On the Issues
As a teacher and coach for 34 years, I know firsthand that Minnesota has a long history of excellent public and private schools. Providing adequate and fair funding has to be among the highest priorities of our state government.
It is not right that our schools receive thousands less per student than schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Equity funding is essential to help lower class size and hire the staff necessary to properly instruct our students. We must also build in reform and accountability so that taxpayers are assured the dollars they entrust to the public school system are used in the classroom and not squandered on excessive bureaucracy or programs with dubious merit.
Funding is an important component, but it is not the only factor. There must be an emphasis on the basics of reading, writing, science and math to enable all students to form a solid knowledge base within these core curricula.
Perhaps more important than anything is for children to have a parent or parents actively involved in their child’s education. Nothing can replace parents as the ultimate education mentor and no government program can achieve the same success rate. Because of this, I fought to amend the K-12 Finance bill to give parents the right to opt in to controversial course subjects versus the status quo of opting out of the curriculum, sometimes doing so after the fact.
Taxes & the Economy
During these challenging economic times, government should encourage businesses to locate in our state – not to drive them away with increased taxation and excessive regulation. These types of legislation affect all businesses, but especially the job creating small and family-owned operations.
As your representative I will continue to work for ways to:
In recent years, growth in government spending has far outpaced that of Minnesota’s working families - that’s just not right. Some people in St. Paul have put special interest groups ahead of their constituency. My only special interest group is my constituency and I will continue fighting to keep the government out of your family’s checkbook
Minnesota is the nation’s health care leader, but that does not mean we can sit back on our accomplishments. I have consistently supported consumer-centric solutions that let individuals and families find the most affordable care that suits their needs.
At the Capitol I will fight for:
With employer-sponsored health care becoming more expensive, many families find themselves on the edge of going without. By creating an Insurance Exchange that lets them purchase affordable plans, Minnesotans can keep their health care and still enjoy the tax deductible benefits offered by their employers.
Those without insurance often wait to see a doctor until their symptoms become severe enough to warrant emergency care – the most expensive of health care services. Minnesota hospitals will not turn away a patient who cannot afford to pay for emergency services and often times hospitals end up delivering services without compensation. In 2005, uncompensated care cost hospitals $191 million. Making health care more affordable and giving people more choices will help reduce this massive burden our health care providers encounter every day.
Public Safety & Immigration
Public safety is of paramount importance in communities across the state. The first duty of any government is to protect its citizens. I have led the way in keeping our communities and families safe from those who would do us harm. I supported improving Minnesota’s public safety by passing laws to strengthen penalties for offenders, including locking up the "worst of the worst" sexual predators for life, shutting down meth labs, and assisting victims.
Another growing concern is illegal immigration. I support legislation that allows local police officials to question an individual’s immigration status. Law enforcement regularly detains illegal immigrants for minor offenses only to release them without inquiring about immigration status. Too often that individual goes on to commit a much greater offense.
The overwhelming majority of Minnesotans travel using roads and bridges and our funding priorities should reflect that reality.
I will continue to argue for:
Highways are Minnesota’s veins of commerce. Businesses use them to ship their goods, workers use them to get to and from their jobs. Without good roads, we risk losing businesses and all the jobs that go with them. Maintaining the quality and safety of our highways is crucial and will become increasingly more so as our renewable fuels industry expands.