating a better tomorrow for our children and generations to come. Our citizens are demanding high quality private sector job growth, our federal and state governments are full of debt and runaway spending! I want to control government spending and end the tax burden on jobs. I support structural reforms in government for cost efficiency and long-term budget stability. I believe we can improve the Minnesota business climate by lowering employment agency taxes, encouraging investment, and increasing research and development tax credits. MN is the third highest corporate tax rate nationwide, and when you factor in individual income taxes, they are the most volatile taxes. At the state level, we should promote local control for our schools and relieve non-financed mandates. I oppose government health care (MNSURE & A.C.A.), promote choice, accomplishment and value in the private health market. We need to continue assessing how general fund dollars are being spent on transit projects, particularly in relation to the Metropolitan Council. We also need to consider options for innovative financing solutions to fund Minnesota's roads and bridges as our local councils are looking not just for US dollars, but for a better way to leverage future federal transportation funding.
Legislative question 2021: The top priority will be dealing with a large deficit of 2.5 billion!
Wright County Problem: Top Legislative Problem Will Meet Bonding Request Problems!
Response to COVID-19: In the initial stages, state lawmakers reacted quickly to requests from the governor's Department of Health to address health concerns. No additional action is required other than to return the condition to normal.
Budget balance: In early May, the majority leader asked the governor to urge all of his agencies to plan a 5% cut in their budgets for the next biennial response from MMB and other commissioners. This would be a request they couldn't meet. We had originally asked the agencies to consider reducing their budgets by 10%, but settled with a request of 5%.
Financing roads and bridges: We have increased funding very sharply in previous budget cycles. We have increased fees in this past budget cycle, which relate to transportation needs in different areas.
Distance learning in COVID-19: I have countless parents who tell me that their children were not doing well with this distance learning. The son of one parent was not an "A" student until March 13 and barely received a "C" in any class.
Some parents say their kids could do distance learning, but that wasn't the majority of those who wanted to see “face to face” classrooms this fall! I firmly believe our kids should be in a face to face attitude again, and I know this may not suit teachers well, but if we get to the H1N1 pandemic (swine flu ) Looking back (not named), we did not. Health officials are out of shape because of the flu virus!
Eine pauschale Berechnung, die wirklich seitwärts ging, ist die Gesundheits- / Bildungsabteilung, die das gleiche Protokoll für den gesamten Staat verwendet, obwohl es in Wirklichkeit die überfüllten Städte und Pflegeheime waren, in denen ein großer Prozentsatz der Covid-Fälle nicht auf dem Land gefunden wurde -Staat Bereiche.
20035 Auburn St NW. Elk River MN 55330
Strafverfolgung im Ruhestand. Gewählt in das Repräsentantenhaus Februar 2020
Warum laufen: Ich habe mein Leben dem Dienst an der Öffentlichkeit gewidmet und möchte weiterhin dienen. Nach dem Gewinn der Sonderwahlen im Februar wurde ich im Kapitol vereidigt. Ich bin derzeit Mitglied der Unterausschüsse für öffentliche Sicherheit und Korrekturen. Ich glaube, dass meine Karriere in der Strafverfolgung und die Ausbildung in Gewaltanwendung von Vorteil waren, um der dringenden Situation in unserem Staat Arbeitswissen zu vermitteln. Ich habe das Gefühl, dass meine Überzeugungen und Werte genau denen der Menschen entsprechen, denen ich das Privileg hatte, in meiner neuen Rolle zu dienen. Meine lebenslangen Beziehungen zur Gemeinde haben dafür gesorgt, dass ich die größtmögliche Anzahl von Einwohnern erreichen kann.
Oberste Priorität: Öffentliche Sicherheit, Sie und Ihre Lieben haben das Recht, sich sicher zu fühlen und dass Ihr Zuhause und Ihr Geschäft geschützt sind.
Wichtigstes lokales Problem: Das wichtigste Problem wird die Erholung von der COVID-Situation und die Auswirkungen sein, die sie auf die Wirtschaft hat und weiterhin haben wird. Derzeit wird ein Haushaltsdefizit von 4 bis 5 Milliarden US-Dollar oder etwa 10% des Staatshaushalts prognostiziert. Es muss eine ernsthafte Darmkontrolle im Hinblick auf die Aufrechterhaltung wesentlicher Dienste und den Schutz der am stärksten gefährdeten Personen durchgeführt werden.
Pandemie-Reaktion: Die anfängliche Reaktion des Staates wurde gemessen und angesichts des Unbekannten vernünftig. Im Frühjahr fanden wir heraus, wie ansteckend das Virus ist und wie tödlich es für medizinisch gefährdete Personen ist. Gleichzeitig stellten wir fest, dass COVID-19 in der Allgemeinbevölkerung bei weitem nicht so tödlich war, wie zunächst angenommen. Es gibt keinen akzeptablen Verlust an Leben für COVID-19 oder irgendetwas anderes, aber wie alles im Leben gibt es unvermeidbare Verluste. Der Gouverneur bat um zwei Wochen, um sich auf den bevorstehenden Ansturm vorzubereiten … der im März war. Uns wird gesagt, dass dies jetzt die neue Normalität ist und gleichzeitig, dass wir uns in einem Notfall befinden, kann es nicht beides sein. Der Gesetzgeber wird gewählt, um die Stimme des Volkes in der Art und Weise zu sein, wie der Staat geführt wird. Gemäß den aktuellen Friedensnotlagen von Gouverneur Walz trifft er alle Entscheidungen, ohne auch nur die gesetzgebenden Mitglieder zu konsultieren.
Haushaltsausgleich: Erstens und vor allem kann eine Steuererhöhung keine Option sein. Minnesota ist bereits ein Hochsteuerstaat, und wir verlieren Unternehmen an niedrigere Steuerstaaten, die an uns grenzen. Das Budget sollte Einstellungsstopps für nicht wesentliche Positionen, Kürzungen des Gesamtbudgets und die Beseitigung von Anfragen nach Ausgaben auf der Wunschliste umfassen.
Fernunterricht: Der Fernunterricht hat die Notwendigkeit einer gerechten Ausstattung und des Internetzugangs unterstrichen. Diese Situationen können im Laufe der Zeit und mit einem besseren Internet durch Glasfaserinstallation gelöst werden. Die Möglichkeit, Lehrer sowohl von Schülern als auch von Eltern mit verschiedenen Online-Programmen zu treffen, kann verwendet werden, um die traditionellen Konferenzen zu ersetzen.
Wild Card: So viele Probleme, die die Öffentlichkeit als falsch ansieht, liegen darin, dass so viele Regierungsmitglieder das Staatsbudget nicht wie ein Familienscheckbuch betrachten. Wir als Staat befinden uns in einer ähnlichen Situation wie eine Familie mit zwei Einkommen, in der ein Mitglied Überstunden macht, die Überstunden verloren hat und die Stunden beider verkürzt wurden. Eine vernünftige Familie würde in diesen Zeiten ein zerbrochenes Fenster reparieren, sie würde keinen Kredit aufnehmen, um ein Hallenbad zu bauen. Der Bundesstaat Minnesota muss in die gleiche Richtung denken. Die COVID-Antwortaufträge haben so viele kleine Unternehmen geschlossen oder stark eingeschränkt, dass diese Eigentümer und Mitarbeiter Kürzungen vornehmen und Kosten eliminieren mussten. Der Bundesstaat Minnesota sollte dasselbe tun.
16160 201st Ave NW, Big Lake, MN 55309
Verheiratet mit Ralph Kiffmeyer, 4 Kindern und 16 Enkelkindern, wohnhaft in Big Lake Township über 30 Jahre
Ehemalige Krankenschwester, Organisationsberaterin
Vorheriger Dienst: Vorsitzender des Big Lake Community Education Advisory Council, Schatzmeister des Bezirks Monticello-Big Lake, Mitglied des Big Lake Legion Auxiliary, Organisator des Big Lake Spudfest Coloring Contest, Freiwilliger für viele lokale Veranstaltungen, vom Schälen von Kartoffeln bis zum Anrufen von Bingo-Nummern.
Why running: I am running for re-election as a state senator to continue my work to preserve support for law enforcement, to support roads and bridges with no gas or other tax increase, reforming healthcare while preserving the best private market in the country, resolving the coming budget deficit through spending reforms without passing on shortfalls to taxpayers in tax increases and working for a more equitable distribution of education funds.
Top priorities: The top two issues are roads and bridges without a gas or other tax increase and a more equitable distribution of education funds.
Pandemic response: Covid is a serious illness. However, the covid response was too heavy handed and used the metro situation to saddle all of Minnesota with emergency powers mandates when the cases in rural Minnesota were very low. It does not make sense to mandate a one county solution for 87 counties. Meantime, sadly, long-term care facilities were left with too little PPE and the largest percent of deaths in the country with restrictions on families. We all agree to being safe and careful using the best of science. Washing hands, don’t sneeze or cough into the air and staying home when ill are three basics we should never forget. While more testing yielded more positives, the ICU and hospitalizations continued to decline which indicates that no further restrictions are necessary and in fact, it is time to open up Minnesota more while keeping good hygiene, vulnerable sheltered and ill people quarantined. That is good public health and good economics. We can do both.
Balancing the budget: In a time of economic hurt, raising taxes is the wrong approach and I will not vote for any tax or fee increases. Matter of fact, even in a time of economic revival, reducing taxes actually increases economic activity which increases government revenues. I will support reforming and reducing government by using technology to provide more timely and efficient services and reducing the cost of delivery. Every taxpayer has had to tighten their budgets to match incoming revenue. Government needs to do the same. In the past ten years, state government has had a large increase of funding and new employees. Time to re-evaluate and focus on zero-based budgeting to be sure taxpayers get value and are focused on what is necessary not what is just wanted. In 2012, the legislature balanced a similar budget deficit without raising taxes or fees and without harming the neediest amongst us. We have a proven track record of that success.
Distance learning: The change to distance learning was not working for every student. It is too early for best practices to become recommended as we are not done with this change yet. One practice is emerging, which is instead of students moving to classrooms, teachers are moving to student groups. Still need more time to evaluate what should be a best practice. In the meantime, I doubt it will be a best practice that students wear masks while sitting at their desks when adults can sit at a restaurant table with no masks. There needs to be a focus on what really works, not on what is just a mandate.
Road/bridge funding: I do not support raising gas taxes or other fees. As we see in our driving all over the state, there is a great amount of construction funded already under current law. Moving to using a portion of the auto-related sales tax in addition to gas taxes for roads and bridges has proven very helpful. In the future, truck, bus and commercial related sales-tax revenue (and other vehicles like natural gas or electric) should be included as they use the roads and should pay into the road and bridge fund.
Wild card: Minnesota’s election laws are in place for all Minnesotans to safely and securely cast their ballot in-person whether by absentee ballot starting Sept. 18 at their county and some cities OR in-person at their polling pace on Nov. 3. If you really need to vote an absentee ballot entirely through the mail, do not wait. Allow at least two weeks for your ballot to process through the USPS system and follow instructions carefully. Want to know who is on MyBallot or where your polling place is or need more information? www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting